Makem* was one of sixty Farsi speakers in a recent International Training Institute (ITI) in Salzburg, Austria. Our team wondered, how did this 20-something engineer from Iran become a refugee in Europe?
Makem first started to question Islam when a Christian friend asked him if the Koran was true. He studied both the Koran and the Bible, seeking to know truth and asking numerous questions of his family.
Unfortunately, Makem’s uncle worked with the Iranian secret police. As the uncle plotted to arrest and possibly kill him, his mother urged him to flee to Turkey. Later, with Turkish visas about to expire, Makem sought refugee status in Greece. However, his journey was just beginning. Makem found a place with 57 others on a ten-person raft. Each was charged $1000 for their journey to freedom.
The journey was stormy, with waves crashing over the small boat. Finally, the engine stopped. Makem cried out to God (not knowing if God was real) to save him, along with those in the boat. It was then Makem received a strange vision—unscrew a plug on the engine. As the screw backed out, he heard air rushing out. After screwing it back in, Makem pulled the cord on the motor, and it started!
Because of the vision, he and a friend both came to believe Christianity was true. God was real. Makem told his story to the immigration official in Greece, also a Christian, who granted their request for asylum. Today Makem is part of a growing movement of Christians being trained through the ITI … one whose cry was heard.