Tuesday, December 16, 2014
"The Rose of Marivan."
"There is a rose that was silenced, that was crushed...
But it will grow again..the sun will shine again..."
(The Rose of Nowruz)
There is a tiny city with a population of 92,000, tucked in between the rocky mountains, at the border of Iran/Iraq in the Kurdistan province.
The name of the city is Marivan.
Marivan is home to the Kurdish people, a nomadic Iranian ethnic people without a recognized homeland, scattered across the regions of Iraq, Syria and Turkey.
The Kurdish people have suffered a very difficult life, persecuted and murdered under the bloody dictatorship of Saddam Hussein, but valiant and courageous in fighting against the barbaric terrorists of ISIS.
After the Iranian Revolution of 1979, the Kurdish people were discriminated against by the New Regime, largely because they were Sunni Muslims, who desired an independent existence apart from the dictatorship of Khomeini.
"Pastor Randy..teach me the Bible...
A few months ago, I received a unique friend request on Facebook from Maryam..(For security reasons, I have changed her real name)
Maryam had a very strange request. She asked if I would be her friend and help introduce her to an Iranian Christian man. When I asked Maryam why, she explained that she was a Christian and her parents were pressuring her to get married soon, to a Muslim man of their choice. She had concealed her new found faith from her parents and desired to be faithful to God by marrying a Christian man.
Maryam's request startled me and took me by surprise. I thought to myself, "wow what can I possibly do to help her?"
However, what really impacted me was how Maryam addressed me..she called me
Maryam's next request touched my heart beyond words..."Pastor Randy..teach me the Bible...."
The Lord had blessed me with a young 29 year-old Kurdish girl, all the way around the world, at the border of Iran and Iraq, that desperately needed my help and my prayers.
My heart melted with joy and gratitude, especially when she called me Pastor Randy.
I have always wanted to serve the Lord, asking him to use my gifts and talents, and for as long as I can remember, the number one job I have never desired, was that of a Pastor. The responsibility and hard work of being a faithful pastor has always terrified me.. I remember pleading with God saying.."Please don't call me to be a pastor..."
But...God has a marvelous way of showing us, His plans for our lives and like Jonah..we run!!!
"Please pray for me..I want a Christian family...."
The internet is very weak and slow where Maryam lives and to add to that difficulty, her English is very poor.
However, despite her weakness, Maryam astonished me one day during our texting. Suddenly she typed the words to a song I had written in my book, "The Rose of Nowruz: dreams of hope and freedom.."
"The sun is gonna shine again..The rose is gonna live again..."
I was touched beyond words! A few weeks earlier, I had sent her my book and now my dear friend was sharing a song from it that had impacted her life. In our texting back and forth, Maryam struggled to spell English words correctly and yet, here she was perfectly texting back to me the words to a song in my book!
I was overwhelmed with joy that God had so powerfully used my book to give Maryam hope. When I asked what I could pray for her about, Maryam quickly responded by saying, "when you talk to God, please ask him to give me a Christian family.."
I am awestruck by Maryam's faithfulness to honor God by wanting to marry a Christian man. She is an a very difficult situation, hiding her Christian faith from her parents, and struggling to have hope that God will intervene in her life.
In my book, the rose is a symbol of hope. When I think of Maryam, I think about a young Kurdish girl who desires a new life of freedom and happiness where she can publicly proclaim Jesus without fear.
I intend to be faithful to God and be a "pastor" to Maryam. I will teach her God's Word and pray for her every day. Maryam truly is, "The Rose of Marivan" a light of hope in a Kurdish city at the border of Iran and Iraq!