Breakfast was shared with a Kurdish believer. Kurdistan no longer a country but a region across significant areas of the Middle East since the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923 and the British Mandate.
Since then, the Kurdish have fought their ruthless oppressors fearlessly, determined to gain their lost sovereignty once more. Thirty years ago, there was not one Christian among them, but recently, thousands have entered the Kingdom.
The brother at our table was a ‘Peshmerga.’ The Peshmerga are the military forces of the autonomous region of Kurdistan in Iraq, where Iraqi forces have no access. Many months he fought against ISIS in Kirkuk. He fleed for his life since he is at risk of being hunted down by the Islamic State of Iran for being communist.
He arrived on a Greek island where ‘Peshmerga,’ atheist, communist, and the scars of torture on his body, help him attain asylum and a Greek passport. His need for food brought him to one of our centres, where he spent hours and much energy arguing the ‘Illusion of God’ with several dear brothers that befriended him. The discussions led nowhere.
Not long after, he was spotted by the Islamic Iranian intelligence and ended up stretched on a hospital bed, sunk in a coma that lasted several days. While in a coma, when the resistances of mind and heart are subdued, this fighter born seemingly with a Kalashnikov in his hand, met the Lord Himself! “Get up,” He said, “And forgive!”
So, he got up, he forgave and allowed the Lord to find Him.
“My mother to who lost me for seven years to warfare fighting against the ISIS was disturbed. She preferred a communist, atheist guerilla to a Christian son. Most of my friends wondered, why on earth would I want to become Christian when asylum and a Greek passport was already granted. But I SAW HIM! Now, I dream of the day that I can go back to Kurdistan and make known this God that is real, that has a mouth and speaks and has ear and hears, and has a Father’s heart”.
At present, this dear brother, sometimes homeless and other times with his belly empty, waits for the Lord to unfold why He brought him to the West and appeared to him. This is just the beginning of a divine destiny. Peshmerga means those who are able to stand before death and face death! Pray for this precious trophy, that he will become one of those that are able to stand in the same fearless way with the Warrior who has apprehended him.
In the last few months, the refugee situation here in Greece has entered a new season. In the past two years, the UNHCR paid for the rent and food supplies for refugees that came to Greece seeking asylum. They are withdrawing their financial support and provision claiming two reasons; their inability to sustain an ever-increasing number and that in retrospect, the program is not helping refugees integrate socially or get jobs and the local communities.
The program phase-out began in March, and rents and food cards ceased by the end of summer for those who entered the country in 2016. Thousands of people might be in the streets this winter, at point zero once again, without food and shelter. The estimated number of registered refugees currently is over 100 000, with a steady stream of 600 arrivals daily, not including those unregistered.
Panic was the first visitor that followed the UN announcement. What can we do? Then the next question surfaced-did God bring all those people in Europe depending on UN money?
And our attention was drawn to Matt. 14, Mark 6 Luke. 9 when,
…There were many people coming and going, and the disciples did not even have time to eat…
…and He saw a great multitude and had compassion for them because they were like sheep without a shepherd…
…and the day began to decline, and the twelve came and said to Him,
‘Send them away, to the surrounding villages and countryside to find lodgings and something to eat, for here we are in a desolate place’.
…But Jesus said to them, ‘They do not need to go away; YOU give them something to eat’.
… ‘We have here only five loaves and two fish’. …
… ‘Bring them to Me’. …
And, ’Have them recline to eat in groups of about fifty each’.
…And they did so and had them all recline. …
And He took the loaves and the fish and looking up to heaven, He blessed them, and kept giving them to the disciples to set before the multitude…’
God put the key to the situation in their hands! Provision was, as always is, only from Him, but the response of faith that appropriates the provision must always come from us. It takes faith to sit down, at the evening of an utterly exhausting day, in a ‘desolate’ place, 5000 hungry and tired men and as many women and children, in groups of fifty, when you know you have nothing to feed them with, obeying just the bidding of the Master and looking continually at His face! It took faith to start giving out the provision that came steadily from the Master’s hands, for He did not produce it all that food at once, in a big pile!
Faith is a stranger to common sense, and common sense is not faith. As the Lord is allowing the UN provision to be withdrawn, we believe that He has provision for this new situation that is developing, and He is calling us to enter it by faith.
Facing winter’s threat, we now find ourselves plunged into similarly impossible circumstances, bewildered as to how thousands can not only be fed but also housed; it is a ‘desolate’ situation, at the ‘end of a day’ that has been exhausting for them and us, but we feel that His bidding is, ‘Don’t be just resigned to do what you can; bring what you have to Me and do what you can but by faith, looking continually at My face, not measuring the circumstances.’
We might be on the threshold of a winter of great discontent, but we are convinced that we are also on the threshold of an exciting new season. Join us in prayer, that we will be those who can rise by faith to respond to Gods bidding, taking from His hands His continual provision, and never losing sight of His eyes.We are now in need of the faith that defies common sense and connects us with Him that does the impossible. May we all know the vast portions of His secret manna.