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Ali's Story By Ali Khan I was born in eastern Kurdistan (Iran). My parents were nominal Muslims and I never really gave much thought to religion. At a very young age, I was sent to an Islamic school to learn the Qur'an but I dropped out after a few months and never went back. All of the washing and different times for prayers never made sense to me. Whenever there was talk about religion, I would just become sick in the stomach. I hated religion. I have always thought that it was something that enslaved people and that religious people were dumb. Because of my dad's political activity and his troubles with the Iranian police, we had to leave our homeland. After a few years we settled in the west. Life became a hell. Discrimination was everywhere, not knowing what to do; I started hanging out with the wrong people. Without thinking twice, I started experimenting with drugs even though it was hard for me to get my hands on them. My friends and I would drink every Saturday night and watch pornographic films. At one point, I just became sick of this kind of life and I was searching for a new life, for a way to escape all of these problems. As problems were mounting day by day, I started thinking of suicide, but I did not have the guts to do anything like that. When I told a Muslim friend of mine all of these problems, he suggested that I go with him to the mosque and so I did. That night, when I left the mosque, I brought a copy of the Qur'an home with me. Reading it just made me depressed and I could not get anything out of it. When I told this to my friend, he told me that I should read it in Arabic. But Arabic was not my mother language and I did not speak it. I started taking Arabic classes but it was so hard and I felt like this was just making the problem grow. I accidentally got a Kurdish Qur'an, translated by the famous Kurdish poet, Hajar. It was just as empty and dead and boring (with respect) as the English was. I finally made my decision that I would not read it again as there is nothing I could gain. It could not solve my problems. One day, I was with my girlfriend at a bookstore. I bought a book that just made me curious. It was called Siddartha by German author, Herman Hesse. When I read that book, I started thinking about Buddhism since the book was based on Buddha's life. But I still felt like the answers weren't there and something was missing. One day, I met a few people who told me about God's love and His mercy. It led to a lengthy discussion. When I was about to leave, I accepted a Bible and a tract. When I went home, I opened it and closed it, and then put it aside. When I woke up, it was 4:30 in the morning. Whenever I get up that early, I get headaches and I become dizzy, but this time, I felt like I had been up all night and I did not feel sick at all. To my surprise and shock, the tract that I was given the day before was on my chest. Still hard-headed, I told myself that all of this time I have been running from God. I would try to just read the Bible this time and see what it really had to say. As I opened it, I saw a verse where it was written, "He who is in Christ is a new creation, the old has gone and the new has come." I thought to myself that all this time I have been looking for a new life and here it is being offered. I put my Bible down and went to the bathroom. I washed my face. I looked in the mirror and all of my disgusting life just felt like "an old thing". I could feel God's Holy Spirit. When I came back to my bedroom, the Holy Spirit just brought me to my knees and that morning at around 6 o'clock, I accepted Christ as my Savior. When I went to school that morning, I felt like I had rockets under my shoes. I walk all around and I just couldn't feel my feet. I could not help smiling. God's presence was everywhere. For some of my addictions, I sought help. My grades in school improved big time. My relationship with my parents and sibling also improved. I owe all of this to Jesus Christ who demonstrated His love by dying on the cross so that I don't have to pay the consequences for my sin. Ali

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