Andy’s first journey took him through 300 miles of desert. The first Gulf War was going on, and Andy escaped Iraq by traveling on foot to Saudi where he became a refugee, eventually coming to America and settling in Dallas. Then in February of 2015, Andy moved to Michigan. Three months after meeting with missionary Karim, Andy knew who Jesus was and what He had done. The pieces of the puzzle were coming together. He was reading the Bible and began to attend a local LCMS Church.
“I want to be a Christian forever, and I want to tell everyone my story,” Andy says. “I feel like some fresh air has come over my body, over my heart. I was in darkness, but now I’m in the light. I feel like I have a new life now.”
Andy is not timid about his faith in Christ or about his baptism. To the contrary, he is quite brave. He says, “I already put my picture taken at the church on facebook—I don’t care what people think.” Andy is talking to everyone about Jesus, his neighbors, the homeless, and as many people as he can. And he is telling people about Christ, whether in English, Arabic, or Spanish, which he picked up in Texas.
While Andy’s first journey to life and freedom was a journey through the desert, his second journey was through the journey of his own sin, and the darkness he felt not having a relationships with God. In Iraq, he says, he saw “a lot of Muslim people who do not really believe in God.” “But,” he says, “Christians really do believe in God.” Andy met some of those Christians in Dallas, including a friend who went to church 3 days a week, and often talked with him about Christ. So, when Andy arrived in Michigan, he told himself it was time to change and to have a new start. So Andy connected to the Lutheran Church and the pastor. Andy confessed to the pastor, “I wanted a new life with God. That’s why I came to your church. I wanted my life to be in Jesus’ hands. And I love Jesus for what He did for me. And the church—this is Jesus’ house. Jesus is my family, and my brother. And all Christians are my brothers and sisters.”
Andy has his 15 year old daughter he’s hoping will join him in Michigan soon. He wants to introduce her to Jesus. He’s told her about his faith in Christ. She was surprised, but told him that she herself had been wanting to go to church. Andy feels that he truly is living a new life in Jesus Christ. When you meet him, regardless of how his day is going, he always says, “Jesus is good all the time.” When asked what it means to be a Christian, Andy responded, “Being Christian means peace. “Jesus died for you and me and everyone. And one day we will be with Him.”