Throughout his upbringing, David’s heart was passionate for Islam and he was a jihadist who wanted to get Christians to convert to Islam. But God brought him from his home country to Sweden – where he met God. The emptiness he had felt disappeared and for the first time in his life; he felt loved.
33-year-old David, likes to carry the Bible under his arm. It’s “my weapon,”as he describes it. But there was a time in David’s life when he was searching for completely different weapons.
Born and raised in a strict, Muslim family in Afghanistan, it was Islamic thoughts that characterized him. He tried to be the best Muslim he could. All he did was to honor Muhammed. David, born with a Muslim name, hated Jews. He thought Christians were “poisonous” and felt that they were not following God’s path properly.
But deep in his heart he felt an emptiness, he felt that there had to be something deeper and he have always had a longing for it.
David tried to fill the void inside in different ways. First by investing in kung-fu, where he got a black belt. Then in kickboxing, where he also reached the top. In both sports he discovered that there was a “roof” that could not be lifted – then there was no more. The emptiness persisted. He have been at the top of the martial arts, but still his soul just got weaker.
Later he joined forces with jihadists and wanted to go to Syria and to fight in the war, assured that this was the path the Quran urged him to take if he wanted to come to paradise. He wanted to go out in jihad [holy war; red note]. He needed to kill another man to get to heaven, that was the promise of Allah. So he was convinced and desired to die in battle. But he never came to Syria. Thanks to the grace of God, David explains today.
When he still was in Afghanistan, he suddenly had to flee for his life and leave his home country. David was serving as a bodyguard for a jihadist. When the jihadist was murdered, David was charged for the murder. The murdered brother wanted him dead and David had to leave everything he had and flee from Afghanistan.
Like many other refugees, wanting to go to Europe, the trip took him to the Mediterranean area, where he took a boat trip from Turkey to Italy. But it was extremely close that he never got his feet back on solid ground. It was very windy and stormed on the sea and the mast of the boat broke. The people onboard, many of them were women and children, started to cry for their lives, but David, he was just waiting to die.
Instead, the journey continued towards Sweden. Without passport, he passed through Europe. Although it happened more than once that people next to him were taken by police, he managed to escape. Not once on the trip was he asked to show identity documents. God wanted him to go to Sweden, that’s his only explanation.
After arriving to Sweden, far away from home in Afghanistan, he wanted to attend a church – to win over Christians to Islam. He wanted to use the Bible against them so that they would become Muslims. He thought it was jihad that he could perform, to convert Christians.
His project, however, had the opposite effect.
He started to read the Bible and was just flooded with love. The word came to life. That’s what he had been longing for all his life, not knowing what he was lacking. As a Muslim in Afghanistan, he describes it as it was as to float in small amount water of water in a creek – but with Christianity it was like an ocean to swim in.
He understood that he did not need to kill anyone to get to heaven – God has already died for us humans. That was the turning point for David. He got down on his knees and prayed to God.
In the coming months, David continued to read the Bible, and could see himself in the images the Bible gave him. He could identify himself in what he was reading.
Until then , his interest in jihadism and martial arts had made him tough and empty. He didn’t even cry when his dad died. But this love from God was so overwhelming, I had never experienced anything like it. The emptiness disappeared and for the first time in my life I felt loved. When I knelt before God, I prayed and cried for the first time in my life.
Afterwards, David realized that his prayer from his heart out on the Mediterranean sea, was the very starting point on the road to God, even though he did not understand it, and even though he later forgot the then desperate prayer to God.
At the refugee residence in Mellerud, Dalsland, where David was then living, it was not received with joy that he became a Christian. He suddenly became lonely among three hundred other people in the house. He was not allowed to sit with the others at their table in the dining room, he was not allowed to join in the sport.
Several times people threatened him and said they would have killed him if they had been in their home countries. So it went on for a year and a half. But despite this, David – who changed his Muslim birth name to a new one – never felt alone.
I was only purely human. I was always surrounded by God, so I was never alone really. God broke me down to build me up again, God worked within me, says David.
In the midst of all this, David refused to be silenced or ashamed of his faith. Instead, he always carried a cross, which he received as a gift from a person in the church. He always lit the cross – even when he was swimming with the others from the refugee camp at one time.
“There I was swimming among only Muslims, with the cross on me,” he says, smiling broadly. His faith has since been expressed through both recording and spreading Bible teaching in Persian via Facebook and Youtube.
But what is going to happen now in his life he does not know. The Swedish Migration Board has rejected him and has decided that he may not stay in the country.
Therefore, he is hiding right now, waiting for God to tell him what the next step will be. His case to stay is appealed to the UN, but despite the threat of deportation hanging over his head, he radiates a calm.
“I’m not worried. God has set me free and has taken care of death. God will take care of me, that is His promise. I pray to God every morning that he will take me where he wants me to go, and that he will use me for his kingdom”.
At the same time, he knows what lies in the balance. An expulsion to Afghanistan is very likely to be his death. After just a week in Afghanistan, everyone would know that I am a Christian and then they will kill me. But no one can take away my faith and no one can make me quiet. I’m staying here right now, trying to stay alive. If I stay alive, God can use me for a greater purpose. I believe God will save me.