“Please, teacher, tell me – why are you and these other teachers so different? What is it about this center that makes me feel at peace?”
These were the comments of one of our center’s Kurdish students, B, nearly 4 years ago! These comments were not unusual – many students commented on that atmosphere – one of love, acceptance and safety. After a couple months, B’s male teacher began having a Bible study with him, and a couple other people in his house; this lasted for several months, but waned as B, and the others, were under constant pressure from family. For B, it came especially from his wife, who was very frightened about his new-found faith and its implications. He testified that he enjoyed the Bible study, and was always very prepared, but coming regularly became extremely challenging. So the studies ended, and we didn’t hear anything about, or from, B – until a month ago.
In early June another teacher was preparing to leave the country permanently. As he was tying up loose ends, he asked if I would be willing to meet with B, and get involved with him, to begin discipling him again. “Sure! I know B – he’s a really nice man, though I haven’t seen him in a couple years.” So B & I met for a chat one evening – talked about a myriad of things, including whether or not he’d like to meet regularly. He said he would – so we set up to meet the following day.
He came to the house – with a broken foot, I don’t get out much! We chatted about life, family, etc. His wife seemed more comfortable now with his faith, not as afraid, not hostile, etc.
Finally I asked him – “Do you believe in J as the risen Son of God? Are you a Christian?” (B has some exposure to the church and this terminology as he was introduced to the evangelical Arabic speaking church in our city by his teacher.)
“I don’t know.” I went through an explanation with him – “yes” was his answer to every question.
“Then you’re a Christian!”
“I guess I am!”
Armed with this new assurance, we have begun studying the book of Genesis; once a week isn’t sufficient for B – “let’s meet twice a week!”
“Okay—that’s great with me!”
So he came – for two meetings. Then he didn’t show – silence. About midnight on Thursday night he messaged asking if he could come on Friday morning?
“How about Saturday?” was my reply.
When he came Saturday, I learned why he hadn’t come. His wife was less supportive than she had been; she started fasting; she was making life tough on him. We studied Genesis, we prayed, we talked, he left. As I was praying later, it became so clear – of course he’s having trouble at home! He’s started studying the Word again; it’s Ramadan and he’s neither keeping fast, nor leading his family to do so. His wife has started fasting again – the pressure to maintain the status quo is weighty.
He has so much to learn – and so do I. While I know the Book, I’ve never lived in his shoes. He is, for the first time, reading the Word in Sorani Kurdish – in the past he’s always read in Arabic. He commented to me that “we don’t have books that tell us the answers”.
I replied, “But you do! They’re all right here – in Bible!”
Pray for B to grasp the need for the blood sacrifice, as far back as the garden.
Pray for B to share Truth with his wife.
Pray for me to be faithfully prepared, and to pray for B daily.
Pray for us to interact well with B, his wife, and his children.