FINNSNES, Norway-- Many Christian refugees escaping Middle East violence and persecution deal with danger no matter where they end up.
One Syrian evangelist fled the danger of ISIS only to face death threats in his European host country.
Risking it All
We first met Saeed Ziadah six-years ago before the start of the Syrian civil war. He led a small church and also shared his faith in a country where evangelizing Muslims could lead to death, or prison.
We witnessed miraculous healings, even in a Syrian mosque.
An elderly man told us his knee had not healed properly after breaking, so Ziadah and several other Christians visiting the mosque prayed for the man and afterwards, he joyfully ran around the mosque.
"We were distributing the Bible and Jesus Film, and discussing the importance of believing in the Lord Jesus Christ. A great and amazing ministry was there, and a lot of Muslims were accepting the Lord Jesus as their own savior," explained Pastor Saeed. "Then the war came to Syria between the extremist Islamic movements and the Syrian regime.
ISIS and other militant groups targeted Christians because they saw them as supporters of the Assad regime.
Saeed escaped to Russia and waited patiently for the government to grant him religious asylum.
After months of delays and frustration over inaction, the Syrian pastor left Russia. He ended up above the Arctic Circle, in the sleepy city of Finnsnes.
It's an unlikely home for Middle East refugees. Saeed and his wife Rana came here because they thought they'd be safe in northern Europe. They knew most Western countries practice democratic concepts of free speech and religious freedom, so Saeed hoped to find peace in Norway, far from the Syrian war and the threat of death at the hands of ISIS.
Trading Safety for the Gospel
He shared Christ on social media, and compared biblical teachings to Koranic doctrine. His experience in Syria moved him to warn Norwegians about the dangers of militant Islam.
"That made some Muslims angry, perhaps inside or outside of Norway," Saeed told us. "So, they started to send death threats to us through Facebook. They said that they are so close to us. "
They warned him that jihadists lived in his immigrant housing center and could easily kill him if he did not stop posting his thoughts and beliefs on the internet.
"I didn't stop writing on Facebook because I believe in free speech, I also believe in the power of God's Word. The Western world has to know what is inside the Koran.The world is in trouble and chaos because of radical Muslim teachings. A lot of them are coming to Europe and America, explained Saeed. "Will they merge into society while still supporting Koranic verses that incite violence and hatred and are against women's rights?"
After also receiving threatening phone calls, Saeed asked the local police captain for help.
Captain Steingrim Ovesen told CBN News the police "take it seriously and we try to help him the best way we can do."
Captain Ovesen gave Saeed a GPS tracking device to use if someone tried to harm him.
"If he activates this we will will know where he is...whatever, if he responds we will respond--if it activates this--in a very short time," he insisted.
Saaed and Rana would likely be safer, shut up inside their immigrant apartment house. but they venture out regularly, meeting new found friends and sharing the love of Christ with other immigrants.
Refugees like Jameel Nadrah and his family from Homs, Syria. Nadrah has cancer and is currently undergoing chemotherapy. He's had six surgeries to remove his left kidney and parts of his colon and spleen.
Struggling with a terminal illness in an unfamiliar country, Nadrah is encouraged when fellow Syrian Saeed comes to visits and pray with him.
"Despite the illness, my faith and trust in Jesus is increasing. And I hope God will do a miracle and heal me from this sickness," Nadrah said.
Hope in a New Home
This summer, immigration officials told Saaed and Rana they'd be allowed to remain in the country. The couple is hoping to join a family member in another Norwegian city. They say despite their difficulties, they have grown to love their new home.
"A lot of Norwegian people have drifted far from Christ. But I believe they will return to Him and they will not allow other cultures and religions to destroy this beautiful society which was built on biblical, Christian principles of peace, love,charity, forgiveness and human rights," said Saeed.
And it's that faith and love for people that inspires Saeed to continue sharing Christ-- whether facing danger in Syria, or one of the most remote places on earth--way up north in Scandinavia's Arctic Circle.