Rida and Jameela
An Iraqi/Iranian Story of Love

Rida was a Muslim man who came from a fanatically strict Islamic family in Iran. Jameela was an Iraqi Catholic Christian lady who fled from Iraq many years ago to neighboring Iran during a time of war, hunger and uncertainty.

One day the two met in an Iranian marketplace and began a friendship. While their religious backgrounds differed greatly, they started to fall in love. Rida noticed something different about Jameela and grew to appreciate her behavior as a Christian woman.

Jameela had vowed she would not marry a Muslim man. Despite her convictions, her feelings for Rida grew but she resolved to not marry outside her faith.

During this time Rida would ask Jameela questions about Christianity. Some she was able to answer – others were more difficult for her because she didn’t have a Bible or any theological training. Rida, seeking answers to his questions, sought out the input of local priests but they preferred not to talk about Christianity and turned him away.

Eventually, with the promise that Rida would one day become a Christian, they married. Over the next years their family grew to include four children and Rida continued to seek answers for his questions about Christianity.

In Iran, Jameela had become a regular listener to Trans World Radio broadcasts from Monte Carlo and particularly liked a program called “The Nazarene Voice.” She urged her husband to listen to this program and on one glorious day, Rida accepted the call to open his heart to Jesus that came over the airways.

Rida now became an underground born-again believer – converted to Christianity by the blood of the cross – right in the heart of Iran.

Over the coming months, Rida and Jameela were discipled through the relationship that developed with Rev. Jacob Ammari, the program host of “The Nazarene Voice.” At their request, the station sent Rida and Jameela books, Bibles, tracts and special things for their children. This period was also a source of joy for Rev. Ammari and the station’s staff, as it was the first confirmation that “The Nazarene Voice” program was being clearly heard in Iran.

One day Rida communicated by telephone that it had become unsafe for them to receive printed materials – their faith in Christ had put them in danger. Rev. Ammari did not hear from them for 5 months but prayed continually for their safety. He later learned the family had fled Iran on a ship headed for Indonesia, and although separated, were now refugees in Australia.

Jameela and one of the children were placed in a refugee camp where Jameela became ill. Rida, prevented from visiting or staying in touch with his wife and child, began the process of reuniting and requesting asylum for his whole family. Remembering his praying friends at “The Nazarene Voice” radio program, he called the station and requested prayer and help for his family.

Rev. Ammari called a Christian Arab pastor in Australia, who with his wife, were granted entrance to the camp and found their Iranian sister and child. The local church cared for them – visited, prayed with them, gave them food and pocket money and were eventually able to help them be united with their family.

Today, Rida and his entire family have been baptized and are attending the local church that had come to Jameela’s aid in the camp. They are growing in their faith and living
a dream they never expected…a life of freedom in Christ. They remain in touch with Rev. Ammari and their friends from “The Nazarene Voice” radio program.

--World Mission Communications

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