Thursday, April 20, 2006

He Is Risen

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Jesus said: 'Let the little children come to Me'

Monday, March 27, 2006


Many Muslims are questioning their belief foundations and many are having dreams, visions and angelic visitations and encountering signs and wonders like reported below:

A Muslim man in Egypt killed his wife and then buried her with their infant baby and 8-year old daughter. The girls were buried alive! He then reported to the police that an uncle killed the kids. 15 days later, another family member died. When they went to bury him, they found the 2 little girls under the sand ALIVE !

The country is outraged over the incident, and the man will be executed. The older girl was asked how she had survived. "A man wearing shiny white clothes, with bleeding wounds in his hands came every day to feed us. He woke up my mom so she could nurse my sister," she said. She was interviewed on Egyptian national TV, by a veiled Muslim woman news anchor.

She said on public TV, "This was none other than Jesus, because nobody else does things like this!" Muslims believe Isa (Jesus) would do this, but the wounds mean He really was crucified, and it's clear also that He is alive! But, it's also clear that the child could not make up a story like this, and there is no way these children could have survived without a true miracle.

Christ is still turning the world upside down!

Jeremiah 17:7-8
7 "But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him.
8 He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit."

Friday, March 24, 2006

God Loves His Children

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Ali's Story

I was born in eastern Kurdistan (Iran). My parents were nominal Muslims and I never really gave much thought to religion. At a very young age, I was sent to an Islamic school to learn the Qur'an but I dropped out after a few months and never went back. All of the washing and different times for prayers never made sense to me. Whenever there was talk about religion, I would just become sick in the stomach. I hated religion. I have always thought that it was something that enslaved people and that religious people were dumb. Because of my dad's political activity and his troubles with the Iranian police, we had to leave our homeland.

After a few years we settled in the west. Life became a hell. Discrimination was everywhere, not knowing what to do; I started hanging out with the wrong people. Without thinking twice, I started experimenting with drugs even though it was hard for me to get my hands on them. My friends and I would drink every Saturday night and watch pornographic films. At one point, I just became sick of this kind of life and I was searching for a new life, for a way to escape all of these problems. As problems were mounting day by day, I started thinking of suicide, but I did not have the guts to do anything like that.

When I told a Muslim friend of mine all of these problems, he suggested that I go with him to the mosque and so I did. That night, when I left the mosque, I brought a copy of the Qur'an home with me. Reading it just made me depressed and I could not get anything out of it. When I told this to my friend, he told me that I should read it in Arabic. But Arabic was not my mother language and I did not speak it. I started taking Arabic classes but it was so hard and I felt like this was just making the problem grow. I accidentally got a Kurdish Qur'an, translated by the famous Kurdish poet, Hajar. It was just as empty and dead and boring (with respect) as the English was. I finally made my decision that I would not read it again as there is nothing I could gain. It could not solve my problems.

One day, I was with my girlfriend at a bookstore. I bought a book that just made me curious. It was called Siddartha by German author, Herman Hesse. When I read that book, I started thinking about Buddhism since the book was based on Buddha's life. But I still felt like the answers weren't there and something was missing. One day, I met a few people who told me about God's love and His mercy. It led to a lengthy discussion. When I was about to leave, I accepted a Bible and a tract. When I went home, I opened it and closed it, and then put it aside.

When I woke up, it was 4:30 in the morning. Whenever I get up that early, I get headaches and I become dizzy, but this time, I felt like I had been up all night and I did not feel sick at all. To my surprise and shock, the tract that I was given the day before was on my chest. Still hard-headed, I told myself that all of this time I have been running from God. I would try to just read the Bible this time and see what it really had to say. As I opened it, I saw a verse where it was written, "He who is in Christ is a new creation, the old has gone and the new has come."

I thought to myself that all this time I have been looking for a new life and here it is being offered. I put my Bible down and went to the bathroom. I washed my face. I looked in the mirror and all of my disgusting life just felt like "an old thing". I could feel God's Holy Spirit. When I came back to my bedroom, the Holy Spirit just brought me to my knees and that morning at around 6 o'clock, I accepted Christ as my Savior.

