Finding Shelter

If the cold cement floor wasn’t enough to keep Dori* from sleeping, the screaming a few apartments away was. Those were not the sounds of a wife-beating. Something terrible was going on.
Poppy Beyond Barbed Wire

Dori tried to shut out the sounds. If only their first night in Jordan could have been peaceful…

Abandoned on the Road?

Fleeing Syria only days before, Dori and her two teenage children Hania and Saeeb had endured endless hours of trudging along the highway, only to be funneled into a refugee camp within their own country. There, without food, water, or toilet facilities, Dori had become desperate. She had dug her way out under the fence at midnight and tried flagging down vehicles on the highway, hoping for something to feed her children.

Only one man had offered real help—without demanding sexual favors in return. He told her his name was Osama, and freely gave her bread and water. Then he left her with the strange words, “The Lord Jesus bless you. Look to Him. He will be your shelter.”

Had Allah had heard her prayers and sent this man? Why did he speak of the prophet Jesus?

The neighbors’ screaming peaked again. It sent Dori’s thoughts reeling back to the chanting, shouting mob they had passed at a major intersection outside Damascus. The angry crowd had not quite blocked her view of two corpses hanging from ropes strung up on the utility lines. Before she could look away, Dori recognized the dead pair as people she knew. But this made no sense. The crowd celebrated their deaths as infidels. Why would such wealthy, devout Muslims have left Islam? What had they found that was worth this horrible price?

As the neighbors’ screaming died away, Dori fell asleep, her questions unanswered.

Welcome to Jordan

The next morning, Dori prepared breakfast with some of the food brought by that kind woman Samar who had stopped by yesterday. Samar had said she was one of the “Bible people,” simply coming to welcome them to Jordan. Dori shook her head as she cooked. Another strange occurrence.

In gratitude to Allah, and hoping to receive more help with needed items, Dori took her little family to the mosque after breakfast. Unfortunately, they were accused of being “thieving Syrians” and were roughly brushed aside. They turned back toward “home” empty-handed.

“Dori!” called a familiar voice ahead of them. It was Samar, just as friendly as she had been the previous day. “I am on my way to the church,” she said. “Would you like to come with me? They have clothes you may be able to use.” Dori could hardly believe that Muslims would be welcome in a church, but Samar assured her that anyone was welcome. Her family could take what they needed and go whenever they liked.

Fed and supplied with clothes, Dori’s family stayed several hours, enjoying the camaraderie with these Bible people. Dori and Hania even shared a secret with Samar: both mother and daughter had experienced the same dream last night. In it, a man in a white robe told them that they were safe now; he would take care of them. He also said he loved them. And his name was Jesus.

Stay Away From the Bible People or Die

When at last the family returned to their apartment, two ambulances had just pulled up a few doors down. Two sheet-covered bodies were carried out, while neighbors looked on. One of the onlookers explained to Dori that the local imam had come to beat some sense into the couple because they had converted. He finally decided they were insane. No one in their right mind would become a Christian, of course. A note had been found beside the bodies: “Stay away from the Bible people or die.”

But Dori couldn’t stay away from Samar and her friends. She had so many questions about the hatred she witnessed and the dreams she kept having about Jesus. Then there were the beautiful things she read in the Bible Samar gave her:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;
he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives
and the opening of prison to those who are bound;
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

-Isaiah 61:1-2a

Ultimately, she came to Samar one night, saying, “I’m ready. I love Jesus and want to follow him.”

Samar responded, “Dori, this could cost you your life.”

Dori nodded. How well she knew this. She told Samar of her once-devout Muslim friends whose bodies she had seen along the highway. “I knew they had to have discovered something incredible. Now, Samar, I at least know that if I die, I have found the truth—and forgiveness for all that I’ve done. Jesus is the way!”

*There is much more to Dori’s amazing true story. I encourage you to read the entire account exactly where I found it: in Tom Doyle’s book, Killing Christians: Living the Faith Where It’s Not Safe to Believe. It’s available through Amazon, Christian Book Distributors, and other familiar book sellers.

———–

To whom do you find yourself relating in this story? Why?

If refugees came to your town or city, how welcome would they feel with you?

What would make you adopt a belief system that could cost you your life?

Add your thoughts to the discussion below.

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