From Sheikh’s son to a child of God – Anwar found Jesus at the last moment

25-year-old Anwar from Syria was born into an Alavit family. When Anwar became a Christian, his mother was shocked and the rest of the family immediately packed Anwar’s things.

Anwar grew up in a Syrian suburb within a community of about 700 Alavites. The Alavites are an Islamic religious group where men are gradually dedicated to the secrets of the religion as adults and where the local leader is called a sheikh. He was responsible for various activities and solving problems related to religion.

Anwar was the son of such a sheikh. His family had six members: parents, two daughters and two sons. Anwar says he was a lonely child who spent a lot of time in his phone. But he was also very religious. He prayed with his father and imitated his movements during the prayer.

Search without answers

At the age of 15, Anwar began asking his father questions about religion: who is allah, whether allah loves him and what he should do to make allah happy.

However, the father did not answer his questions, but said that he would find out later when he became an adult.

There are many secrets associated with the Alavitian religion, which are told only to men and little by little at a certain age. Disappointed, Anwar began watching programs about different religions.

Anwar still considered Christians heretics. He was forbidden to communicate with Christians and was warned about their conversion skills.

But when he went to college, Anwar met a Christian girl who told him about how Jesus died and rose from the dead to save humanity from sin. Anwar mocked the girl and her faith. He didn’t believe a word of what the girl was saying.

“You lose nothing when you talk to Jesus”

When the war in Syria raged, Anwar experienced various difficulties. The parents managed to postpone his brother’s enlistment in the army, and Anwar regained his own student status. However, it was in danger because he was not successful in his studies and lost his place of study.

Anwar felt both physically and mentally ill. He was depressed and lonely, living alone in a family-owned city appartment. The Christian girl’s remarks about Jesus added pressure to his life. Anwar began to believe that allah hated him, so he began to hate allah.

Suicide began to seem like an attractive opportunity to him.

“My friend said, ‘If you plan to end your life, you won’t lose anything by trying to talk to Jesus first and listen to what He says to you.’ A friend also suggested praying. I went to my room and thought it would be crazy to talk to myself. At first, nothing changed, but gradually I became fascinated with Jesus,” recalls Anwar.

Anwar began watching Christian videos and listening to sermons and hymns. He was so excited that he completely forgot about his suicidal thoughts. “One day as I spoke to Jesus, I began to cry and poured out my whole heart before Him. Suddenly I realized that I was no longer alone, I have a friend – Jesus! ”

The family found out

Anwar began to read the Gospel of John and felt that God was speaking to him through the Bible as well as through sermons and hymns.

“I fell in love with Jesus. I didn’t tell my family about my things, I shared everything with Jesus.” At the same time, he knew that if he were a public Christian, he would have to leave his family apartment. Anwar was frightened to hear stories of the beating, murder and imprisonment of Christians.

When a friend took him to church for the first time, he could not focus on sermons or songs. He was afraid that someone would see him and the news of it reached his family. This is because the news of the sheikh’ s son who goes to church would spread like a wildfire.

Anwar heard that his mother had suffered a concussion. He tried to call his siblings, but they did not answer the phone. But after a few hours, his sister called angrily and said, crying, “Never come home! Mom’s in the hospital for you. You’re not my brother anymore. Wasn’t your own faith enough for you? You have no sense of honor. ” With these words, the sister finished the phone call.

As the family learned of Anwar’s faith, a friend invited him to a Christian conference. He had to choose between going to his family and trying to improve relationship with them, or to a meeting of Christians. He decided to go to the conference.

Anwar says these were the two best days of his life so far. He felt a strong presence of God and forgot everything else so that he was happy to return from the conference. However, he found his things packed in his apartment. His brother called him and told him to leave. Suddenly he had nowhere to go.

A new beginning required trust

Anwar contacted a friend, who in turn was in contact with the church, which collaborated with Open Doors. Anwar found an apartment through it. He was indeed alone, but he also had the opportunity to put into practice what he learned at the conference on trusting God.

Anwar had some money, but he needed more work. A friend working at the Hope Center talked about Anwar’s situation at work. Thus, he was hired at the center to teach English to high school students.

“I say that children need not only a teacher, but someone who has a personal relationship with God and who influences them positively.” He likes to talk to children about Jesus.

Anwar is grateful to the Center for Hope, where he has found a new family after his own family abandoned him. There are people around him to chat with, laugh with and spend time with. Anwar continues to pray for his childhood family and former friends that they too will find the purpose of freedom and life in Jesus.

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