When I went to school that morning, I felt like I had rockets under my shoes. I walk all around and I just couldn't feel my feet. I could not help smiling. God's presence was everywhere. For some of my addictions, I sought help. My grades in school improved big time. My relationship with my parents and sibling also improved. I owe all of this to Jesus Christ who demonstrated His love by dying on the cross so that I don't have to pay the consequences for my sin.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Jesus Loves You

Saturday, March 11, 2006

From Darkness To Light

I was born and raised in a conservative Muslim family. Ever since I was ten years old, I’ve been reading the Quran on a daily basis and performing my Islamic duties such as fasting and prayer. Then when I was twelve, I started going to the Friday prayer at the mosque next door every week. As years passed by, my knowledge in Islam increased. I was extremely religious but I had no true relationship with the God I was worshipping; for I always had felt that there’s a barrier separating me from God. That’s why I tried to reach him by performing those duties such as prayer and fasting. In spite of my religiousness, I felt that there was a great void within me filling me completely. I never knew what my fate was after death…. For I worshipped God on the outside only. But on the inside, I was a slave to many bad habits and lusts. I couldn’t break free from those habits by fasting, praying or trying to lead a spiritual life. What I truly needed was a heavenly force which would free me and break me loose from the bondage of sin.

Through reading the Quran I discovered the greatness and uniqueness of our Lord "Isa (Jesus)" the Christ. He was wonderful and magnificent… for he’s the Word of God… a Spirit of God… and our intercessor in this life and the life to come…. he is close to God… he is the pure sinless child… he came to this world miraculously, for he was born of a Blessed Virgin untouched by man. Add to all that the fact that he lived a life free of sin and lusts – for the Quran says that all Prophets have sinned and asks for forgiveness from God, that is except for our master "Isa (Jesus)" the Christ. The Quran also says that he performed great miracles unmatched by anyone else. All of that made me wonder…. Who is this "Isa (Jesus)? Is he a mere Prophet? Or is he something greater? Why has the Quran given him all these privileges? With all the confusion I had I though I ought to search for the truth no matter what it would cost!

So I endeavored on reading the Quran from beginning to end deeply. That was when I came upon a verse there, "If thou wert in doubt as to what We have revealed unto thee then ask those who have been reading the Book from before thee: the Truth hath indeed come to thee from thy Lord: so be in no wise of those in doubt. [Quran, Yunus 10:94, Yusuf Ali’s translation]". This verse was the key of answering all my questions and removing all my doubts… so I wondered, who are those who were reading "the Book" before the Muslims? The answer came to me from the Quran itself! Those are the Jews and Christians – for the Quran calls them "the People of the Book" because they have the Torah and the Injeel (Gospel), and the Quran orders every Muslim who doesn’t understand it to go back to the Torah and the Injeel (Gospel).

That very day, I hurriedly bought a copy of the Holy Bible. I started reading it… in it I felt that the words of our Lord "Isa (Jesus)" cannot be the words of men; for no man or prophet dare say that he is the Way, Truth and Life… "No one comes to the Father except through me [John 14:6]"… "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. [John 8:12]"… I decided that I should study the life of our Lord "Isa (Jesus)" the Christ in more depth, for I was overwhelmed by great passion to know more about his unique character.

I read in the Holy Bible that our Lord "Isa (Jesus)" the Christ came to the world to save man from sin, and to set him free from bondage to the Devil. I realized the truth of the Gospel in my personal life, and I found in the sinless person of our Lord "Isa (Jesus)" the Christ… well, I found in his sacrifice the solution to the problem of sin in my life. For in his crucifixion is the atonement for all my sins and iniquities. I decided to seek him and his precious blood for shelter because he is the one who died instead of me and shed his holy blood for me! I couldn’t achieve salvation on my own, not by doing good words or my duties or anything else for that matter. So I decided to submit my life to him. On that very day, I bowed my head and asked the Lord to forgive me my transgressions. Finally, I accepted Jesus as my Savior.


Tuesday, March 07, 2006

The Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-24)

Luke 15:11-24
New Living Translation (NLT)
Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996 by Tyndale Charitable Trust.

Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers.

