Sharing some of his story at the Middle East National Conference of the Uniting Church, Bashar told how he was travelling by bus from Aleppo to visit family when they stopped at a checkpoint.
During a four-hour wait on the side of the road, Bashar became separated from the bus. Seeing him alone five soldiers with weapons seized him and took him away in a car.
“They took me to an empty house and took my mobile, my wallet, my bags, even the coins in my pocket,” said Bashar.
Worried about what my happen next, Bashar recalled praying.
“I was worried about my family and what would happen next. I said to myself even if they kill me here, God will look after my family.”
One of the soldiers put his hand on Bashar’s shirt pocket. Inside was a gold chain with a cross which his wife had asked him to carry.
Immediately the soldier questioned Bashar. “Who are you?”
At first Bashar did not understanding what he meant. The soldier asked, “Are you a Christian?”
Bashar said he feared the answer might worsen his predicament but he answered yes.
At this point, fearing what might happen next, Bashar surrendered his life to God.
When the soldiers came back, Bashar was taken to see “the boss”. He said “Sorry, you are not who we are looking for.”
One of them said, “Why did you not tell us you were Christian from the beginning.”
They returned everything to him and allowed him to leave. He got on the next bus and was reunited with his family.
Soon after this incident, Bashar and his family decided they were not safe in Syria and left their home.
Bashar, his wife and two daughters are now living safely in Australia.
“God prepared the way and brought us to this country to start a new life,” said Bashar.
“We feel that God protected us as a family in the war and we have a purpose here in Australia to share our story and share with people how God protected us.”
“Death is not a separation of the soul from flesh but, for us as Christians, death is when we are away from God. This encourages me every day to stay connected with God.”
Bashar was one of a number of new arrivals at Middle East National Conference who have been welcomed and supported by volunteers at Bankstown District Uniting Church in the work led by the Minister Rev. Gaby Kobrossi.