Becoming Christian; Risking Life
Updated: Jul 2, 2018
PART 1 OF 4
Our family of 4 along with 10 others in training and from MRN leadership came to Athens to develop our discipleship skills prior to our launch into the mission field. We all come from different points in our lives (some already working as missionaries,some younger, some older) but all wanting to develop a life that seeks to live according to the great commission: “Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you…” Matthew 28: 19-20.
The past week we have seen significant response to our presence here. We have had shared meals and close moments with a family from Kurdistan (northern Syria / Iraq) seeking relocation to Luxembourg and an Afghani father and son seeking to be reunited with the mom and the 2 other kids in Austria. It is so heartwarming to meet these families, however you quickly realize their hearts are heavy and appreciative for any words of support and especially prayer even though most are not Christian.
One of the highlights of the trip was interviewing a gentleman from Afghanistan I’ll refer to as “Bill”. Bill of course is not his real name but one used to protect him and his family’s identity. If the information posted here were to get back to his family or the Taliban it would be shameful at the least and fatal at the most.
Bill grew up in Afghanistan under the control of the Taliban. He came to Greece over 3 years ago to escape the tyranny and threats against him. This is his story transcribed from a video interview he asked not be put on the internet but he did ask that I share his story with the sensitive details removed. During the interview I was assisted by James Thompson who asks questions during the interview.
Bill: I don’t really know where to start. I guess I’ll start at the beginning. My name is “Bill” and I am from Afghanistan. I have lived here for over 3 years in Athens (during which time he perfected his English and learned Greek).
I became Christian in Afghanistan. When I was in Afghanistan I grew up in wealthier family that had money. I had a really good life. I was going to school but even during school the Taliban would come in and make fight in school and cut off the water or electricity and we couldn’t study so school is closed and we wouldn’t have school again until they fix the problem and open again for class.
And then I decided I should go to army to be a part of my country, a small part of my country. Then I went to army and when I was with army I was attached to a unit with (Foreign country not disclosed) army unit helping to fight Taliban. They teach us how we go war or how we medic, you know if someone is bleeding how we should put tourniquet to stop the blood.
James: So you were in the Afghanistan army but this foreign unit is training you?
Bill: Yes they were our helper, our supporters.
So we was really, how can I say, really special force. Whenever something happened we had to be first here. Six months training and after six months training you have to go to war.
During the training guy in foreign army was nice man, kind man I think he was Christian. And then one day he came told me “Can I teach you English”? Even though I don’t like him, I figured since he is Christian we are pretty different, different religion. Muslim religion you should not communicate with un-Muslim who is not Muslim religion. To communicate you have to invite them to become Muslim.
James: So you can’t talk to anyone who is not Muslim, unless you are trying to convert them?
Bill: You have to invite him to Muslim. And then if not Muslim you are allowed jihad and he can kill or die because not Muslim. So you have to realize this kind of thing happen and is in Quran too.
So I really don’t like them (foreigners) because I grow up in a religious family. My family every months he pay a lot a lot of money to religious man in mosque. So I was uh… I don’t like but I say ok yeah he want to teach me I should use from the time what I have.
Then I start to learn from him English and after a few months, one month I like a lot. He was so kind man. He was always teaching us don’t kill others, don’t kill Taliban. Catch them and put them in prison. They are human. Yes they are bad but we should love our enemy. These things for me first time it was unbelievable. I cannot...If someone kill me I have to kill back. Like normal. In Muslim there is blood for blood. If someone kills member of us we have to kill them too.
But then I liked him a lot. One day I start to found out...because he was so kind. Everytime we go out he try to help students, children and he go to hospital to visit sick and ask “How are you”? “How are you doing”? “Do you have money enough for wife for food”? Everything is just so trusting. He was not allowed to talk about Christianity but his reaction is what shows “love your enemy”. The Bible shows the same thing, that we should love our enemy.
And then uh...one day I said “OK” I ask someone. I mean this foreign person is such good person. “They really believe to God”? They said “yes” they have church and they come. I asked “What kind of book they study”? They said “Bible.”
Victoria Square where many refugees congregate