Story of the Lost Son

To illustrate the point further, Jesus told them this story: "A man had two sons. The younger son told his father, `I want my share of your estate now, instead of waiting until you die.' So his father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons.

"A few days later this younger son packed all his belongings and took a trip to a distant land, and there he wasted all his money on wild living. About the time his money ran out, a great famine swept over the land, and he began to starve. He persuaded a local farmer to hire him to feed his pigs. The boy became so hungry that even the pods he was feeding the pigs looked good to him. But no one gave him anything.

"When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, `At home even the hired men have food enough to spare, and here I am, dying of hunger! I will go home to my father and say, "Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired man." '

"So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long distance away, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. His son said to him, `Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.'

"But his father said to the servants, `Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger, and sandals for his feet. And kill the calf we have been fattening in the pen. We must celebrate with a feast, for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.' So the party began.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Mightier Than Death

I was born into a conservative Muslim family in Iraq.

Whilst in The Middle school, I was always disturbed when I heard my teacher explaining how Islam spread by wars and battles lead by Mohamed or his successors. Even in the Muslim prayers there is no appeal for God to change their manners and behavior but rather their surrounding circumstances. So whilst my teacher was talking about the Islamic heroism of their wars and battles, I viewed them as war crimes that encourage hatred, malice, killing and stealing.

As time passed, I finished my middle school and was forced to join the army. At the army I became an armored tank driver. When the war between Iraq and Iran errupted in the early 1980s, I refused to participate in the war. I chose the path of peace and love over the road of killing and destruction. I realized that my choice would result in dangerous consequences; it meant prison time, torture and probably death.

I decided to escape from the army. When I asked my fellow soldiers if any of them were willing to come with me, they refused and I had to escape alone amidst heavy bombardment and dangerous land mines until I miraculously arrived at my House in the city of EL MOUSEL.

When I arrived home, I was shocked that my family refused to accept, or even allow me to stay in the house, but rather they tried to force me to go back to the front line to continue the war.

So I decided to escape the country to go to Syria.

Unfortunately I was caught trying to cross the border to Syria when two nomad informers for the Iraqi army arrested me. They handed me over to the Iraqi army at city of "Rabbia" where I was tortured severely and left blindfolded waiting to be executed.

Instead they decided to send me to the Iraqi Central Intelligent service in Baghdad to await being court marshaled for capital treason (escaping the military service in time of war is capital treason and is punishable by death).

I spent 16 months in a human army prison waiting for a trial, until I finally went to court and was confronted by the two nomad capturers who acted as the prosecution’s main witnesses.

At this difficult time I prayed for God to deliver me from this dangerous situation.

Mysteriously enough, the court set me free for lack of evidence because one of the two witnesses was deaf and blind and so not able to testify legally before the court. At this very moment I felt the deep love of God, who delivered me and I felt more confident about him.

Later I was forced to go back to participate in the ongoing war and I found myself driving a tank one more time. I decided to escape again regardless of my past escape experience. This time I fled to the Iraqi City of Kurdestan towards the Iranian border.

For 400 miles I walked through minefields and climbed mountains until I arrived at the border. There I was detained in a refugee camp that looked more like a prison, where we were forced to practice the teachings of Islam.

So I decided to run again, this time to Pakistan, for three days and three nights I had to walk with no food or water till I almost died. I was homeless in Pakistan for a year until I decided to cross over to India despite all the danger at the border because of the tension between India and Pakistan.

Once again God delivered me miraculously. During all that time I felt that God was always by my side protecting me from all the danger not knowing what good he was preparing for me.

God started dealing with me directly when I arrived at Katmandu the capital of Nepal, south of China. There I got sick and had to go to the hospital where I met a Christian nurse that worked in the hospital’s "Christian Committee".

She introduced me to a community of missionaries from all over the world. They were living in the same place called Della M House. Those people came to this remote area for the sole purpose of serving Christ. They went to prisons, hospitals and poor areas to preach The Gospel of Jesus.

I was invited to go to their house and I didn’t hesitate to do so. When I went there I saw simple people full of love, benevolence and the desire to help the poor in the name of Jesus who gave himself for all the humanity. I stayed in their house for thirty days receiving the best medical treatment by every one there. That time was the best time of my life; I learnt about Jesus the loving God who had always protected me all my life. Every morning we would gather around the breakfast table, to sing praises, and to study the Bible as if the Lord Jesus himself was with us. Later in the day each missionary would go to his or her ministry.

