Karim came from Syria to Brazil as a refugee in 2013. His family was being persecuted for their faith, their city was destroyed and he did not want to take part in the war as they were recruiting. Even though he was already a Christian, his experience with MORE made him want to serve the suffering church the same way he was blessed. He learned Portuguese, received missionary training and now works full time on staff at MORE Brazil.
How do you describe the situation of Christians in your hometown in Syria?
I am from Aleppo in the northern part of Syria. It is now considered the most destroyed city on the planet after World War II. Most Christians in Aleppo used to live in safer zones, where ISIS did not have access by land. For that reason, it was the part of town they bombed the most. My neighborhood was the only one hit by 22 bombs, because they knew it was where Christians lived. Christians face this every day in Syria, especially the more vulnerable Christians that live in villages on the outskirts of the city. Those suffer violence and are constantly kidnapped.
Did you have the option of staying?
In my case, no. I had served in the army when things were more under control. Because of my experience, I was told there was no chance I would not be recruited. This is one of the most violent wars in history. The only way I would survive would be by killing others.
How did your experience with MORE bring you closer to God? How did it add to your calling?
MORE brought me new hope. I went for refuge in an arid and distant land, and their love was amazing. They did not treat me as a stranger nor question the fact that I was an Arab. Since 2006 I had felt God’s call in my heart, but at that point it became much stronger. I want to do the same for others. Today I am a full time missionary with MORE so that I can help others.
What are your future plans as a missionary?
I wish to go back to the Middle East to make disciples of Christ and serve refugees. And of course, if God allows, I want to be a part of the reconstruction of Aleppo.
How can the American church pray for you?
Please pray for me but also pray for all my people. We are one church of Christ and it is a blessing to be cared for by the Western side of the body!