LEBANON — The civil war forced a Syrian, Jouan and his family to flee Syria to live as a refugee in Lebanon. But while there his cousin Pastor Nihad led him to faith in Christ. Watch his powerful story here.
Jouan – Syrian refugee:
“We used to live in a nice house. We had our friends, our neighbours. I used to go to school and it was normal.”
Like many young Syrians, Jouan’s normal life was uprooted by the civil war. Eight years ago he secretly fled with his family to Lebanon. There, his parents, Jouan and his three siblings began living in just one room.
“Everything like 180 degrees changed. So we stayed in that one room for about a year. I couldn’t go to school. That was challenging. At that time, I was 11 years old and I only spoke one language Kurdish. I could not even understand Arabic very well.”
When Jouan was about 15, the family received a visit from Pastor Nihad that would being to change Jouan’s life.
“My cousin Pastor Nihad, he visited us. He was living here in Lebanon from a long time ago, so he came to visit us and to see what we were doing. He took me with him to the church in Beirut. I didn’t understand what was going on, what the church means, what Jesus means. Pastor Nihad gave me an audio Bible and gave me a book Bible so I could read. My reading was not very perfect. And also I tried to hide this Bible, because my mum was a strong Muslim she would not accept that at all.”
Jouan kept reading and praying and came to believe in Christ. But practising his faith was difficult.
“None of my family were believers; they didn’t accept also. So it was hard, because I spent these four years alone. I didn’t go to the church; I was not allowed to go. So I spent these four years alone trying to pray and trying to receive the word from God directly. It was difficult, but God, you know, He was with me all the time. He was giving me the power to continue.”
Eventually Jouan’s mother came to faith after experiencing healing. And he is praying for his father to come to believe too. Jouan knows that God has a future for him and his family, even though they still cannot return to their homeland.
“All Syria is destroyed. We had our houses destroyed. The lands that we had, the olive land is taken. So even if we come back, we cannot live. The neighbors, the friends that I used to have – my family traveled, everyone to different countries. So we have nothing. We have nothing, but we have God. He can give us everything. He can do miracles and change lives and He can show you that He is next to you. He can do a lot of miracles even in the middle of problems, in the middle of persecution like we are in now, like I’m living in. He can change lives and you just have to try, you just have to ask him. In the Bible it says: ‘If you knock the door, it will be opened..and if you ask, it will be answered.”
Source: Global News Alliance, Syrian Refugee’s Life-Changing Move to Lebanon