Faith Stories  |  

'I can't tell you the things I saw'

Hama’s story | Truth in a refugee camp

“I grew up in Slemani, Northern Iraq. When Saddam Hussein attacked our city, my family fled with everyone else. There was a mass exodus of two million Kurds. The Iraqi army were shooting at us from their helicopters. I can’t tell you about the things I saw. It was a terrible few weeks. Finally, foreign aid agencies arrived in the mountains, distributing tents and food, and after a while, some families began returning to their homes. But I stayed on in the mountains to help. One day, I met a camp manager. He was sitting outside his tent, reading a Bible in Arabic. I had always wanted to read a Bible, ever since I was a child. I’d heard the name ‘Jesus’ mentioned in conversation. When I’d asked my mother about Jesus, she knew nothing. When I was at university in another city I took some friends to visit an old church. No-one spoke to us about Jesus. So, I asked the camp manager if I could borrow his Bible. He said yes, and I began reading Matthew. I got up to chapter 6, and something happened. I had grown up with a Muslim background, where people prayed in a memorised way, or for show. But in Matthew 6, Jesus said, ‘ … when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” (verse 6) It was true. I knew for the first time I could pray to God, and he would hear me. Later some of the other Christians in the refugee camp asked me to join them in prayer. I did, and when they prayed, it was quiet and humble. They didn’t put on a show. That’s what convinced me the Bible is true.”

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Hama’s story is part of Eternity’s Faith Stories series, compiled by Naomi Reed. Click here for more Faith Stories.

Bible verse Matthew 6:6

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