Hunted for his Faith: A Believer’s Journey to Safety Through Calvary Chapel Connections
Calvary Chapel Pastor Dan Finfrock shares the harrowing account of his translator’s brush with death when shot by radical Muslims, left for dead, and his subsequent escape to America. Dan travels the world teaching inductive Bible study for Intensive Care Ministries (ICM). The following is Dan’s first-person account.
*Name changed to protect subject’s identity.
I first met Arslan* in Pakistan when I traveled there for an Inductive Bible study class in August 2010. He was working as an assistant to my ICM (Intensive Care Ministries) director in Pakistan. The 20-year-old spoke good English and translated for me as I talked to different participants. I returned for a second seminar a couple years later and again Arslan was there to translate for me. I could see God at work in this young man who loved Jesus.
In 2013, Arslan was working as a schoolteacher in a Muslim school. An imam who was the religious teacher at the school befriended him. The imam knew Arslan was a Christian and often during their conversations tried to convert him to Islam. When Arslan refused, the imam was infuriated and Arslan began to feel threatened by him to the point he quit his job. Two weeks after rejecting the imam’s demands, Arslan was standing at a bus station when three men with face masks drove up on motorcycles and opened fire on him. Three bullets flew by his face and one through his hair. The last bullet fired shattered a glass window he was leaning against sending glass everywhere including his head. He got a head gash and fell to the ground bleeding. The gunman thought that they had killed him and sped off. After they left, Arslan discovered he not only had a head cut from the glass but also his kneecap was badly cut by the glass. He was helped to his home and then taken to a secure hospital where he was treated and released. He refused to tell his family what had happened until strange men kept coming to his home to see him. He had to hide at various places before he knew he would have to flee the country.
Arslan was standing at a bus station when three men with face masks drove up on motorcycles and opened fire on him and he slowly recovered.
Through friends, he got a visa for Thailand and fled to that country. Upon arrival, he had no idea where to go or live. He had no money to live on and became a refugee. At that point, I heard of his plight from my contact in Pakistan and support was raised for him. He stayed in Thailand for three years which were difficult because of his constant fear of getting arrested and thrown into prison. Many died in these prisons. The Thai government did not recognize United Nations policies for refugees and wanted to deport them. Arslan was then forced out by the government to Malaysia. He lived there when unexpected health issues developed. One day he passed out, went into a coma, and was taken to a hospital where doctors discovered he was diabetic. The doctors gave him little chance to survive, but God was not finished with Arslan and he slowly recovered. A short time later, I talked with him and asked if he would like to go to Bible school. I knew his refugee status would take forever to place him somewhere, so I investigated Bible colleges and found Calvary Chapel Bible College in Budapest, Hungary. They were fully accredited by the government and could give Arslan a visa. In September of 2018, Arslan arrived in Budapest and began studying. After two years, the Bible school lost its accreditation and decided in 2020 to move to the Republic of Georgia. Arslan could not go with the school because Pakistanis were not welcome there.
The doctors gave Arslan little chance to survive, but God was not finished with him.
I began again investigating into Bible schools and the Lord opened the door to a bible college in the U.S. Now the big test would be to see if he could get a visa to enter a locked-down state in America. To our surprise, the U.S. Embassy in Budapest gave him a five-year visa. Then the next challenge was to get him through immigration customs. When he boarded the plane in Budapest, no one at the airport knew what the current laws were as they were changing almost daily, so they just let him depart. Upon arrival at a U.S. airport, the immigration officer who happened to be a Muslim, was not letting him into the country. He passed Arslan on to another officer who just happened to be a Christian. Arslan explained to him why he needed to get into the U.S. The issue was that college foreign students coming into the country could only be allowed in if the school had “in-person” classes. The officer called the school and was told they were not sure, but were planning on “in-person” classes. The decision was left up to the officer who told Arslan, “I’m going to let you enter the U.S. because I want you to study the Bible!” God made a way when there seemed to be no other way!!
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