An insight into how church and worship work in a country where Christianity is not exactly legal
Hi, my name is Tejas. I’ve lived in Qatar for the past 17 years. I’m 21 years old, so I’ve lived in the Middle East pretty much my whole life. It’s all I’ve ever known, even as far as the church goes. I’ve never lived in a country where freedom of religious expression is a thing, so I don’t know what that’s like. What I do know, is what church looks like in this part of the world.
Many of you reading this will be the exact opposite of me – you probably will have grown up in a country with free religious expression, where churches and things are normal. It’s likely that you have no idea what church would look like where I’m at – just like I have no idea what church looks like where y’all are at. This is my attempt to bridge that gap. But first, a little about me so you get the whole picture.
Possibly the biggest reason for my extended stay in the Middle East is the healthcare. I was born with Hemophilia A: a genetic condition wherein blood does not have the ability to clot. With this condition, severe injury, disability and fatality are all much more imminent than without. Often times, climbing stairs has landed me in the emergency room because of the internal bleeding complications that arose after reaching the top floor. That’s one example. I’ve also been seriously injured by opening doors.
Treatment for this condition is not cheap. The treatment I receive today costs roughly $15,000 per week. This is how I know my God is alive and at work: at a very young age, before any real complications from this condition could arise, He moved my family to Qatar – where the healthcare for this condition, and others like it, is completely free. Had I grown up where I was born, India, I would be either severely disabled, or dead by now.
God is good. This is what He has done for me before I even knew Him. The least I can do is try to love and serve Him and His people with the rest of my life.