Meeting Jonathan is where it all began, where my desire and passion to share stories about real life people started. I knew if people from the United States saw Jonathan on the street without hearing his story he could be looked at with suspicion and even presumed to be a terrorist.
But if people could just hear his story, they would know he is a person just like us. A man with dreams and a family, a man that is a son, husband, and father. A man that fled his country to find safety for his remaining family members. Jonathan is a man whose story deserves to be told. For Jonathan’s safety, his name has been changed and only a picture of his back will be shown.
Jonathan is a 22-year-old from Aleppo, Syria. When I met him, he was living on the streets of Greece after being robbed at the border. You see, he was making his way to Greece with money he had worked for in Hungary in order to save his remaining family members that were still in Syria.
Jonathan’s father and brother have been executed. Although difficult, I believe he was strong enough to endure the pain of their deaths but it was his sister, wife, and two-month-old son dying in a bombing that caused him to make up his mind to leave. Jonathan fled leaving behind his position in the Syrian Rebel Army, meaning it was no longer safe for him to ever return to Syria.
Upon arriving in Hungary, Jonathan was granted asylum and began working to save money to get his mother, 15-year-old special needs brother, and 5-year-old sister out of Syria and into a safe country. He had the $3,200.00 it would take to save them, when he was robbed of everything.
During our communications, the bombings in Aleppo increased and while he kept in touch with his remaining family, they were injured in one of the bombings. Jonathan has dreams and his dreams didn’t include leaving behind his mother and siblings. His dreams didn’t include losing his father, brother, sister, wife, and child in war. He dreams now of being reunited with his family and longs to see them again.
Jonathan accepted Christ during the time we met him and spent time getting to know him. His heart and eyes were opened and he wanted the peace only God can give. Jonathan is the reason More than Numbers exists. He is the reason I dream of telling stories.
He is more than just a percentage of the 6.5 million people who have fled Syria. He doesn’t shed tears of all the tragedy his life has seen, instead he keeps dreaming. He is a man with dreams of a better life and a better future. And he deserves to have his story told.
~Bridgette Melton, More Than Numbers
Please pray for refugees leaving the war torn Middle East to find refuge and hope in Jesus Christ. If you’ve experienced loss in some form take a look at stories from women who have suffered loss in the Sacred Story collection.