Mazer’s family was suspicious. Everything about him—the way he carried himself and interacted with others—had changed almost overnight. He seemed lighter, freer.
There was only one possible explanation: Mazer had willingly risked his family’s reputation to convert to Christianity. Only Christians acted the way Mazer was acting. And if this was the case, they would stop at nothing to return him to Islam.
It was true—Mazer had quietly placed his faith in Jesus Christ. And despite not telling a soul, the Light within him simply could not be hidden.
A Poet Captivated by Christ
Mazer grew up in a conservative Muslim home in Iraq, falling in love with the art of poetry as a young child. He began memorizing and reciting Islamic poems, eventually catching the eye of a prominent leader at his mosque. He began to mentor Mazer, strongly encouraging him to hone his craft at a prestigious seminary.
When Mazer started intensively studying the Quran, he found numerous inconsistencies that led to many doubts about Islam. When he concluded that Islam was not the Truth his soul longed for, he dropped out of seminary and focused his attention on secular poetry.
Mazer never stopped believing in God…he just didn’t know where to turn for answers. Until he met Omar, a Christian student at his university.
Omar shared Christ with Mazer, pointing him in the direction of evangelistic resources online and giving him a Bible. Mazer devoured everything he found—the love of Jesus was beyond the love found in the world’s greatest love poems. The appeal of Islam and agnosticism dulled as he continued seeking after Christ
After considering the potential consequences, Mazer converted to Christianity. The power of the Gospel took hold of him, changing how he spent his time and how he perceived himself and those around him. The “new self” stood in stark contrast to the former Mazer.
Our new brother graduated from university and returned home to a job in Baghdad. Before he could utter a word about his newfound faith to family members, they noticed the difference in his countenance. He was harassed and interrogated daily. His every move was closely watched.
The Harsh Realities of Persecution
After several months of living with his family and attending secret church services nearby, Mazer’s faith was discovered. His parents and siblings unleashed their rage and disapproval, stopping at nothing to try and force him to renounce his faith.
They threatened to frame him and have him wrongfully imprisoned for crimes he didn’t commit. They reported him to Islamic militias, revoked his inheritance, and kicked him out of the house.
Persecution loomed over everything Mazer thought and did. He knew the reality of being a Christian convert in Baghdad,
As he encountered the endless cycles of brokenness pervading his country, Mazer began to dream. How could he bring the Kingdom to those who were most antagonistic to it, yet needed it most? How could he help the Church stand strong as the world threatened to take away so much?
The Dreams of the Persecuted Become Reality
He shared his desires with fellow believers at a Help The Persecuted Spiritual Retreat, where our Field Ministry Team helped him turn his dreams into a reality.
Spiritually refreshed and empowered with an Enduring Livelihood grant, Mazer returned to Baghdad and immediately rented a factory space. He is making affordable cleaning products, generating a profit that has enabled him to rent his own apartment, and has led three of his employees to Jesus Christ!
On Sundays, at various times to avoid suspicion, a secret gathering of Christian converts now comes together to worship, pray, and study Scripture in Mazer’s factory place. He is now looking to hire persecuted Christians who have lost livelihoods on account of their faith.
This is the heart behind Help The Persecuted: to come alongside persecuted Christians in their contexts, enabling them to evangelize the lost and strengthen the Church with their unique experiences and giftings.
Mazer’s story is a reminder to us all that nothing is too mundane or unassuming to be utilized in God’s Kingdom. Our Savior can use budget-friendly cleaning supplies to grow and fortify His Church!