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War-Hardened Refugees in Turkey Learn of Love

In his refugee tent in Turkey, a Muslim father of two was talking with native missionaries who had just given him tarps to help keep out the rain. He wanted to know why they were doing it.

The Turkish ministry leader realized the refugee believed they would expect something in return for helping them. He needed to put him at ease.

“Who are you?” said the refugee, a schoolteacher in his native Syria. “We never heard that we should help unbelievers. If we had the chance, our priority would be to kill you.”

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Displaced Muslims in Iraq Struggle to Recover

Five years ago, a Muslim family man in northern Iraq believed Christians were misguided and that Islam was the solution to the world’s problems.

When Islamic State (ISIS) militants took over his town in the Nineveh plains, he rejoiced that Islamic law would finally be implemented.

Within a month, ISIS forces had beaten his sister and mother on the street and killed his brother.

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Muslim Refugees Know Christians by their Fruits

The leader of a native ministry in Turkey was shocked when a wealthy Muslim friend told him he was planning to buy a Syrian refugee girl as a slave. The leader’s friend told him, “In a few weeks I’m going to go down to the camps. I have a wealthy old friend who bought a young Syrian girl and made her his second wife; I was going to go pick one for myself.”

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A Life Condemned to Darkness Finds Light

After shelling in Aleppo, Syria wiped out her entire community, destroying her home and killing relatives outside of her immediate family, Jana lived in depression for five years as a refugee in Lebanon. Jana and her husband had never lacked anything in the life that was shattered in Aleppo, but in Lebanon they struggled to keep their five children fed and clothed. When a friend brought Jana to a prayer meeting at a church established by native missionaries, it did not solve all her problems. But she did gain a new perspective when she gave her life to Christ.

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Displaced Refugees Driven to Remote Wasteland

Some were driven from their tents or slum dwellings by surly Turkish neighbors, some saw the government bulldoze their tents. For one reason or another, the Syrian refugees were no longer welcome in the city in southern Turkey where they had lived for years since fleeing the atrocities of their war-ravaged country.

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Opening Young Hearts to Know Jesus in Turkey

When the director of an indigenous Christian ministry in Turkey was a small boy, his Muslim family used to watch the television show, “Little House on the Prairie.” “They were so kind to one another, and spoke so nicely about one another, that my mother once said, ‘Look how nice these infidels are to one another,'” he said.

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January 27, 2022
Since a military coup plunged Burma (Myanmar) into chaos one year ago, the gospel has advanced even as violence and COVID-19 paralyzed the country. “COVID-19 killed 413 Christian ministers within four months, some of them close friends and relatives,” the leader said. “Among our missionaries, four caught COVID-19 and almost died, but they have been restored and have worked hard in soul-winning outreach.” One of the native missionaries nearly died in July, and since then he and his wife have planted a church, the leader said.
January 20, 2022
Leading Muslims to faith in Christ in Syria brings the discipleship challenge of helping them to withstand persecution, among other issues. Recently local missionaries stood with a woman whose husband and son were killed for refusing to deny Christ. “That is a hard thing,” the ministry leader said. “She says, ‘Every time I close my eyes, I see my husband and my son in front of me, how they killed them.’”
January 13, 2022
At a small nightclub in rural Peru, the blaring music was drowning out the message a local missionary was giving nearby at a three-day gospel event. Villagers asked the nightclub owner to turn the music off, and he grudgingly consented. He was further annoyed when the preacher and other Christians visited him the next day and invited him to attend that night’s evangelistic event.
January 6, 2022
A single mother in North Africa phoned native missionaries, telling them the pandemic had left her without stable income – one of hundreds of such calls of desperation that local ministries receive. “But her voice, mixed with tears and moans, said this was not her biggest problem,” the leader of the native ministry said. The leader learned the woman’s husband had abandoned her eight years ago, leaving her so destitute that four years ago she had sold one of her kidneys to pay basic living expenses.
December 30, 2021
Hala feared a dream about her feet bleeding meant she was going to fall ill. After several months as a refugee in a Middle Eastern country, the young woman from Syria had been learning about Christianity from a native missionary, and she called him after waking from the frightening dream. “When I woke up, I was afraid,” she said. “Was something bad going to happen to me?”
December 23, 2021
Arafa had been in charge of teaching Islam to women in an African country when a native missionary led the recently widowed woman to receive Christ. Her Muslim in-laws not only beat her but began a campaign in the courts to deprive her and her family of their legal property rights, the leader of a native ministry said. The relatives were especially furious as her conversion led to her nine children and four grandchildren becoming Christians.
December 16, 2021
“Because she was so desperate, she wanted to commit suicide by drinking insecticide,” a ministry leader said of a schoolteacher in Vietnam. She had a handsome young husband, was raising two young children and was in so much pain that she wanted to kill herself. “When holding the bottle of insecticide intending to drink it,” the leader said, “her two children were holding her and hugging her and crying.”
December 9, 2021
The pastor of a native ministry’s church in Kenya was returning home from a visit with troubled villagers in the dark of night when four young men stopped him. He was known as the one people went to when they had any problem, but the four robbers who stopped him saw him only as a lone target in the dark. “Four young men ambushed him and wanted to rob him, but after one recognized him, he stopped the other three,” the director said.
December 2, 2021
Pei, a widow in Laos, was secretly discipled at a local missionary’s church for five months before she developed the strength of faith to tell her daughter and son-in-law about her conversion. “After saying only a few words about Jesus, both her daughter and son-in-law immediately began to violently criticize her,” the local ministry leader said.
November 25, 2021
A Christian ministry in Greece helped a traumatized refugee mother from the Middle East obtain an appointment with a psychologist, but she also wanted to speak woman-to-woman with one of the ministry’s two directors. The refugee had left her four children, ages 4 to 13, behind. “She left her country running, trying to rescue herself,” the director said. “Her kids didn’t blame her.”
November 18, 2021
The pope’s historic visit to Iraq in March presented massive security challenges, with all military and civil security forces taking stringent measures. Soldiers at checkpoints were instructed to seize the cargo of any transport vehicle, and before one major papal event they confiscated local missionaries’ carload of 1,000 Bibles. “The strange thing is that we met several people while walking in the streets carrying the same Bibles that we distribute, and when we asked them, they said that they got them from the checkpoint,” a ministry leader said.
November 11, 2021
“We have had to see people die and go with the Lord, including local missionaries from our ministry, and we’ve comforted many loved ones,” the leader of a ministry based in Colombia said. Christian workers in Colombia and other parts of Latin America have become soldiers in the fight against COVID-19, with some dying in the effort to save others physically and spiritually. “We thank God that up to now He has helped and supported us in everything,” the leader said, “despite difficult circumstances and harsh experiences.”