Church is not What I Expected it to be
Updated: Apr 4
My name is Safura, and I am 21 years old. I live in Azerbaijan, where 86% of the population is Muslim, and only 0.2% are evangelical Christians. Most of us Azeris do not have many opportunities to hear the gospel, if even at all.
I remember back to December 2018 when I was invited to celebrate Christmas for the first time. This happened through my neighbor. She was from Canada and invited my family and me to a Christmas party at her house. We felt curious about this invitation, so we decided to go. During the event, we were able to meet her friends and family. This was when my neighbor shared that they were Christian. It was an exciting day because I had never met nor spent time with Christians until that party. I thought they were cheerful, kind, and funny people.
On the evening of the holiday, one of the ladies talked to me about the church and invited me to attend the next worship service. I decided to go to church on the following Sunday with my neighbor.
The concept of the church I imagined in my mind was completely different from what I encountered that day. I thought church was like an old, quiet building, but when I entered it, I saw that it was no different from a home, just like how a family would get together. When I walked in, I was given a very warm welcome, and I was choked up because I had only met them once in my life. What surprised me the most was that everyone wanted to know me, and they hugged me. I had never experienced such a friendly attitude before.
" I thought church was like an old, quiet building, but when I entered it, I saw that it was no different from a home, just like how a family would get together. "
The worship service began, and there were prayer groups. I felt prompted that I was in the right place. From then on, I continued attending the worship gathering every Sunday.
It was during our times of reading the Scripture that I realized I was familiar with the stories we were reading. I remember years ago, when I was six years old, my mother's friend gave me a book called "My First Bible.” Unfortunately, we lost contact with her for some reason, but I was able to learn about some stories now that I was hearing them in church.
About one year after I went to church for the first time, I decided to become a believer. Indeed, the Word of the Lord remains forever. To Him be the glory forever! Amen.
I am now part of the Crossover Global team here in Azerbaijan. We are working on planting churches among the Azeris and other people groups so that more people have access to the gospel and the opportunity to get to know Jesus-just as I had.
This testimony was shared by our teammates from the Azeri Initiative.