Our outreach team was given a great honour to participate in worship with a small house church in Newcastle. The pastors welcomed us into their home with joy and hospitality for the Sunday service. They also graciously provided us with authentic Filipino and Arabic food (from their respective cultures).
The teaching was good, and the food was delicious, but it was the story of the husband that truly blessed us. He was born into a wealthy Christian family in the predominantly Muslim country of Iraq. As he got older, he became a police officer and was treated with contempt and mocked by fellow officers for 17 years. His friends would tell him “Just say that you are a Muslim” but he refused to deny his faith.
He told us that it came to a point that his family was so strongly advised to convert to Islam and continue to live in wealth or leave the country taking nothing with them. If they tried to take any of their belongings they would be killed. So with only his parents, siblings, and their faith they fled to Jordan.
To meet someone who gave up everything he had for the sake of Christ is one of the greatest honours. Persecution is reality for so many around the world. Some are assaulted, some lose everything, and some lose their lives for simply saying yes to God. This pastor’s story inspired our team to never lose our passion for God or our compassion for people.