“To Get Freedom, I Walked For 17 Hours Across the Mountain and Crossed Over the Barbed Wire Fence “
▶A traditional Iranian food, Ghormeh Sabzi

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The Christian Whom I Met in Turkey (3)

Refugee Families from Afghanistan to Turkey via Iran

I arrived J. City, the last destination of the journey to Turkey, late at night. I, together with my acquaintance, went to the house where the refugees were living . On the side of the road, we entered a narrow alley where a person barely manage to pass between buildings. The scenery looked familiar as if one is looking at a Korean alley in the 1970s of my childhood. We climbed up the stairs and turned the corner and arrived at the door of a house with several bags of coal in front.

When we opened the front door, two rooms, each 5 to 7 square meters wide, were attached to a corridor that was about one meter wide. It was all about living space. We heard that the biological sisters, Shokle (fake name) and Merle (fake name), had been waiting for our group to have a meal with their daughters until that time. The late night meal,Ghormeh Sabzi, a traditional Iranian dish like stew served on rice, was delicious.

We heard brief introduction of five people each. And my acquaintance unpacked her backpack. He had presensts for them because Christmas was not much time left. Ramen, Choco Pie, and two empty cell. phone machines. Cell phones were the latest models than the acquaintance had. There was a cheer for each item. A sister opened a pack of ramen. Watching their pleasant smiles in smelling it, I could understand the joy of serving.

– How did you come upto here?

I asked about their past stories whenever we had spare time during the one night and two days,. Later, they smiled and said that It was longer than the interview they did at the U.N. refugee agency.

“Three years ago, we drove to the border from Iran and walked 17 hours across the mountains to arrive in Turkey. And, we came here, carrying a backpack and sleeping on the streets, and having hard time getting here.”

During the conversation, I often heard the word “Injuri Unjuri.” In Korean, it means ‘like this, like that’. It means they had gone through various ways that cannot be explained in words. The word was used continuously to describe the process of settling down here and when making food.

– How did you decide to leave Iran?

“My marriage life was not easy. It was too difficult to withstand because of the domestic violence of my husband who did not work, and also to manage home by doing things like sewing and working as visiting house keeper. It was the common life journey of the two sisters. Ferre, who married at the age of 13, had three children. She became a mother at an early age. What was more difficult was to live with a gambling husband. It was like living in prison. The daughters came to believe in Jesus through their father’s sharing gospel who became believer of Jesus through satellite TV, and wanted to escape the yoke of such life. And they saved money for as long as 8 years. The amount to be paid to brokers to cross the border is about 8,000 tele (about 1,500 USD.) per person. The two sisters finally set the day.

– How did you cross the border?

“I cut the hair of my daughters first and made them look like boys. And we crossed the border. I barely managed getting out of the barbed wire fence and step on the ground of Turkey. Then, the police’ searchlight caught us. I was afraid that they will tell us to go back. We were able to arrive in a village near the border after many twists and turns. At the park bench, we started life of refugees, with paper sheet and thin blankets living homeless lives.”

Since then, it has been painful time to be identified as a refugee through the U.N. refugee agency and to come here get the place to stay. The family made up of all female made house owners to turn away from the house rentals. They seemed reluctant to accept us in fearing that may not able to receive the rental fees. We barely managed to find a house in several months.

▶ Shokle and Merr (pictured on the left) and sister Lie
▶ Shokle and Merr (pictured on the left) and sister Lie

– How did you get through that process?

“We prayed to God. ‘please protect us, God. We have nowhere else to go.’ And, every crisis, through the grace of God we has come to this day.”

– How did you come to believe in God?

“Our father was born in Afghanistan. He escaped to Iran during the war. One day, my father was challenged by a Christian’s testimony on satellite TV. And he came to believe in Jesus. My father has many difficulty in life, however, since believing in Jesus, he has changed a lot. And then he shared the gospel to us, too,” They came from Afghanistan and lived as refugees in Iran. Refugees in Iran,and even now they are refugees. The life of the wanderer is being carried on.

– How are you living now?

“The salaries for refugees are very low compared to local people. It is about 50 teles(less than 9 USD.) a day. At first, I could not buy firewood because I had no money, so we had a cold winter. I was so sorry when I couldn’t give my children anything to eat, and we’ve been living miraculously.”

