“I always had this big hole in my life that nothing else could fill,” recalled Hassan*. “So I was looking for the truth.”

Hassan grew up in a war-torn country. His family was Muslim but didn’t practise strict Islam. Reciting the Qur’an daily brought little peace and change to Hassan’s life, instead, leaving him with a lot of questions.

Hassan had Kurdish origins, so Arabic wasn't his first language. But he was not allowed to speak or read the Qur'an in his own language. “I always wondered why the Qur’an is just in Arabic, or why do we only worship in Arabic? Doesn’t God understand Kurdish and other languages?” 

In 2006, Hassan moved to a neighbouring Arab country where he met a Kurdish pastor who taught the Kurdish language and the Bible. Hassan was interested in learning to read and write his native language, which had been forbidden in his home country. “The first time I went to the class, there were people from Sudan, Egypt, the United States and the Kurdish pastor,” Hassan noted.

“It was very strange for me to see such a mixture of cultures together. And everyone even welcomed me lovingly!” 

As he learnt about salvation, he also learnt that God understands all languages and cultures, which was a question he always had. Hassan confided in the pastor about many of his problems and felt peace after he'd received prayer.

Hassan left for his home country in search of new job opportunities but returned shortly thereafter, realising there were few options available abroad. When he returned, he found that the Kurdish pastor had left the country and his church was now led by an Egyptian pastor. At this church, Hassan learnt more about God and was baptised. His younger sister, who attended his baptism, scolded him: “You are no longer my brother but a stranger to us.” When his father found out, he only reprimanded Hassan. 

Continuing in his new faith, Hassan got involved in church evangelism and built a strong friendship with a couple working with OM who became like his spiritual parents. After some time, they started Discovery Bible Studies with some of his family members who had become interested in Jesus. Meanwhile, Hassan continued to struggle internally about whether the Qur’an or the Bible contained the whole truth. Then one night he had a dream about praying in the name of Jesus, and he knew that Jesus was the only way. Over time, Hassan’s younger sister who had scolded him also became a believer, along with some of his other family members.

Great value

When war broke out in his home country, more of his family fled to the neighbouring Arab country where Hassan lived, so he started a Bible study with the teenagers from his family and the community. He also started helping more with Syrian refugees, Kurdish ministry and following up with Kurdish families who wanted to study the Bible.

As people shared what they learnt in the Bible study, more representatives from different families joined, and Hassan was now managing one group with members of five families and another group consisting of people from twelve families. “I received a lot of support and advice from Christian workers about how to lead these groups. I also started training members from the group to lead the Bible Studies,” he expressed. 

Hassan took a break from this ministry to marry an OM worker, leaving it in the hands of those he had trained as the Bible studies continued to expand. After getting married in another country with many Syrian refugees, Hassan and his new wife served there for a while. On his return home, he joined other workers on a team and participated in OM’s first Arab discipleship school in the Near East.

The training focuses on raising up Arab believers from Christian and Muslim backgrounds to minister within the region. “I would have theoretical training in the morning, and in the afternoon, I would go out and do practical ministry,” noted Hassan. “This was good for me because I had the practical experience but no theory to back it up.” 

Initially, Hassan would meet people who either had no interest in Jesus or only liked the idea of Jesus. Now he meets with those who seriously want to know more.

“The Word of God has great value,” said Hassan. “So let’s tell people who want to hear. There are lots of people who want to believe, but because of fear they don’t want the hassle or to count the cost.” 

*name changed

Please pray for the Bible study groups to continue to expand and for Hassan and his team to meet people who are still waiting to learn more about Jesus.