The day started off with multiple phone calls trying to figure out if anyone was going to come to the Christmas celebration. My friend and I were supposed to drive folks who lived far, but it looked like at least one of the locations was falling through. Our other friends went to the church early to help set up. They had prepared fewer gift packets because it seemed like fewer people were coming. A couple hours later, we decided that my friend and I would go to the same location to pick up the believing families, thinking that we wouldn’t be getting more than a few people. By the time we drove through the hilltop of the city, one van had 21 people and the other had 26 people! When we arrived at the church most everyone was pleasantly surprised. When I counted at one point there were 50 adults Kurds and 20 children in attendance! Only 15 or so of them were professing believers. Many of those believers had invited relatives and neighbors to come (parents, cousins, nephews, uncles).
When “M” first went up to introduce himself and start the service he asked who in the crowd only knew Arabic, and only 4 people raised their hands. So 95% of the people there were Kurdish. What proceeded was 6 or so worship songs in Kurdish and one in Arabic, a ten minute clipped video of the Jesus film (the beginning overview of Creation-to-Christ and the birth of Christ), a sermon that covered apologetic issues like the reliability of scripture, a testimony and the gospel and Christmas story (many of them heard it twice, since it was translated into Arabic from Kurdish and many speak both!), then prayer, and fellowship, where most everyone stayed and ate food for 45 minutes.
All of us involved in planning and serving were amazed at God’s grace in gathering together so many Kurds who haven’t heard the gospel to hear and see believers celebrate Christ (the Kurdish believers were super stoked about the night). All the Kurd’s were Kurmanji speakers mostly from Syria, but there were also Iraqi, Yezidi, and Turkish Kurd’s in attendance. Each family was sent home with a New Testament in Kurdish, English, and Arabic, a Kurdish worship CD, and some apologetic materials. Pray that those who received gifts would read and believe!
We are praising the Lord for his love for the Kurdish people that he would sovereignly bring so many to hear the good news and for how his used his children (specifically Kurdish believers) to boldly invite friends and family. Pray that these Kurdish believers would press on in their sharing, being bold in the power of His might!