World Compassion Terry Law Ministries d/b/a World Compassion and its affiliates are not a part of nor associated with Compassion International. Your gift will be used for these projects and many other outreaches of World Compassion Terry Law Ministries.
Read More of Saman’s Story from Jason Law
Saman has faced the pain of persecution like few have. A former Muslim who became a Christian pastor, Saman has had a difficult road in his Christian life and ministry.
Saman and his wife both left Muslim families to follow Jesus. His wife’s parents were extremely committed Muslims and leaders in their local mosque. For years after they got married, Saman’s in-laws would threaten, manipulate and even bribe their daughter to leave Saman and come back to their Muslim beliefs.
One day, Saman came home to find his wife and children had left. After years of tension with her family, his wife had succumbed to the pressure of her family and left him – taking their two children with her and cutting off communication.
Can you imagine losing your spouse and kids simply because of your faith in Christ? I can’t imagine the pain of my wife leaving me for my faith or handle the thought of not being able to see my children, even though I know they are alive, well and close by.
On one of my recent trips I asked him if he has had a chance to see his children. With a smile on his face he pulled out his phone and showed me a picture of his son taken just days before I was there. He told me this was the first time he had seen his son in five years.
He happened to see him playing at a park. As he approached him, his son began staring at him with a blank face. Once Saman reached him, he asked his boy if he knew who he was. His son answered, “Papa?”
Tears filled his eyes and a smile hit his face but only for a brief second. Saman is not allowed to visit his children and had to be careful not to be seen. Despite the situation Saman expressed gratitude to be able to see his son, even if only for a few minutes. Having a seven-year-old son myself, I can not imagine this feeling.
Not being allowed to see his children has completely isolated him from this “past life”, yet he still carries the pain. He survives today because of the strength of his relationship with God and his personal experience of God’s love through this painful season of life.
This experience broke Saman emotionally. I’m thankful God is in the business of using people who are broken, hurt and seemingly disqualified to do great exploits.
After years of fighting for his marriage with no success, Saman felt he must move on. God has now blessed him with the opportunity to remarry an amazing young lady who is the sister of another pastor in the region.
Through this time of mourning and healing, Pastor Saman has remained faithful to reach Muslims for Jesus and plant churches. Today, Pastor Saman is more energized than ever. He is a true soul-winner and one of the best in Christian apologetics in the area with a natural relatability to people.
On our recent trip in Iraq he even started a relationship with the gentlemen checking us into our hotel, ending the conversation by getting the man’s contact information because pastor Saman had “a gift to share with him.” This is often his line to begin telling people about Jesus and leaving them with a Bible.
We have known Pastor Saman for 13 years now and are partnering with him to plant a church in the city of Sulaymaniyah. With roughly 1.5 million people living in the city, there are only five churches and roughly 250 Christians.
We were just with Saman at the first official gathering of this new church in March of this year. Our team was able to see the facility we are helping to provide and speak to 20 people from his church who attended a special service while we were there.
During my message I referenced the story of David and Goliath only to find out that no one had ever heard the story. In that moment I was reminded of the incredible opportunity it was to be a part of reaching Muslims who really don’t know who Jesus is or understand much about the Bible.
Although it may seem like hard soil with the odds stacked against us, we know people in northern Iraq and throughout the Middle East remain ready to experience the love of a true God – a Father.
For example, 13 of the people who attended this special service decided to be baptized that day! We rented a private pool at a local club for an hour. What was amazing is that three people from Iran drove 18 hours to participate in this service and baptism!
They further confirmed that Muslim people in the Middle East are searching for Truth. One of them shared, “You would be shocked by the number of former Muslims who are Christians if they were only bold enough to open up.”
The commitment of Pastor Saman is incredible. He lives three hours away from this new church plant and travels at least twice a week over a major mountain range just to minister to the people. I can attest to how difficult the drive is.
Just as the spiritual work in nations hostile to the message of Jesus is difficult, so is the terrain and the natural challenges the church faces. It takes determination to stay the course.
Partnering to plant churches is how we can reach a nation. It’s from the foundation of a local church that other ministries can flow and be sustained. Outreach ministries, evangelism and discipleship all can be sustained by church planting. It’s why World Compassion helps plant local churches in countries like Iraq, Myanmar and Cuba.
Will you join World Compassion in planting churches in nations hostile to the Gospel?