As theological debates on sexuality and marriage become more and more central, many Christian denominations are being asked to clarify their views.
“Nobody is your friend, nobody can feel what you feel and what you have left behind you… you need ears that listen to you.” M. tells her story as a refugee.
“I did not want another religion, what could Christianity give me that Islam hadn’t?”, explains M., a refugee from Iran now living in Belgium.
After some time, she found a purpose for the suffering she had gone through. “I got permission to live as a refugee in Belgium”. An even more important event in her story, she tells us, was to get in touch with a church and learn about Jesus.
M. is now starting a new life in Europe and hopes to find a job as a graphic designer.
M. explained her story to Evangelical Focus.
Question. How did your journey as a refugee affect you?
A. Through all the difficulties as a refugee and facing all the insufferable problems, sadness and depression, I grew spiritually. The situation as a refugee made me strong for God's plans starting in me now.
Q. What role has the God of the Bible played in your life?
A. I was not a believer, I didn't even know anything about Jesus. I was not a Muslim anymore, neither. It was God who started to plant faith and truth in me in those difficult moments. He brought me all the way from Iran to Belgium to know Him, to trust In Him, to walk with Him, to be a part in His plan for my life, for his propose, for His glory.
He brought me all the way up to cleanse me from all my sins and sorrows and all the things that happened to me in the past. He dressed me with white and fed me like a new born baby, with living water.
What I experienced with Jesus and has happened to me is bigger than words I could ever explain.
Q. What are the specific struggles women refugees face in their journey?
A. Coming to a very new place where you never have been before… Everything seems strange, even If I could speak English it was very hard to communicate and understand people, even in the group of refugees.
As a woman facing all these difficulties, you put your own country, your family, your friends, your everything behind. You feel lonely, you need someone to talk and to trust, but nobody is your friend, nobody can feel what you feel, and understand what you have left behind.
There is nobody who knows your fears, your tears, what you want for your future life. You don’t have a place to call home, and you need ears that listen to you. and a heart that cares about you.
Q. What are the dangers for women refugees, when trying to arrive to Europe?
A. Losing their children or their husbands during the way to reach Europe. If they are young girls, they need to be careful and aware of things or persons who can be harmful for them.
To trust someone or not is a challenge. And we face other problems like having a place to live or financial needs.
Q. How should Europeans care about people like you who arrive to our societies?
A. I don't know exactly. I think it is important to accept them in your community and try to understand them, be a friend to them.
They need an open arm to feel like home. It's good to know about their culture and to accept that they had to leave their homeland.
Q. Finally, what can churches do to help women refugees better?
They can organise activities for groups of women, spend time to know more about their story, their problems. And show Jesus’ love to them.
The “Refugees in Europe” series of articles is the fruit of a cooperation between Evangelical Focus, the Refugee Highway Partnership in Europe and the EEA Hope for Europe – Refugees group.