Refugee refuses to pause for pandemic 

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Despite a number of setbacks, Christian refugees continue to share the gospel.COVID-19 has not deterred Navid’s* bold gospel witness. Despite restrictions, he shares his faith and frequently stays up until two and three in the morning, sharing the gospel via social media messaging applications with people in his home country. Though distance and political turmoil separate Navid from his family who still live in his home country, he maintains a strong witness there. During his father’s funeral, Navid shared the gospel over speakerphone while talking with his mother, despite not being there in person.    

“He shared the gospel with the entire village through the phone and the loudspeaker,” IMB missionary Darlene King* said.     

Navid is one of the leaders in the leadership development program Darlene and her husband, William*, lead. The Kings serve among refugee communities in Europe and work closely with leaders like Navid to train and equip them to lead groups.    

During the pandemic, Navid found creative ways to teach the gospel and disciple new Christians. He frequently visits public places to share the good news with other refugees who’ve made their way to Europe.    

When pandemic restrictions lifted, Navid and the Kings held baptisms for new believers. During the summer months, baptisms take place in the ocean. In the winter months, William explained they perform baptisms in large green buckets farmers once used to soak olives.  

“Navid was a strong believer and leader, but something in him just blossomed during COVID,” Darlene continued.   

A divine encounter   

Music from Navid’s home country drew him to a man named Parviz* during one of his visits to a public venue.   

Navid struck up a conversation with Parviz and learned his refugee journey had already lasted 15 to 18 months. He left behind a wife and children in his home country.   

On his journey to Europe, Parviz spent time in a Central Asian country. A Muslim friend he met there told him, “The things that I hope to find along this route, along this trip, are love, wisdom and help to fight, struggle in a better way.”   

“Navid began sharing with him about how the brokenness that we have in our lives is not the way God intended our lives to be, and that God has made a way,” William said.    

From what William understands, Parviz and his wife did not part on good terms.   

Navid asked Parviz, “If your wife called you and said that she wanted to make things right, where would you place the thanks? Would you thank God for giving you another opportunity with your family?”    

William said the question led to a discussion about God’s wisdom and how He is the source of knowledge.     

Parviz told Navid, “I feel that God is close because I feel at this moment that my burden is less.”   

“The conversation really just bridged for him to the fact that our knowledge, our wisdom and those things that come from God are from a kingdom perspective,” William said.   

 Navid continues to share the gospel with Parviz.   

The Kings continue to train and equip leaders among the refugee community. You can support their work by giving toward a fund for refugee discipleship and education.  

Read more about the King’s ministry among refugees here.

Caroline Anderson writes for the IMB from Southeast Asia.

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