Nadia is an Israeli Arab from Haifa who has recently accepted Jesus as her Savior and Lord. Like many Arab Christians, she grew up with religion, but no real relationship with God through Jesus. Here she tells her remarkable story of how she had traveled halfway across the world before she reconnected with her roots in Haifa and had a radical encounter with her Savior!
I was born and grew up in Haifa, Israel. I come from a traditional Catholic background and had gone to church all my life. I loved the baby Jesus and knew the stories, but I didn’t know Him personally at all. As a child I went to a Catholic school, and I was around nuns and priests who warned me that evangelical Christians had twisted the Bible and believed differently to us. We were advised to stay well away from them. I got married and moved to Chicago 23 years ago where I converted to the Orthodox denomination. Orthodox Christianity is basically very similar to Catholicism as far as idolizing saints and Mary was concerned: they were considered mediators to God and we would pray to them without any focus on Jesus.
Random YouTube and remarkable coincidence
In the years leading up to my initial encounter with Jesus Christ, I reached a point in my life which I could best describe as total hopelessness and desperation in every meaning of the word. Things were really bad! I remember pleading and crying out to God, seeking help and a church to be part of. I wanted a real interaction with God. One day while I was searching for the truth, sometime in July 2020 I came across a random YouTube video about a high profile Muslim who had converted to Christianity.
I immediately recognized the man who was telling the story.
He was an evangelist I’d known back in Haifa, many years ago. I started to follow the show and was finally able to get in touch and reconnect with my old friend, Carlos. Through our correspondence I was able to understand the true meaning of the Gospel and how to be born again, which is how my journey with the Lord began.
Carlos got my attention immediately as he began challenging some of the non-biblical traditions and beliefs I had inherited as part of my upbringing and religious culture. One of the points of contention he addressed was about who to pray to. He explained that prayer is a form of worship and worship is to be directed only to God and no one else. He showed me passages of Scripture to prove that Jesus Christ is the only way and mediator to God; the only One who could hear our prayers. Not saints and not even his mom! I was motivated to seek God and search for the truth. So I decided to reach out to him and reconnect with him and we kept in touch. In our many conversations about faith, he would explain what the Bible taught about being born-again and how to be saved. I learned that the first step was to confess my sins and repent, and I felt the right thing to do was to accept Jesus Christ as my personal Savior. So with his help I prayed a prayer of repentance. A change happened in my life, but still I couldn’t fall asleep for weeks from being overwhelmed by guilt and shame, and I used to cry a lot.
The sleepless nights continued until one night I had that dream about Jesus which really transformed my life.
In the dream, I was standing right behind Jesus so I couldn’t get to see His face yet. As I was looking at Him, He was extending His arms to show me, standing at a distance behind Him, and two dark holes were in the palm of His hands while blood was gushing out of them. The dream was so graphic that my heart was instantly captivated. I immediately decided from that moment on never to be enslaved to anything or anybody else other than Him alone for He alone is worthy to be worshiped.
When I woke up in the morning, I made a pledge not to ever deny or reject that blood that was shed for me on the cross. That dream was the encounter with Jesus which compelled me to truly turn away from my sin and receive eternal life. Today I have a personal and intimate relationship with God. I have peace that I never had before, I can truly say I was dead and now I’m alive.
Telling the truth about Jesus and Israel
The Gospel of Jesus changed my life and stirred my heart to share the love of God with everyone I knew. Jesus helped me to leave the idolatry and traditions I inherited from my ancestors. I also became very vocal on social media about my faith and my zeal for the truth. Jesus became the focal point of my life. I also couldn’t help but notice how Israel, the country where I grew up, was hated. Israel is looked down upon around the world, and harshly misrepresented in the mainstream media.
I became a staunch defender of my country, refuting all the lies spewed against it. Israel is the best country in the Middle East for its diversity and freedoms available to all of its citizens, unlike any other country in the Middle East where democracy is non-existent.
When I started to defend the truth about my faith, about Jesus as being the only Savior, and about Israel, I lost lots of friends. I was even accused by some Christian websites of being a Zionist and had my page closed because they couldn’t provide biblical proofs to refute what I was saying. As an Israeli Arab I was always defending Israel for the freedom of religion we enjoy; everyone can freely worship no matter what they believe. There’s such disdain and hatred towards Israel in the Arabic countries because of decades and centuries of being brainwashed, and out of ignorance. I was even accused of being a traitor to my people.
I want to add that since the day I met Christ, I have not stopped preaching the gospel and sharing the truth of the word of God and praising His name in my life. Today I’m praying to have my own immediate family and close friends come to Christ because having faith and getting saved is not to be taken lightly. It’s a matter of life and death—every human must come to know and accept Christ as our only Savior in order to live.
All glory to God. Amen!