There I learned more about Jesus, and about praying for other people, as well as praying before eating and the ‘Our Father’ prayer too. They told me about the atoning death of Jesus. I felt so loved by those people because I was persecuted and looking for peace.

Although they asked me repeatedly to stay with them, I made a bad choice, and decided to leave them to run after that phantom dream called freedom. So I left them and went to Thailand, and not so long after it I found myself lingering amongst cities and ports exhausted.

Until I felt so helpless that I decided to go back home where killings were widespread. When I went back I didn’t care what would happen to me because I trusted in Jesus’ love for me no matter what.

As soon as I arrived I was arrested and interrogated by the Iraqi intelligence service where they imprisoned and tortured me. Later on I was sent to court falsely accused, and they hoped to convict and executed me. I went to court full of faith in the Lord’s love and care for me. The court ruled that I would be imprisoned for 20 years instead of executing me. I was overwhelmed with joy that they were not going to execute me.

They sent me to the central prison as a political prisoner. I spent one year there until the Iraqi government was forced to set all the political prisoners free (eight Iraqi officials were taken as hostages by the Kurdish rebels and they were exchanged for all the Iraqi political prisoners).

As soon as they released me, I decided to go back to that missionary house in Katmandu, where I first encountered the love of Christ. But whilst I was planning my departure, the Iraqi army invaded Kuwait and I was forced again to join the army.

One more time I escaped from the front line to the Saudi border towards the American troops stationed there. But the Saudi army arrested me instead and I was once again imprisoned for 18 months in a desert cage not even fit for wild animal.

The Lord strengthened me and I endured this tough time until I was released. I managed to escape to the United States where I met my fellow Evangelical Christians who helped me to live and walk with Jesus. I am and will always be thankful to the Lord that he never forgot me but instead he led me from the darkness and into the light of the Gospel.

Glory to God forever and ever, Amen.


Wednesday, March 01, 2006

John 3:16

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that
everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Trail Of Tears

I was born in a city called Mariwan in the Iranian part of Kurdistan. My dad was a Communist or komala as it is called, and so was my mom. In 1981 my dad became a Christian. When my mom and dad saw each other again, and he told her about the best experience in his life and she also became a Christian. But my mom spent lot of time in prison. My dad was killed in 1984. The last time I saw my mom, she was in a hospital in Tehran.

I was sitting outside when my uncle called me in to see my mom. I was shaking. I didn't know what was going to happen. When I reached the door of her room, I fell down in tears. But she called me in and told me not to worry because she would be with God. She told me that when I got back home to go to where the apricot trees are in a river. There I would find a bag with a book in it. She told me to take the book and read it. After I finished reading it, I was to put it back in the bag and in the river again. She told me not to cry but I could not help it. She kissed me and died after a while. Her last words she told me were "I want you to be where I am. You have never seen your father but you will." And she also sang a song for me which went something like "amineh takanay daya sat birya emin baya" It is a famous Kurdish song that she sang for me when I visited her in jail.

One day after school, I went to the garden, got the bag, and tried to read the book. I couldn't read it because it was in Kurdish. At that time, I could only read Persian. But because they used the same alphabet I was able to slowly figure out the words and by the grace of God, I learned how to read in Kurdish through that book. This book had an amazing impact on my life. Not in the first year, but as I read it over the years, I became better and it gave me the peace that I needed.

After my mom had passed away and because of the torture she had suffered, my uncle sent me to the mosque and I began reading the Qur'an. I loved it for its poetry but they never told us what it meant. I dared not to ask because I was thinking that it might be the word of God and we humans just don't understand it. What troubled me was that the same character in the book of my mom was also in the Qur'an. And I remembered reading in Peter's confession that Jesus is the Son of God while the Qur'an denied it. So I wanted to know why it was different.

