F and M
You may remember us telling you about a young Iranian couple we met last autumn at the Oasis. F and M and their little boy had committed their lives to Christ while living in Iran and when the authorities discovered they were Christians they were forced to flee their family, friends and beloved homeland.
They left behind a very comfortable lifestyle and M particularly found it difficult to adjust to life in the refugee camp. She is an extremely intelligent lady who is a particularly talented artist. She became very depressed, was hospitalized on several occasions and was prescribed lots of strong medication which left her completely numb and unable to focus. F found it difficult to cope with their young son who was exhibiting all the classic signs of trauma.
Neal befriended F, a gifted academic, and we invited him to our apartment many times to read and study scripture together. The photo below is of one occasion when the whole family came for a meal while Joan Cooper from CBC was visiting us.
The amount of time refugees have to remain in the Lager while their paperwork and appeals for asylum are heard can vary tremendously. Sometimes we hear of families being ‘processed’ very quickly but for others it can be a long hard period of uncertainty as they wait for their case to be heard. Such was the case for F and his family. They’d already been in the camp for several months when we met them, and by the time we left Austria in January 2018 they had still heard nothing.
Well, we may have physically left the refugees behind when we returned to the UK, but we carried them with us in our hearts and prayers, and we kept in pretty regular contact with F and M via social media throughout 2018.
During the early part of last year at last we heard that they’d been granted their ‘white cards’ (meaning they were officially recognised as refugees at last) and were transferred out of the camp to refugee housing in the Saltzburg area. This was a great blessing as M's mother has lived in the Salzburg area for many years. Now that M was closer to her mother and at last free from the confines of the refugee camp, her mental health improved dramatically.
Towards autumn last year we had two more pieces of news – firstly that M was pregnant with a baby girl (something they’d been praying for over many years) and secondly that they’d moved again into refugee housing in the Tyrol.
And then last night, some wonderful news arrived! Firstly - they've been given a POSITIVE for asylum at last! This means they are now classed as Austrian citizens, can get Austrian passports, look for work here and most importantly find a home of their own. Praise God for his faithfulness! Secondly – M is scheduled to have her baby this morning! I’ll post photos if and when F sends them to me. Here’s an excerpt from M’s message to me last night…
“Hello dear Lesley, I have surgery tomorrow morning, and today, the first day of spring and the beautiful Persian New Year’s Eve we received a great joy from the Merciful Messenger – the answer is YES! ….Your loving kindnesses to us is always in our minds….”