Each year numerous Iranian Christians flee the oppressive Islamic regime. While they escape fierce persecution and imprisonment, life as a refugee in the region is hard and can seem hopeless. With your support, local churches set up community centers as safe places to heal and grow. Young leader Kouroush, a refugee himself, shares about the community center he built in his city with your support.
Four walls, a ceiling and a lot of dust and building material: that’s how the community center in a big city in Turkey looks when we visit it. But that is not what Kouroush* sees when he looks around: “Here we will make the entrance, and this part will become the library,” he gestures. “And that there in the back, that will be the hall where we’ll have trainings.”
Kouroush grew up in a Muslim family in Iran. He first heard the gospel in high school, but resented the friend who told him about it. Years later it was the same friend that invited him to the house church meeting that ignited his search for the true God.
It was a struggle for Kouroush to admit all that he had learned from his parents wasn’t true. But the more he studies, the more he realizes he is a sinner and Jesus is the Almighty Saviour. And then, one night, he surrenders to Christ: “I prayed: ‘I need you and I want to trust you, I give my life to you.’”
Kouroush found a house church and eventually became a leader. But it came at a price: he faced arrest and torture. He is still astonished about the injustice he was met with in prison: “I hadn’t committed any crime to deserve this. I didn’t murder anyone; I didn’t steal anything. All I did was to surrender my heart to Jesus.”
The time in prison didn’t scare Kouroush off: After his release he continued his ministry. But the secret service tracked him down again. Kouroush saw no other option then to leave his beloved country and flee to Turkey.
It’s hard for Kouroush to put words to how he felt when he first arrived in Turkey. He takes a moment to think and then replies: “It was some kind of fear, mixed with sadness and confusion about why I was here: I lost everything. My job, my family, my country.”
What would have helped Kouroush at this time in his life? A safe place. A place to feel at home again and talk to people that speak his language, a place to share his story and find help. A place also where he can satisfy his hunger for the Word of God. “And I am not the only one,” says Kouroush. “Finding such a place is one of the biggest challenges for any Iranian refugee”.
That safe space Kouroush missed when he came to Turkey is what he creates for others now. ‘How do we create hope? ‘ is the question that he and his local church asked themselves. In the blueprint of the center the answer becomes visible: there is space for spiritual needs: a library full of Farsi Christian books and room for discipleship courses. But a refugee can also just share his story over a cup of tea in the café or receive biblical counselling. Distribution of relief items will also take place from the center.
Kouroush wants to thank you for your support: “Without the international family of God we wouldn’t have been able to establish this center. I feel like God’s hand was in this: he brought us all together.”
While the builders are still busy installing toilets and building walls, Kouroush is already counting the days to the opening of the center: “I am really looking forward to what God is going to do here, to see the fruits of this center. All to glorify the name of our triune God!”
The community center is planned to open in the spring of 2021.
Let believers from a Muslim background know that they are not alone.
*Kouroush is not his real name.
- Pray for Kourush as he leads people to Christ, may his faith be strengthened and He find wisdom in the Lord
- Pray for the community centers that it may be an avenue where refugees can have an encounter with our Savior, Jesus Christ
- Pray for Iranian refugees all around the world
Your gift today will help secret believers know they are not alone.
With your help they help, believers who have fled, as well as believers that live in a difficult situation in their home country can have access to Christian resources, biblical counselling, discipleship trainings and more.