One day, without realizing what would happen, I took both books (Injil, and Qur'an) and showed them to my uncle and asked him why they were conflicting. He demanded, "Where did you get this book?" I said my mom hid it. He took it out of my hand and put it in a wood heater that we had. The book was burned to ashes. The only gift I had from my mom was gone. The only memory that kept me going was burned. Now I couldn't go to the garden, read it and cry over it. I used to cry over it all the time.

I asked, "Why did you do this?" He said that I might end up like my mom and my dad. This is when I learned that my parents went from Communism to Christ. He insulted my parents and said I would be a kafir (unbeliever) too. My grandma said, "May the worms and snakes eat my parents in the grave and not leave them alone."

One night I prayed and said, "Jesus, you promised if we ask in your name you will answer and we would receive it." I prayed that he would help me to find someone from my city who was a Christian. This was a rather impossible request. The Gulf War started and refugees poured into my city. They spoke the same language but I had never heard the dialect they spoke.

One day, I met Hiwa a Kurd from Iraq. Hiwa invited me to his place for Friday night but I had Qur'an classes and I could not go. I saw my mom in a dream and she told me to go on Sunday. Hiwa said that I couldn't go on Sunday since they were busy. But I said my mom told me to go on Sunday. He asked why she would say that. I told him the whole story and he then said that his father and mother had been Muslim but they became Christians through some Assyrian friends. Hiwa told me to meet him at his house at 5 p.m. He rushed home to tell his parents the story.

When I got to his house, it was time to eat and then hear some preaching from his dad. I ate with them. I told them that my father had been fighting in the mountains and my mom too. One day they were attacked and my dad crossed the boarder into Iraq and went to seek refuge in the home of his friend who was an Assyrian. My dad saw so much through his friend that he hungered for God and became a Christian. He asked my dad's name. I said Karim. He asked if I was a Christian. I said I believe in Jesus and had read his book. But now my uncle had burned the book and I didn't have it anymore. He said he became a Christian the same way as my dad had. He said you have to call Christ into your life and allow him take over your life.

I asked, "How do you do that?" He came and put his hands around me like I was his own son. He said to receive God's salvation all you need is a relationship. This relationship could only be through faith and trust. I asked, "How should I pray?"

He said, "Repeat after me." I prayed, "Father, please forgive me, a sinner. I know that you are one. Your way is one. I know that Jesus is the way and I want him in my life." - My sorrows turned into joy and my heart was healed. I cried no more.

When I went to my Qur'an class, I asked if Christianity was right. My teacher said, "What?" He brought me in front of the class room (in the mosque not at school) and slapped me as hard as he could. I fell to ground with my whole face shaking. He asked some kids to go outside and get some sticks, dip them in water and then he hit me in the hands. He put pencils between my fingers and squeezed them until I could be only on one foot and I was jumping on it. He had me carry the heaviest kid in the class. I had to crawl around the room. After that he kicked me out of the class room.

Hiwa's mom saw me unconscious, bleeding from my mouth and swollen. I couldn't help the tears coming down and she asked who had done this. I said, "Mamosta", which is Kurdish for master. She said, "Go, tell your uncle." I said he knew that I was close to becoming a Christians like my parents and he didn't want this. He didn't want me to be able to try and find out why my parents had become Christians. He was afraid this might make me into a Christian and my leaving Islam would bring lot of shame to his family.

She took me to her home and shared a passage where Jesus said that they will persecute you all in my name. I knew this was not the way of God and I was glad that I was a Christian. She told me that they would be leaving in two weeks to go back to Shaqlawa. I said that I want to go with them and get away from my relatives. She said no I had to stay. I agreed.When I came back home, my uncle asked why me I looked so badly? I said I was punished. He asked for what? I said for asking a question. He said what kind of a question. I said that I had asked if Christianity was right. He yelled at me, "Why this question?" I said, "Because my parents were Christians." He picked up the broom and hit my head with it. Again I was bleeding on my head. He chased me down the stairs and I was hearing my grandmother saying "bikkosh, bikoosha" which means kill him, kill him. He chased me about ten minutes and I couldn't run anymore. I was dead-tired, hungry, and thirsty. I called on Jesus for help.

