This true story, which happened in the spring of 2009, comes via Girl-On-A-Journey blog.
It is the story of an incredible disciple she met in Damascus, a former Muslim, who has suffered heroically for his faith in Christ despite the fact that he had not yet been baptized. These are not stories that we hear often – especially in the Catholic world - where most people don’t know about the whole Muslim background believer movement.
But it is a story that we need to hear. This man is a true confessor of the faith, someone who has suffered persecution and torture for Christ but did not die. His story sounds so much like the stories we revere from the early Church but he is a member of our generation, living among us. And there are many more like him, both men and women. We need to pray for them and let ourselves be challenged by them. Warning: this story is intense. ("Granam" is a false name used to protect this man's identity.)
“The man, Granam, officially renounced his Muslim faith that day (evidently). He has been living as a Christian, former Muslim (or MBB - Muslim background believer), so the official renouncing and giving his life to Christ is a huge deal.
You see, Granam was living as a Christian, but had not been baptized. According to Sharia law (the Islamic faith), when a Muslim is baptized, he/she can never return to the Islamic faith and the consequences are death. Granam just arrived from Baghdad apparently days ago with his family.
In Baghdad, he was going to an Assyrian church. Some Islamic extremists (terrorists) stormed the church, shot the priest, and his wife fled with the priest’s children and their own children. Granam was captured and tortured unbelievably. No, actually words may not even convey how horrible the torture Granam endured.
You see, Granam was a hairdresser in Baghdad, That was how he earned a living. So, the terrorists cut off his fingers with scissors so he couldn’t earn a living anymore - but he still is adamant on wearing his wedding band (which is placed on just a mere nub of what used to be his finger). They cut open his leg and pulled his ligaments and tissue apart, so he walks with a crutch and a brace on his leg. They took a tool drill (close to what you would drill into a wall with, he said) and drilled a whole into the side of his head through his temple, on the right side. Then they took the drill and drilled into his chest. The terrorists told him that if he wants to live like Jesus Christ, they will treat him like Jesus Christ by putting holes into his body.
One of our teammates, told him we would pray for him, and Granam’s response is one I will never forget for the rest of my life: "You do not have to pray for me, pray for everyone. Christ did not pray for himself, and I want to be like Christ. Please pray for the world, because that is what Christ did.
Snip. GirlOAJ summed it up:
This man, Granam, lived out this character. He wanted….no, he craved, to bless those who persecuted him. He wanted to pray for the world, and those who almost sent him to his death simply because he loved Jesus Christ. I ask you this tough question, when people hurt us, spit on us, insult us, mock us, challenge us because of our faith, do we pray for them? Do we seek to love them as Christ calls us to?
Granam’s life, his faith, his unabashed thirst to live like Christ has changed and impacted my life forever. Sitting at the feet of this man while he shared his story, felt much like sitting at the feet of Christ himself. A week after our team left, Granam was baptized into the faith.”
Thank you, Girl-on-a-Journey, for your faithfulness in sharing Granam's story with us.
Any readers know a story of a contemporary confessor? Or have met one yourself? Please share it with us.