From a meaningful business partnership to now hiring staff, Imad is a testimony to how God uses the support you provide to create beacons of hope in Muslim communities. The Enduring Livelihood support he received to start his dry cleaning business has made a life-changing difference.
When our Field Ministry Team members recently visited Imad at his shop, he asked us to share this message with you:
Imad’s story is important for many reasons. For many persecuted Christians in the Muslim world who are fired from their jobs or blocked from finding employment, often their only way to earn a living is to start their own business. Because no one wants to hire a Christian in areas hostile to the Gospel, this means that most persecuted Christians have used all their savings and are existing on odd jobs, and day wages.
Through Help The Persecuted’s Enduring Livelihood program, your support allows us to invest in small businesses in communities throughout the Middle East and North Africa. When small businesses are established and owned by Christians, they often become an example of hope and new life in their community. The support Help The Persecuted brings is a guiding compass, providing a path forward for the legacy of these Christian families.
Imad and his family are one of those Christian families who have been blocked from making a life for themselves. With your prayer and support, we are helping them find a way forward.
Imad’s Questions Spark Persecution
When Imad was a child, he learned the basics of Islam but was not a religious person. He questioned some Islamic practices and people accused him of inﬁdelity as a result. Imad swore to become a devout Muslim if any religious leader could give a convincing explanation of the words of blessing bestowed on the Prophet Muhammad, which make him sound greater than God himself.
When his father could not get him a convincing answer, Imad decided to learn about his ancestral religion. He joined a group of religious zealots for a year but found that they offered nothing but lies and hypocrisy.
Imad kept reciting the ﬁrst chapter of the Quran and asking God to show him the way. During this time of searching, he had a recurring dream where he entered a church. Because of this recurring dream, he began learning about Christianity. He became friends with a believer and liked the Christian way of life, so he decided to become a Christian and declared it publicly, although he knew very little about what it meant to put your faith in Christ.
Imad Vows to Never Revert
Early in his marriage, Imad and his wife lost two children in infancy. He remembered the way people disdained him and gloated over his tragedy, and he was assured that Islam could not be from God. This realization strengthened his resolve never to revert. Later, he had another spiritual dream and experienced the Lord answering his prayers.
A Family Comes to Christ
Because of hardships in their area of Syria, Imad and his family moved to Iraq. When he heard that churches were distributing food supplies, he went to one of them, but he did not tell them he was a Christian—he did not want them to think that he was pretending to be a Christian just to receive help.
Through his Christian friendship, Imad was given a Bible. Yet, he could not read it very well because he had only ﬁnished ﬁfth grade, so his wife and children began reading it to him. The whole family came to Christ and were baptized recently.
Blocked From Jobs Because He’s a Christian
In Syria, Imad faced persecution when he questioned Islam and because he began considering the Christian faith. His relatives also turned against him during that time.
In Iraq, he had not been able to ﬁnd a stable job—he was usually ﬁred when coworkers found out that he had become a Christian. His living expenses and the cost of his children’s education surpassed the amount of income he was able to make working odd jobs. Imad was desperate to find work and be a contributing member of his community.
Hope for Enduring Livelihood
Because he was unable to find anyone who would hire a Christian, Imad started dreaming about opening his own business. He is a skilled tailor and experienced in laundering clothing. With your support earlier this year, he started a joint dry cleaning business with a friend who runs two laundry services and would benefit from Imad’s expertise. In Iraq, they are in a prominent area of town where, together, they are capable of earning an income that provides for their families as well as provides jobs in the neighborhood.
Help The Persecuted has invested in Imad’s business through our Enduring Livelihood program. This program provides support for training and starting businesses that allow persecuted Christians the means of earning an income to fully support themselves and their families, as well as provide potential jobs to other persecuted Christians in the community.
When Field Ministry Team members recently visited Imad, they toured his laundry facility and noted the efficient machinery and supplies. The store is clean and presents a welcome atmosphere for customers. When we asked him to share with us what this means, he said: “I just want to thank you for your generous support. I used to ask others for help but now, I have my own work and I am happy.”
Because of your support, we’re able to partner with persecuted Christians to help them establish businesses that support their families and that are a beacon of light in their neighborhoods. Help us stand with Imad and others like him today.
Thank you for your prayer and financial support of persecuted Christian business owners like Imad.