On Tuesday evening Ali and Marzia phoned to ask if they could bring a young woman to our little apartment for prayer. Of course we said 'yes' and a few minutes later we were introduced to Mary (not her real name), a young Iranian lady, probably in her late twenties. She'd only been in the Lager for 2 weeks and Ali and Marzia had just met her on the street. She was alone, frightened and desperately unhappy.
We welcomed her with tea and biscuits, and as she began to relax a little, she opened up to us about some of the horrific trauma she'd endured since being a small child. She was completely overwhelmed with shame, pain and anguish, convinced it was impossible to ever feel 'clean' again. We explained the beautifully simple Gospel truth that Jesus came from heaven to this earth because He wanted to rescue us from darkness. He carried all our sin, shame, sickness, regret and pain on the cross, so that we would not have to bear it any more. That if she opened her heart to receive His love, He would wash all the sin, pain and sadness away and give her a brand new start. He would make her clean, fresh and new on the inside, and would be with her always.
When she said 'My heart feels like a stone' Neal was able to quote that wonderful scripture from Ezekiel 36:26 which says "I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh."
Before she left that night, Mary said she believed what we had explained to her from the Word of God. She read aloud several passages of scripture, and asked if we would help her to ask Jesus to be her Lord and Saviour. Neal led her in a prayer of repentance in English, and for good measure Ali led her in prayer in Farsi. We prayed that she would begin to feel true peace and be able to sleep that night for the first time without fear. Ali drove her back to the camp, and she waved 'goodbye' with shining eyes and a look of new-found joy and peace on her face. Thank you Jesus! Nights like this make the heartache of being away from friends and family back home so worthwhile!
UPDATE: We didn't see Mary again until the following Monday at ladies' clothing room day. She rushed across the room to hug us both and after exchanging phone numbers so we could keep in touch on WhatsApp, I introduced her to Stephanie, one of the full time Oasis staff. After she left, I shared with Stephanie a little of her backstory and some of the trauma she's endured. Stephanie has been trained in using art therapy to help trauma victims, and offered to meet up with her if she was willing. That evening Mary messaged me to say she was being transferred to a refugee house around 40 mins drive away, the next day.. I was SO glad we'd exchanged phone numbers! I asked if she'd like to meet up with Stephanie and she immediately said 'Oh yes, please!' Plans have been made for their first art therapy session to take place on Friday. Please pray that Mary will be open to what the Lord wants to do in her life, and for Stephanie to know God's strength in her weakness, as she bravely steps out in faith into this 'front-line' battle. Pray that God will use their time together to bring healing, recovery and restoration to dear Mary's wounded heart.