Carlos’s testimony reminds us about God’s grace

Carlos-Photo.jpgCarlos (30) lived in the Assyrian homeland in northern Iraq, in a town called Batnaya. He and his younger brother and two married sisters belong to the ancient Chaldean Catholic Church. Because his father is disabled, Carlos and his family were unable to flee when ISIS invaded Batnaya several years ago. On August 6, 2014, they came to his house, demanding that he renounce his faith and convert to Islam or pay Jizya, a heavy tax imposed on non- Muslims. When he refused to convert, they beat him and dragged him off to be tortured. He was hanged by his feet for days and beaten so badly that one of his legs needed to be amputated. But Carlos held fast to his faith. Then they tried to force him to marry three Muslim women. But he refused. The torture continued for a month and a half. On the 46 th day, they decided to execute Carlos, but in the last minute, the leader who held him captive received a phone call from a higher authority, and the execution was cancelled. After that, Carlos remembers waking up and seeing white walls all around him. He thought he had died and was in heaven. A Catholic nun stood by his bedside and explained that a good Samaritan had found him unconscious by the side of a road, soaked in blood, and brought him to the hospital. Eventually, doctors in Europe were able to save his leg. Now he is in Jordan waiting to emigrate to another country. Carlos has no doubt that his life was spared by God, not ISIS. And his testimony should inspire all of us never to compromise our faith, never to deny our Lord. In the West, compromise and denial are extracted by temptations rather than persecution and torture. We compromise truth or morality or deny the salvation Christ purchased for us with his blood by an ungodly lifestyle—the way we treat our spouse, parents, children, neighbors, or customers. Carlos’s testimony reminds us that God’s grace is always sufficient for us, whether we face ISIS torturers or sweet seductions. In Amman, we serve hundreds of families who have fled the violence in neighboring Syria.
Carlos Family.jpgOne Muslim family includes five daughters, ranging in age from nine to twenty. They fled Aleppo sixteen years ago, fearing that the girls would be kidnapped and raped by ISIS militants. The father (45) is disabled, barely able to walk. When I met him, he was six months behind in his rent, though it is only $315 a month for a very simple house. He could not afford to send his daughters to school. I sat with them, listened to their story, and shared the truth and hope of God’s Word. I had the privilege of praying for them and helping them with food and rent. And I was blessed when our partner ministry Global Hope Network International followed up with the father. Recently, he attended a church service for the first time. We pray that he will come to know the Lord personally as we continue to minister to him and his family. Your faithful prayers and support enable us to do what God has called us to do. We are particularly grateful to friends like Pastor Kirt Dauphin at PaulAnn Baptist Church in San Angelo, Texas, who sent a 40-foot container filled with clothing and essential supplies for the refugees in Jordan. Please pray for a smooth and expedient transition through Customs in Jordan.

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