Skip to content

Karam’s Story: A Testimony

“For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.”

– Luke 9:24


This is the story of Karam* and Iman* (as told by an American visiting their country).

Sitting on cushions late one hot evening in a small unfurnished room in their apartment, we were introduced to Karam and Iman. Our hearts were stirred as we heard their testimony, studied the Word of God with them, prayed together, and enjoyed their gracious and generous hospitality. Their journey of life and faith gives clear testimony to our Lord’s amazing love and grace and faithfulness.

Karam, who speaks English, works at a television station in Iraq. He and Iman are newly married, just 1.5 years. They are both originally from a Kurdish town in the MENA region which was destroyed by war and ISIS. But the work of the Lord began in Karam’s life many years ago, when the city they originate from was still at peace, though Karam’s heart was not.

When a young Muslim man, Karam decided on a whim to purchase a Bible for $2. He didn’t know what he would use it for, but he bought it anyway. One day, he started reading it, and in the Bible was an email address you could write to if you had questions or needed any help. So, he emailed the address.

He explained he was Muslim and wanted to know about this man, Jesus, who did miracles. Over the next two years, they sent books and provided answers to Karam’s questions. Then, after two years, they encouraged Karam to travel to a nearby city to meet with a man. He decided to go, and this man spoke to him about Jesus and salvation. At the age of 16, Karam put his faith in Christ and then began to share with his family and friends about Jesus.

His family resisted at first and did not want Karam to believe or to tell anyone he was changing his religion. They knew there are often problems if people hear you have changed your religion; in Karam’s culture, they can kill you. This is what Muslims have been taught in their religion. They will not harm a person openly, but will often find a sly way to do it.

Karam doesn’t blame them. He understands Muslims are following the book of their god. He explained to his family that the Bible teaches not to lie or kill or say wrong things or do bad things to others, and if they killed him, it would not be because he was doing anything bad because the Bible was teaching him to be a good man. In time, his family accepted the gospel message.

Iman’s story is rather different. Since his wife doesn’t speak English, Karam share her story for her.

After Iman met Karam, Karam began to share Jesus with her, and Iman began to put her faith in Jesus also. After 6 months of courting, Karam wanted to ask her parents for her hand in marriage. Since he did not live in their home country anymore, Iman’s parents began asking people, “Who is Karam?” They asked more than 100 people, and some of them said that he was a Christian.

When Karam went to speak with Iman’s parents, they said they were so happy he came and they had only one question: “Are you Christian?” In that moment, Karam thought of Peter in the Bible. Would he say “yes” or “no”? Would he deny His Savior? If he said “no,” he would be like Peter, betraying the Lord. If he said “yes,” Iman’s parents would not give him their daughter in marriage.

Karam said, “Yes, I am Christian. What is the problem you have?” He asked them to tell him what is wrong with being Christian.  Thankfully, Iman’s parents said they did not think it was bad. They said it was okay, and asked when they would like to be married! Karam saw God’s blessing in his life, and he was reassured that when we do things God’s way, He will cause things to happen.

For Iman’s parents, though, this was a very difficult thing. They were allowing their daughter to marry this man who came from a distant place and to change her religion. This was not easy for them. But God was at work to accomplish His purposes.

As Karam reflects on the events, he knows “God was with me” and, at the same time, God was asking him to deny himself and take up his cross and follow Jesus, trusting Him for everything. Since their wedding, Iman’s father has asked Karam for a Bible, and her parents are reading it!  Oh, the power of our God…so much greater than we can imagine.

Karam is careful at his work not to offend his Muslim coworkers. He is respectful of them during Ramadan, not eating or drinking in front of them, and even fasting with them at times. But, while his coworkers are not happy while they are fasting, Karam sets a different example. He is happy to sacrifice for His God. He slowly and carefully shares Jesus with those around him, showing Jesus by his life. Karam knows that where he lives, he is not free to tell his neighbors about God. Maybe they know they need God, but they aren’t free to ask him what makes him different. Yet God’s Kingdom goes forth.

Karam sees how God is at work in his life; he sees His protection, and the miracles He does for him. And if God does that for him, Karam knows He can do it for others, too.

Karam is living out the very Scriptures we studied together that night: John 3, Matthew 22, and Luke 9. He lives a life that looks like Christ, a life that looks different, willing to lose his life so that he might save it. And so our hearts were stirred.

*Names and places changed for security reasons.