The story of a family being reunited with their son had me on the edge of my seat. It was like something that happens only in movies and books. I could not believe I was hearing what we had hoped for and dared to believe could happen.
For four weeks I had been meeting with this beautiful family who fled Iran, and over this time they had become like family to me. Each visit they welcomed me in for tea and sweets, and we joked around as we went fishing, played board games and soccer together.
The family had previously told me that during their journey to Sweden they lost their teenage son amongst the large crowds of refugees.
They had no idea where he was but thought he might be in Germany; they hadn’t seen him or been able to contact him for an entire year.
Many people from the local churches had been praying for them to be reunited, but it was yet to happen and weighed on them heavily.
But a miracle was at hand.
One morning our DTS team prayed for the specific refugees that we had become close friends with, so I immediately decided to pray for this family. That same day I received a message from the family saying, “We have found our son! We are very happy!” I was ecstatic! It was like being reunited with my own brother. Not only was the son’s location now known, but he was actually in the same country, sitting with his family! I couldn’t wait to visit them, meet their son and celebrate.
Apparently, after the son had been separated from his family, he had continued on the route through Europe and arrived in Sweden around the same time, but in a town 30 minutes away. Unaware of where his family was, he stayed in accommodation for unaccompanied refugee children and searched for a year to find his family. He contacted the Red Cross and other organisations which housed refugees, but they had no knowledge of his family’s whereabouts. His family looked for him also, but their search was just as futile.
Little did they know their prayers were about to be answered. In the week before we left, the son attended a music concert in the town where his family was staying. His father heard the music from the concert while riding his bike and decided to attend himself, not knowing that his son was there. As the father waited for the next performance to come onstage, he saw a person in the crowd that looked like his son. “Could it actually be him?”
The father thought he was dreaming, but then he looked again.
Trembling, the father walked up to the teenager and asked if he was his son. “Dad!” the son exclaimed. Both were in disbelief and shock. The father embraced his son in tears and laughter. They were finally reunited after a year apart, a year of not hearing or knowing anything, or even whether or not the other was alive.
“I never thought I would meet my family there. It was amazing; I could not believe that it happened. I prayed to God every day that I would see my family again,” said the son.
They quickly called a friend who drove them back to their accommodation to see the rest of the family. Recalling the experience, the son said, “My mum started to cry and then I started to cry. It was the best day of my life.”
Visiting the family the next day was wonderful and surreal. They were still in a slight daze from the freshness of the situation; utterly amazed at what had happened, but so happy that they were back together as a family again. When I left they were brimming with joy and had bright smiles on their faces. “I can sleep again now,” said the mother, knowing that her son was finally home and safe.
Some would say that this is a story of pure chance and luck, of coincidence. But as I reflect on this amazing, incredible reunion, I see how God miraculously brought them together again. I feel so privileged and honoured that I was able to experience this family’s relief and delight firsthand.
I imagine God and all the angels were celebrating this lost son coming home.
“The LORD has done this, and it is marvellous in our eyes. The LORD has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad.” Psalm 118:23-24 (NIV)
by Hannah Rochester
YWAM Compassion Now DTS student