A local worker in God’s harvest
03 OCT, 2016 | NEAR EAST
Before the Daesh (ISIS) offensive to annihilate the Yazidis in 2014, the people group remained largely unknown and “unreached,” according to long-term worker Karen*, “except for a few who had contact to Christians.” Fahid* was one of the few.
A decade ago, he worked with a believer who prayed every time they entered a city known to be dangerous. “Lord, you are able to protect us. You know all the people. Please guide us,” his friend asked.
Fahid thought his friend’s beliefs about Jesus were blasphemous, but he enjoyed listening to him pray. “I was really impressed that he prayed for me, and he prayed for the people… His prayer touched my heart,” he shared.
Later, Fahid’s friend gave him the Injil, the New Testament, and Fahid began to read about Jesus.
One night, as Fahid struggled with depression, he fell asleep and had a dream. He recalled a man dressed in bright white inviting him to “Come” and join other people working in a field. At first Fahid felt afraid. “This was so strange, you know?” he commented. “But when I saw the joy of the people who were working there, I felt more peace.” Fahid remembered taking a bag of seed and joining the other workers, who were rejoicing and singing. “Why are you so happy?” he asked them. “Because the Lord is blessing us,” they replied.
In the following days, Fahid wondered who was the man dressed in white in his dream. Fahid first asked his mother, then asked the sheikh (a religious leader), and finally asked an old Christian friend. “This is the one that is written about… in the Bible. He is the Lord Jesus Christ,” Fahid’s friend explained.
From that point on, Fahid believed in Jesus and began growing in his faith. He shared what he learned with his friends and formed a small group of men who regularly prayed together for their city. Often, Karen’s husband, Seth*, joined Fahid and his friends for early morning prayer. Sometimes, when Seth was out of town, Fahid called Karen as the men were praying and asked her to pray for them. “He would put his phone on the ground, and I would pray, then all the guys would come to the phone, and [I] would have to say hi to everyone,” Karen described.
As time passed, Fahid became a leader in his community. People listened to him preach, and he baptized those who also wanted to follow Jesus.
However, after one baptism, pictures of Fahid appeared online. The captions accused Fahid of changing the Yazidis’ religion, making them Christians. Persecution followed. Fahid was beat up, enemies fired shots at his house and burned the van he used for ministry.
In the midst of these struggles, Fahid cried out to God, “Lord, why did this happen to me? I really love you, Lord, and I’m totally with you. Why do you allow this to happen to me?”
Then Jesus spoke to him: “Don’t be afraid. Don’t be terrified. I am with you.”
Fahid persisted in telling other Yazidis about Jesus, despite opposition. Ahead of the ISIS invasion, Fahid moved again. In his new area, he still has access to many of his people, displaced from the war. “At first, he wanted to leave [the country] like everyone,” Karen stated. “But God reminded him to stand firm and he got involved ministering to people,” telling them about his own life and encouraging them to follow Jesus.
“Even in this new time of persecution, God has been speaking to me, ‘Don’t be afraid. I am with you,’” Fahid said. “The new believers, when they get shaken up and are afraid because of the persecution, I will tell them my story and how God has been speaking to me and what He has been doing in my life. Up to now, I am a worker in God’s harvest field, and I want to be His servant.”
Pray that the believers in Fahid’s community would become firm in their faith in the Bible, learning how to lead so when they return to their villages, they can reach more of their people with the Good News of Jesus Christ. Pray that God would protect and encourage Fahid as he boldly shares with others.
Nicole James is a journalist, ESL teacher, and adventurer. As a writer for OM Middle East North Africa, she’s passionate about publishing the stories of God’s works among the nations, telling people about the wonderful things He is doing in the world.