Irina was raised in Armenia following the Yezidi religion. “Religious Yezidis worship the sun as well as fallen angels,” she says. “In traditional Yezidi communities, women have almost no rights and there is a caste system.”
As she grew up, the now 17-year-old became more and more confused by the religion. Irina expressed her confusion to her older brother. “I told my brother that I didn’t want to attend our religion’s rituals because I thought that a demon or devil was at the center of them” she says. “He was angry with me and threatened me. Frightened, I kept attending the meetings.”
Soon after, her older brother moved to Russia. It was then that she felt free to express her concerns because her parents didn’t force her to practice their faith. One of her classmates was a Christian and invited her to a Christmas event at a local church.
“There is a severe misunderstanding among the Yezidi-Kurdish people,” says Irina. “They think Jesus Christ is only God of the Armenians and other Christian nations. But during that Christmas event, I saw how wrong that notion was. I had never been to such an event and it was wonderful.”
Irina was excited to go home and share with her family members, but also apprehensive of their response. But to her surprise, her mother gave her permission to continue attending the church.
Irina’s friend invited her to a Project Philip Bible study to learn more about Jesus. “I loved the lessons so much that I learned them by heart,” she says. “I brought my younger brother to the next meeting; he was as excited as I was. Together, we eagerly attended each meeting. One day, my brother and I decided to give our lives to Christ.”
So often when people from the Yezidi community become Christians, they are persecuted. But praise God, Irina’s family members are supportive of her and her brother’s new faith.
Now, Irina and her younger brother pray for their parents and older brother who have not yet accepted Christ. “We desire to see them all come to Christ and see His light,” she says. “Ever since I accepted Christ, I’ve had joy inside. My life has meaning now.”
Irina’s most important dream is to be a witness for Christ among the Yezidi-Kurdish community, starting with her family. She is grateful to Bible League supporters for the life-changing Word of God. “I thank you for all your support so I could go through the Project Philip program,” she says. “Through these booklets and lessons, I came to Christ. They helped me to know God.”