Jerry Rassamni: "From Jihad to Jesus"
By Rod Thomas and Tim Branson
The 700 Club
The year was 1975, and the Lebanese civil war had begun. In 15 years of fighting between Muslims and Christians, over 100,000 died in a war that nearly destroyed Lebanon.
Jerry Rassamni vividly remembers when the war came to his mountain village of Choueifat.
“People were slaughtered because of their religion. And there was so much hatred. I remember growing up practically in a bomb shelter. Bomb shelters and daily bombings were a fact of life. And the enemy was at the gate and he wanted me dead,” Jerry said.
As a Druze Muslim, Jerry’s fear of the enemy turned to hatred.
“Christians were bombing us daily. And I really thought that they were the devil incarnate. I hated them with such passion and if I hated the Christians, I hated the Jews ten times more,” Jerry said.
Eventually Jerry joined the militia, and entered the fighting.
“I had to defend my land and my existence. I had to kill or be killed,” Jerry said. “And pretty soon gunpowder became my outlet, my escape, my addiction. Sometimes it manifested itself in an AK-47 assault rifle. Sometimes it was a hand grenade, a land mine. Whatever it was, it had gunpowder in it.”
In time, however, the atrocities of war led Jerry to question the principles of his Islamic beliefs.
“I saw the unrestrained evil that man is capable of. When religion tells you that man is basically good, it is a lie of colossal dimensions, for I saw the true heart of man and I was changed by the horrors of it,” Jerry said.
“I remember seeing men lying on the streets in pools of their own blood, no better than dogs. I began to see that there is nothing redeeming about man. How could man, who is capable of such overwhelming evil, have goodness in his heart and evil at the periphery, as Islam claims? Isn’t it the other way around?” Jerry said.
After three years of fighting, Jerry realized that the war was pointless, and so did his mother. She feared for her son’s life and produced fake paperwork to get Jerry and his brother out of the country. Months later, Jerry started a new chapter in his life, in America.
“This is what I have dreamt about all of my life, coming over to this country that represents freedom, represents liberty. I came from a country where I was, basically I didn’t have a lot of freedoms because of the war,” Jerry said.
Soon he met a young woman, and fell in love. But she was a Christian.
“When I first laid eyes on her, something happened in my heart. It was love at first sight. I knew she was the one for me. The fact that she was a Christian, I turned a blind eye to that because I was so blinded by love,” Jerry said.
Within months, Jerry proposed to Jennifer.
“I knew at 19-years-of-age to pray and ask the Lord if it was His will for me to marry Jerry,” Jennifer said. “And after much prayer, I just, I finally had a peace about it. But my conditions were that we would attend church as a family and that our future children would be raised Christian.”
Jerry agreed to the conditions, but vowed to never convert to Christianity.
Jennifer recalled, “He said, I told you I would never convert. I’m – I was born Druze Muslim, I’m going to die Druze Muslim, and not anything you could say or do is going to change that.”
“So I just, I never said another word and just began praying,” Jennifer said.
As Jennifer prayed, Jerry studied the Bible. He wanted to disprove its claims. Instead, he began to see fundamental differences between Islam and Christianity.
“As I began to examine the scriptures, I came across some revolutionary teachers. In the excellent names of Allah in Islam, not one is love. Not one is father,” Jerry said. “But I read about a God who loved mankind so much, even after they rebelled against him, that He made a way that we could come before Him and call him Abba. This was not the God of Islam.”
And so, during a Sunday morning church service in October, of 1998, Jerry stepped forward and accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior.
“It was as though the scales had fallen from my eyes, as though I could see for the first time that God was guarding me and protecting my life all these years. When I should have been six feet under, He was guarding me for such a time as this,” Jerry said.
Their lives have never been the same.
“After I accepted Christ we truly became one and we worshipped the Lord together,” Jerry said.
“It’s a wonderful blessing that Jerry came to know the Lord before we started our family,” Jennifer said.
Jerry tells his life’s journey, from the killing fields of Lebanon to the loving arms of Jesus Christ, in his book, From Jihad to Jesus.
He knows that God has a plan to reach Muslims with the gospel.
“God says ‘in the last days I would pour out my spirit on all people.’ He said, ‘Your young men shall dream dreams. Your old men shall see visions.’ And we are seeing the fulfillment of Joel 2:28 in the Muslim world all over. Where people in Islam are seeing visions and dreams of Christ and they’re coming out of darkness into light,” Jerry said.
Jerry is truly grateful for his life journey
“I should have spent eternity in hell. That’s where I belong. But God, in his infinite mercy, sent His Son to die in my place so that I don’t have to spend eternity in hell. And it’s through nothing that I do, but it’s through what the Savior has done on the cross for me 2,000 years ago,” Jerry said.
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