The youngest son escaped with them was brought back by her husband, who came to visit them. But their lives that the daughters who like to paint and love to sing live without losing their dreams were nothing short of one episode of drama.

-Please tell me your prayer topics.

We are praying that God will keep us and give us peace. And, we hope to go to a country like Canada, if the Lord allows.”

I spent the night listening to the tough life of the travelers no more or no less than they were. And, departed them in blessing them that in the hope for the heavenly home, they will walk continue with the Lord on earth.

The Refugees Who Received Jesus Through the Refugee Evangelist

According to our last schedule , Our company visited a church, that serves local refugees. Brother Hram, who escaped Afghanistan a few years ago, went through Iran, and came to J area..  He was once addicted to drugs and spent his life, however, in Iran he met God miraculously. After that, he came here(J area) for freedom of faith. He has been founding churches here and in a couple of different regions for 2years. We asked how to preach the gospel and how they worship.

“After coming to Turkey, I want to help when I see the Afganistanis or Iranians because I could assume what kind of life they have. I can distinguish them by their face in some point. Then I say hello.”

His life is full of amazing testimonies. But here, we will pay attention to the story of God working in a family where the brother worked. The brother Hram led our group to one sister’s(Lie, fake name) family living near the church. The LORD made us to worship with them first. We prayed and celebrated together. They gently closed their eyes and sang praise in the local languages.

▶ A  Painting of Sister Shokle's Daughter. The Forest And the Sun
▶ A  Painting of Sister Shokle’s Daughter. The Forest And the Sun

“He who gives peace to the mind / who creates the ocean / who lights up the sunlight / who makes the dreams beautiful …(Interim) … I will know the blessing of salvation through you,” “this is the lyrics of hymn.” said the acquaintance.

– How did you come to accept Jesus? I asked sister Lie.

One and a half year ago, on the way with my children, I met brother Hram on the street. He invited my family to dinner, showed us a movie, and shared his life. I was carefu,l soI  refused several times but he invited us, so met him on his birthday. And as I had been attending the service for several months, the Words of the Bible came into my ears.”

Soon, her daughter, who is in her early 20s, noticed the Bible when she was worshiping at a church. It occurred to her to look at the Bible quickly. There was peace and joy in reading the Bible as first time. And she prayed in her praise. On her knees, she confessed that she needs the Lord. Surprisingly, her life changed. Now the mother and daughter are enjoying the Lord’s grace together, and they are doing their best in the church where the brother Hram serves them.

– How did you come up with the idea of coming out of Iran?

Her long long story began. The question was short, but the answer was long. Her life story, since fleeing to Iran to escape from civil war together with her father who lived in Afghanistan at that time, and her life so far brought tears to her listeners.

“When I lived in Kabul, Afghanistan, a bomb hit my yard. The incident killed my brother, and I was shrapneled here and there in my body. Even now, the debris has not been removed completely. The hospital said, “There is a fragment right next to the blood vessel, and I might die while undergoing surgery to remove it.” So I gave up the removal surgery. Maybe that’s why even now, when the weather is bad, my whole body aches. Then I take medicine to stand.

Lie’s sister family, who left Afghanistan, had to live a life of refugees in Iran. She married at the age of 15. Her married life at a time when she was still unfamiliar with the world was not easy.

“After moving to Iran to escape the civil war, I found myself married to be third wife of my husband. It was a very tiring life. I was beaten by the son of my husband’s first wife. Living on that way, she escaped five years ago after her husband died because it was difficult to live in that house anymore.” Even now, in her dream, they sometimes appear and make her life difficult. However, now she has new hope.

At first, she lamented for her life and cried whenever she opened her eyes, as she knew no one. But ever since she knew the Lord, sister Lie’s life has been changed to being grateful. Of course everything is wanting and destitute. But now she is happy to be with the Lord.

Brother Hram, who led a family into the Lord’s arms, look at sister Lie’s family with a pleased look. He is still struggling as a refugee, but he is sowing the seeds of the gospel in his faith and hope that the Lord will be with him. He said he’s been praying that God would give him a car so that he could serve a church built around it. <The End> [GNPNEWS]

Ankara (Turkey)=C.K.

GNP News allows to use this article for those people who pray for the nations. Please identify the source as GNPNEWS and use it. Please let us know if you used it. Contacting email: gnpnews@gnmedia.org

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