It was about nine o'clock. I didn't know where I was, but miraculously, I ended up at Hiwa's house. I was sitting to rest and than realized that it was their house. I got up and knocked. They opened the door and were shocked at what they saw, a swollen face and ripped clothes. Dust was all over me and my head was bleeding. I took a shower and Hiwa lent me some of his clothes. I ate and drank and slept for a while but I got up with a hunger to call out to Jesus and study the Bible. I woke Hiwa up and studied with him.

The next day Mrs. Mahsun (Hiwa's mother) said that I could go with them. My uncle was looking for me. He saw me at a store with Hiwa and called me. He said, "I am sorry. You be a Muslim again and I will allow you back to my house." I didn't accept his offer and went the other way around. Then Mr. Kamal came to me and said, "Islam can't be right because in Islam so many false prophets have appeared such as Baha'ullah and the Ahmadiyyas who claim to be the Messiah. No where in the Qur'an does God warn us of this. Jesus did warn us. He said that the Christian experience was not like any other faith. There is none like it. He explained that in all other world religions, man was trying to reach God. But God is too big for us. How can we reach him? He said in Christianity, God is the one that is reaching man.

I said what about the Trinity? He said, "The Trinity has nothing to do with how many gods there are. It only has to do with God's nature and the three persons make up the one God. He said, "Can a dog understand the nature of man?" I said no. He said, "Right, because we're too unique to be understood by a dog, and when we go to heaven WE will be learning more about God. I became a Christian because of my emptiness and because I needed someone that could meet my needs. Jesus Christ was the only person that did that. I became a Christian because Jesus appeared to me in my dream and told me that I would be with him. I became a Christian because the Bible answered all of my questions."

Today I am living with Hiwa's family in the U.S. I am working on preaching the Gospel of Jesus to Kurds. Through my walk with Christ I gained understanding of life. I was told that when growing up I would find all of my questions answered in the Qur'an. But this is not the case now. I found the answers to my questions in the Bible and not the Qur'an.

I would like to give one example. This could be proven by asking what the meaning of creation is. Every Muslim that I asked says that we are created to worship God. Even the Jehovah's Witnesses that I have talked to say this. But Christianity is the only religion that says that we are created to be with God in heaven, but through sin we came short of the glory of God and He has to redeem us. The peace and joy that one gains through Jesus can be found in no one else.

In fact, I went to Buddhist temples and to the Bahai's. I studied their books and I could never find something that fulfills. The only joy Muslims find in reading of the Qur'an is that of its poetry and that they believe that it came from God. I do not think that the following poem of Omar Khayyam is inspired. Even though when it is translated to English it still makes sense.

"Why, all the Saints and Sages who discuss'd
Of the Two Worlds so wisely - they are thrust
Like foolish Prophets forth;
their Words to Scorn Are scatter'd,
and their Mouths are stopt with Dust."

It makes good sense, doesn't it? Ladies and gentlemen, all you need is the peace of God.

Jesus said in John 14:27 "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."

All you need is Jesus. I urge you to call on him because he is the only one that can provide what the heart of man needs. May God show you the truth and it shall set you free.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Psalm 27:1

Friday, February 24, 2006

Zana's Story

It all started in late 1980’s when I was detained by the Iranian police for no reason. They thought that I had some connections with Kurdish political parties that were opposing the Islamic Republic. I did not have any connection with any political party or anything of that sort. Months went by without them even letting my family know where I was. Finally, the day came when I was brought into court.

The Judge asked me three questions that were asked of many people:

  1. What is your name? -- I said Zana.
  2. What is your ethnicity? -- I said I am a Kurd.
  3. What is your religion? -- I said that I am a Sunni Muslim.
I was taken out of the court, thrown back into my cell and I was beaten all night. Next morning, they put me on a bus headed back to Mahabad, my city in Kurdistan. On the bus, I was sitting next to a man. He opened his bag and took out a sandwich which was wrapped in newspaper. I was very hungry since I had not eaten regular food in almost six months. I did not want to look at his food but I just couldn't stand the smell of the kabobs. He turned around and asked me if I would like one. Without hesitating as we usually do in Iranian culture, I asked for one. Instead of one, he gave me two out of the three that he had with him.

