Today, we share a testimony from Forum Wiedenest, a Christian charity which aims to carry God’s love into the world and support Christian communities. This story tells of a Muslim refugee in Germany, who worked as an imam, but who found Christ!
Achmed* is now a fruitful disciple-maker in Germany. His story is a miracle.
Originally, he was sent out as an imam from an Asian country to start new mosques in Europe. He worked in a European capital and was successful over the years in planting two mosques. But he became more and more dissatisfied with his own religion. He experienced Christians totally differently than he was told about at home.
As he was searching for truth and talked with a lot of people, the biggest change happened in his life when he had two dreams about Jesus. These were so powerful that he went to church, got a Bible and became a follower of Christ.
Back in his country of origin his family became very upset about his change of religion, as his father is a well-known mullah. His relatives hired a murderer who tried to kill him three times. But Achmed survived all attempts and later fled as a refugee to Germany. Even here radical Muslims tried to kill him in a refugee home when he shared the gospel. He recovered after two weeks of intensive care in hospital and was welcomed by a German church to be their guest.
For three years he worked in a restaurant to earn a living and faithfully went to church services like other Christians do. But then the Lord spoke to him again: ‘Achmed, what is your real calling? Have I called you just to fill a seat in a church on Sunday mornings? What are you doing with your talents?’ He remembered the times when he was planting mosques. And then he felt the calling of the Lord to become a church planter.
But there was a challenge: refugees move around the country even after receiving asylum. Many churches were lamenting: ‘We invested so much time in reaching out to refugees, they even were baptised and came to church, but now they are gone. And we as a church don’t see the fruit of our work.’
But then the Lord spoke to him again: ‘Achmed, what is your real calling?’
Achmed got an idea: if refugees don’t come to church, the church needs to come to them. He started a project called ‘the moving church’.* His perspective is that any refugee as a new follower of Christ, when he moves to another city, can become a bridgehead at that place for a new church plant.
He also faced the challenge that quite a number of refugees are repatriated to their countries of origin, like Afghanistan or Iran. When they have experienced the common way of church life in Germany, they will think that if a church needs a building and a congregation of 50 to 100 people, then they can’t have churches in their country. But if they experience the life of a small ‘micro-church’, of 4 to 12 people, which is simple and very easy to multiple, they can start churches by themselves if they have seen this model working.
Achmed has planted 35 ‘micro-churches’ in the last three years in Germany, mostly in refugee homes, and he is very well connected with other Christians in Germany.
It’s a miracle!
*names changed to protect identities
- for churches in Europe to seize opportunities to care for and witness to refugees
- that unprecedented levels of migration, due to wars, persecution and poverty, have led to new opportunities within Europe to share the gospel with people from around the world
- for refugees and asylum-seekers who go back to their country of origin as new believers, that they would know God’s strength as they go back, often to suffering and persecution.