Originally from Iran, Masoud deserted the Iranian Army after seeing many of his friends damaged by the brutality of army life and others killed by terrorists.
But as a deserter, Masoud was a marked man. Only an escape overseas would save him.
He travelled first to Dubai, then to Jakarta, then boarded a boat to Australia.
But the boat Masoud was on was intercepted by the Australian Navy and all onboard were taken to Christmas Island.
After a year on Christmas Island, Masoud was moved to a Darwin detention centre. “I lost hope,” he said. “A couple of times I tried to kill myself.” Eventually he was thankfully granted a bridging visa, then refugee status. He moved to Sydney in search of work but found himself homeless last year.
He was sleeping in an inner-city park when a Wesley Mission outreach worker contacted him. Masoud moved to Wesley Edward Eagar Lodge for the next six months, and later with Wesley Mission’s help secured social housing in Redfern.
The practical love and care of staff had a profound impact: “The Christian people..., they care about each other. They care about people they try to help. They are peaceful people and that is important for me. I didn’t want to hate people. I wanted to love them like they loved people.” Reflecting on what he now knows, Masoud said, “I was lost before. But Jesus died and came back. That’s a big hope. We are not going to just die and all is finished. I am going on to live with God in heaven.”
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