Last week I met a delightful couple from Iran who moved to Germany a few years ago. “Abbas” and “Maryam” had become Christians in their homeland but kept this secret because conversion from Islam is punished with prison or even death. I asked how they wound up in Germany. Maryam shared her story: “I used to work as a travel agent in Iran. About three years ago, I was leading a group through Turkey—in winter. My mother was in our group too. Since the trip was only for a few days, I was traveling light—with only a carry-on bag. One evening I received a message from back home that the authorities had just raided our apartment and discovered that I had become a Christian. At that moment, my life as I had known it ceased to exist. I would never again be able to return to Iran—at least not under the current regime. Everything I owned was reduced to that carry-on bag. My mother, who had also become a Christian, and I realized that our only option was to try make our way to Germany, where Abbas, an IT specialist, had gained a residency permit. By the grace of Jesus Christ, we somehow managed to sneak across the border into Greece, but since we had entered illegally, we had to hide until we could contact people who might get us further west. We hid in the woods for a whole month—just the two of us. No shelter, no food. We couldn’t even build a fire for fear of being detected. I was wet and cold the whole time. The only thing that kept me alive—food for my soul—was Psalm 23, which I kept reciting to myself: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me.” Maryam and her mother eventually made it out of Greece and reconnected with Abbas. Most of her family have since moved to Germany as well. Abbas’ goal in life? To one day become a Lutheran pastor and share the Gospel of our Lord in Word and Sacrament with fellow Iranians! *** Indeed, Holy Scripture is food for the soul. (Permission granted to share this story).