I asked for his name and he said that his name was Yacub. I had never heard that name before. So I asked,
"What kind of name is this?"
He said "Hebrew".
"Ahh, so you are a Jew?" I asked back.
"No, I am a Christian", he said.

I had heard a lot of negative things about Christians in the Quran so I did not want to get into a conversation about Christianity. But something inside me made me wonder why he believed in it (Christianity)? I asked if he believed that Jesus was the son of God. The answer was yes. How could God have a wife? How could God have sex? He started explaining that to say that God had sex with Mary is the greatest sin. But rather Jesus is the son of God in a spiritual way and not like the way we are born. And we never say that God ever had a wife, we believe in a holy God. I wanted to stop the conversation and begin a different subject. I could not think of any other subject, so I asked him why he was going to Kurdistan. He said that a friend needed some help with something. I asked for his name he said Zana. That was my name. But I thought it was a different person. He opened his bag and very quietly gave me a Bible. He put it in my bag. He knew that if someone saw him with that book it could cost him his life. I asked what it was. He told me that I would find out later.

We got to Mahabad and I got off the Bus before he did. I got my bag and was waiting outside for Yacub (Jacob) to come off, but the bus was empty and he still had not come out. I went to the driver and asked him where the man sitting next to me had gone? To my astonishment and confusion he said, "There was no man sitting next to you."

Was I crazy or what? I said maybe I was dreaming. But I still had the taste of the sandwich in my mouth. I still had the book in my bag. What was Yacub? Who was he? Why didn't he go to his friend's house? Then I remembered that the friend's name was Zana and only then realized he meant me. I went home and found my mom in the house crying. She was so surprised and happy to see me. I asked what had happened since I had been gone. I found out that soldiers were looking for me and that she was raped by a Jaush (Kurdish for "traitor").

When I heard that, I felt like somebody was hitting me in the back with sticks. I went to my room and wept like a baby. I could not believe that this really had happened. That night when I asked for my older brother Hasan at dinner, they all started crying. They told me that he was hanged. I felt like the food was going through my back. I could not eat. I got up and went to my room for some more weeping. I felt like the whole world was on my shoulders and I felt like I was carrying the rocks. I had nothing to do, so I took out the book and started reading. After reading the first chapters of the book of Genesis, I went to read the Injil. I started reading the book of Matthew. I was surprised. I had never seen anything like this. I stopped at chapter ten and just went to bed. I still could hear my Mom and sister crying downstairs. The neighbors came to cheer them up and talk to them.

Next morning life was normal, so I went and visited my brother's grave. Life became normal again until one night in my dream Yacub appeared and told me that I must leave my country. I knew something was up so I went and hid at a friend's house. I did not want to leave the country; I loved it. Sometime after, I sneaked back to my house at night and discovered that soldiers had been in my house and they were looking for me. Now this time, it was my sister that was raped by the soldiers for no reason. My brother who was executed had some ties to the Kurdish political parties. But what had I done wrong, or what had my sister done wrong? Is this what they call an Islamic Republic? All I could think of was suicide. But I would now leave so many people behind. If it was not for my family I would have killed myself.

I knew that Yacub was telling me something. But what? Help me Yacub; what do you want me to do? I went to my room and packed whatever I could because I was going to leave the country. I took the Bible with me and headed for the mountains crossing the boarders into Iraq. I stopped in the middle of nowhere for a rest. I took out my book and read in it. When I came to Matthew 11:28 "Come to me all who are heavy laden and weary and I will give you rest," I was shocked and did not know what to think because the book kind of read my mind. It had what my heart longed for. I found what I was looking for. I found what met my personal needs. Right there in the middle of the night I gave my life to Jesus Christ.

I couldn't believe the changes that were happening inside of me. I felt a kind of peace that could not be expressed by words. I was relieved. I could feel all of the weight that I felt on my shoulders coming off. I now understood God and what he was like. It was a good thing that I did not commit suicide. The Lord had a plan for me. I now knew who Yacub was -- an angel. It was very hard to believe. I myself found it hard to believe. But an angel would be the best answer. I now forgave all of those that done wrong to me. Instead of cursing, I prayed for the salvation of the people who had beaten me in prison. I am grateful for having such a wonderful experience.