I was born into a Muslim family in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan. Each morning, from the time I was five years old, I was taken to the mosque for morning prayers and to learn Islamic rules. After completing my studies in Kabul University, I taught school and also ran a wholesale business.
No Place to Hide
A civil war broke out on New Years eve of 1994. We experienced bombing, rocket and automatic weapon attacks, mortar fire, and shortage of food, water, heat, and lights in temperatures below freezing. Imagine standing on your front doorstep, and watching a 1000-pound bomb leave the wing of a jet fighter plane aimed directly at your home and your family. We had NO PLACE TO HIDE! The war destroyed my future and I lost all my belongings.
Escape to Pakistan
We decided to escape from our homeland, so I paid a smuggler to take us into Pakistan. Usually the Afghan/Pakistan border is a seven-hour drive from Kabul, but it took us two and one-half days to cross the border. We traveled on foot, by mule, on river rafts and in vans over goat paths, jagged mountain ranges, through mosquito-infested swamps, and villages that were controlled by marauding bands. We put ourselves into the hands of a driver who was high on hashish.
In Pakistan we started our new lives with only a few clothes and a little food, but no home or household goods- not even official refugee status! I wondered why we had survived the war, and what the future held. God had delivered us from death, but why? If God was chastening me for my sins, why was He also punishing my innocent children? I continued to say my Muslim prayers five times a day and did what the Islamic faith required, but I had no comfort or peace with God.
My two young sons started to work to keep our family alive. They also attended a school to learn English. Most of the teachers were Christians, and one of them invited my sons to attend a Bible study. Through love, compassion, prayer, and persistence their hearts were opened, and in 1996 my son Daoud* accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as his Saviour and became a Christian.
Usually, in a Muslim family, the father is the head of the family and the children follow the father’s faith, but the Lord showed us that He is Lord over our culture and our belief. Soon after that, my youngest son Ahmud* also became a Christian.
My wife asked if she could learn more about “the Jesus way”. Some Christian ladies came to our home and prayed for her as they studied the riches of God’s Word, the Bible, together. Soon Christ filled her life with hope, and she too placed her eternal destiny in the hands of the Lord Jesus.
Christ’s Transforming Power Seen
I saw the power of Christ transforming my family every day, but I struggled with accepting the fact that salvation came through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. I thought many ways could lead to God, and that Jesus was a prophet. I told my family and friends, “You have your way and I have mine”.
Then, while reading the Bible, I was impressed with John 14:6 where Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.” I was convinced that He is more than a prophet, and is the only way to God, but I still didn’t want to convert from the Islamic faith.
Jesus is More Than a Prophet
In 1998 I attended the Easter sunrise service in Islamabad along with 400 believers. The theme of the service was “Jesus is More Than a Prophet” and during the service I struggled with the message of the living Christ. I seemed to hear a voice in my heart telling me “AIbrahim*, I have chosen you and I love you. Now go and tell others of what has happened to you.”
Throughout that day the truth of Christ’s death and resurrection flooded my mind as I wrestled with this message. During the evening service, I could no longer resist, but accepted His death as the atonement for my sin. I told my wife and friends, “I have decided to follow the Jesus way: I have given Him my heart and my life.” With tears of joy we thanked God for His love, mercy and grace. I am saved by the grace of God. He is alive today and forever.
I don’t have the luxurious life that I could have had in Afghanistan, but I have peace and hope in my heart placed there by God through Jesus Christ. I am thankful that He chose a sinner like me from a country like Afghanistan.
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*All names and faces have been changed to protect their identity. This story is reprinted with permission from VIA Magazine.