Growing up in a restrictive West Asian country, Reza* never embraced the majority religion of his country. Instead, he identified as an atheist. As a college student, he vocally shared his opinions at his university. One day, his secular viewpoints caught the attention of police and they secretly dragged him to prison.
His parents searched for him for three months. Finally, Reza was released from prison and fled to Central Europe as a refugee. Settling in Germany, he found a job at a restaurant, where he met fellow refugees. One was bold in sharing his faith in Jesus with Reza nearly every day.
About two years after arriving in Europe, Reza faced trouble with his visa and went to a refugee camp, where he felt lonely and discouraged. One night he escaped the crowded camp by taking a train ride to another town. There, he saw a sign advertising a church for people from his home country.
Reza still didn’t believe in God, but he stepped inside the building out of curiosity.
In the corner, he saw a familiar face — the man from the restaurant. “Hallelujah, God brought Reza to us!” the man said. “We were praying for you.”
That evening, Reza’s heart softened, and he began to follow Christ. “I was seeing how God was restoring things,” he says. “My life was not normal, but my soul was so free. The fear that I had before did not exist anymore.”
Around this time, Reza met a Wycliffe staff member working with refugees who speak Elegant* — a language spoken by almost four million people from Reza’s home country. Reza was invited to be part of the translation team and he agreed to help with the project. As of 2016, he was the project manager.
For Reza, dedicating his life to translation has been worth the sacrifices. “It is my vision that people from my area will know God. The Bible says that nothing can separate us from his love. It’s true — problems and wars don’t matter — nothing can separate us.”
Reza’s story is a powerful example of how God works through his Word to change lives in every corner of the world.
Supporting Bible translation in West Asia will allow people like Reza to meet Christ through God’s Word in their own language. Your gift will help ensure the most critical translation projects in these sensitive and difficult regions continue to move forward.
**Story by Mary Tindale, Wycliffe.net.