Margré Hays writes:
Sharing a hotel room with someone you don’t know can be challenging! When you first enter your hotel room you see the bed that has been taken, the coat that is hanging there, the toiletries set up in the bathroom and her suitcase hidden away in a corner. You can see your roommate’s things but no sign of the roommate. You begin to wonder who she is, if she goes to bed at the same time and if the bathroom will be free when you need it. (Sorry, all these thoughts go through your mind).
What a wonderful surprise when you finally meet and you discover she speaks your native language. Immediately there is a connection you didn’t expect. One night, during the conference, we decide to go out into the city. We ended up buying the exact same things to remember to pray for each other. Over turkish tea she told me her story…
“I grew up in a Muslim family. I wore scarves faithfully and tried to be as devout as I could. Deep inside though I realised I was doing so much wrong and I felt ugly on the inside. One day I got a Bible and I read in Matthew Jesus’ words in chapters 5 through 7. The words of Jesus changed me completely. I continued reading the Bible and saw the logic and order that are in the Scriptures. I knew I needed help and so I secretly went to a Christian church where they answered all my questions. When I started speaking at home about my Christian friends and faith, my family got very angry and threatened to kill me. Even though I knew deep inside they would never do this, I got very scared. I fell in love with a Christian young man and we decided to get married in secret. Then soon an opportunity arose for us to become refugees in Europe. That’s where we have been for the last 7 years and I am now leading a CBS Bible study in Arabic. The only thing that I feel sad about now is that that back then I was not willing to stay and die for the name of Jesus.”
Here I am, living in Western Europe with all the religious freedoms and comforts we enjoy. I am grateful for the freedom we have in the West and the truth of the Bible which changes lives. My roommate who was a stranger is now family and I love her like a sister. I know that I probably will never have such a powerful sadness as my new sister has, that she didn’t die for her faith in Jesus.