I was born into a conservative Muslim family in Iraq. Whilst in The Middle school, I was always disturbed when I heard my teacher explaining how Islam spread by wars and battles lead by Mohamed or his successors.
Even in the Muslim prayers there is no appeal for God to change their manners and behavior but rather their surrounding circumstances. So whilst my teacher was talking about the Islamic heroism of their wars and battles, I viewed them as war crimes that encourage hatred, malice, killing and stealing.
As time passed, I finished my middle school and was forced to join the army.
At the army I became an armored tank driver. When the war between Iraq and Iran irrupted in the early 1980s, I refused to participate in the war. I chose the path of peace and love over the road of killing and destruction. I realized that my choice would result in dangerous consequences; it meant prison time, torture and probably death.
I decided to escape from the army. When I asked my fellow soldiers If any of them were willing to come with me, they refused and I had to escape alone amidst heavy bombardment and dangerous land mines until I miraculously arrived at my House in the city of EL MOUSEL
When I arrived home, I was shocked that my family refused to accept, or even allow me to stay in the house, but rather they tried to force me to go back to the front line to continue the war. So I decided to escape the country to go to Syria.
Unfortunately I was caught trying to cross the border to Syria when two nomad informers for the Iraqi army arrested me. They handed me over to the Iraqi army at city of “Rabbia” where I was tortured severely and left blindfolded waiting to be executed.
Instead they decided to send me to the Iraqi Central Intelligent service in Baghdad to await being court marshaled for capital treason (escaping the military service in time of war is capital treason and in punishable by death).
I spent 16 months in a human army prison waiting for a trial, until I finally went to court and was confronted by the two nomad capture’s who acted as the prosecution’s main witnesses. At this difficult time I prayed for God to deliver me from this dangerous situation. Mysteriously enough, the court set me free for lack of evidence because one of the two witnesses was deaf and blind and so not able to testify legally before the court. At this very moment I felt the deep love of God, who delivered me and I felt more confident about him.
Later I was forced to go back to participate in the ongoing war and I found myself driving a tank one more time. I decided to escape again regardless of my past escape experience. This time I fled to the Iraqi City of Kordestan towards the Iranian boarder.
For 400 miles I walked through minefields and climbed mountains until I arrived at the boarder. There I was detained in a refugee camp that looked more like a prison, where we were forced to practice the teachings of Islam.
So I decided to run again, this time to Pakistan, for three days and three nights I had to walk with no food or water till I almost died.
I was homeless in Pakistan for a year until I decided to cross over to India despite all the danger at the boarder because of the tension between India and Pakistan. Once again God delivered me miraculously. During all that time I felt that God was always by my side protecting me from all the danger not knowing what good he was preparing for me.
God started dealing with me directly when I arrived at Katmandu the capital of Nepal, south of China. There I got sick and had to go to the hospital where I met a Christian nurse that worked in the hospital’s “Christian Committee”.
She introduced me to a community of missionaries from all over the world. They were living in the same place called Della M House.
Those people came to this remote area for the sole purpose of serving Christ. They went to prisons, hospitals and poor areas to preach The Gospel of Jesus. I was invited to go to their house and I didn’t hesitate to do so. When I went there I saw simple people full of love, benevolence and the desire to help the poor in the name of Jesus who gave himself for all the humanity.
I stayed in their house for thirty days receiving the best medical treatment by every one there. That time was the best time of my life; I learnt about Jesus the loving God who had always protected me all my life. Every morning we would gather around the breakfast table, to sing praises, and to study The Bible as if the Lord Jesus himself was with us. Later in the day each missionary would go to his or her ministry.
There I learned more about Jesus, and about praying for other people, as well as praying before eating and The ‘Our Father’ prayer too. They told me about the atoning death of Jesus. I felt so loved by those people because I was persecuted and looking for peace.
Although they asked me repeatedly to stay with them, I made a bad choice, and decided to leave them to run after that phantom dream called freedom.
So I left them and went to Thailand, and not so long after it I found myself lingering amongst cities and ports exhausted. Until I felt so helpless that I decided to go back home where killings were widespread.
When I went back I didn’t care what would happen to me because I trusted in Jesus’ love for me no matter what. As soon as I arrived I was arrested and interrogated by the Iraqi intelligence service where they imprisoned and tortured me. Later on I was sent to court falsely accused, and they hoped to convict and executed me
I went to court full of faith in the Lord’s love and care for me. The court ruled that I would be imprisoned for 20 years instead of executing me. I was overwhelmed with joy that they were not going to execute me. They sent me to the central prison as a political prisoner. I spent one year there until the Iraqi government was forced to set all the political prisoners free (eight Iraqi officials were taken as hostages by the Kurdish rebels and they were exchanged for all the Iraqi political prisoners).
As soon as they released me, I decided to go back to that missionary house in Katmandu, where I first encountered the love of Christ. But whilst I was planning my departure, the Iraqi army invaded Kuwait and I was forced again to join the army. One more time I escaped from the front line to the Saudi boarder towards the American troops stationed there. But the Saudi army arrested me instead and I was once again imprisoned for 18 months in a desert cage not even fit for wild animal.
The Lord strengthened me and I endured this tough time until I was released. I managed to escape to the United States where I met my fellow
Evangelical Christians who helped to live and walk with Jesus. I am will always be thankful to the Lord that he never forgot me but instead he led me from the darkness and into the light of the Gospel.
Glory to God forever and ever, Amen.
Translated by John