YEAR BORN: 1960
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: LEBANON
HISTORY: KUNG FU EXPERT
I grew up in Rmaysh, near the border between Israel and Lebanon, during a time of civil war. I have vivid memories of land-mine explosions and innocent victims with missing limbs. Life was hard, and crime and violence were widespread.
Our family belonged to the Maronite Church, one of the Eastern Catholic Churches. Father was always busy providing materially for our family of 12, but Mother made sure that the rest of us went to church. In time, I began to feel that the church, like society in general, failed to support the weak.
During my teenage years, I developed an interest in kung fu. I went through rigorous training and became skilled at delivering hand and foot blows and at using various martial arts weapons. I thought to myself, ‘I cannot stop the war, but I can at least try to stop violent people.’ Whenever I saw two people fighting, I immediately interfered. I was quick-tempered by nature, and it did not take much to make me angry. People all over southern Lebanon were afraid of me, as I was fighting my own war against injustice and violence.
In 1980, I joined a kung fu club in Beirut. Bombs, shells, and rockets fell daily, but I still went for my training. My life was all about eating, sleeping, and living like Bruce Lee, a Chinese-American actor and kung fu champion. I copied his hairstyle, his way of walking, and his style of shouting when he performed kung fu. I never smiled.
HOW THE BIBLE CHANGED MY LIFE:
My goal was to become a kung fu professional in China. One evening, as I was training hard in preparation for the trip to China, I heard a knock on the door. A friend had come by with two of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Dressed in a black training suit, with sweat rolling down my body, I told them, “I know nothing about the Bible.” Little did I know that from that moment on, my life was going to change.
The Witnesses showed me from the Bible why humans on their own can never succeed in completely eliminating injustice and violence. They explained that Satan the Devil is the real cause of such problems. (Revelation 12:12) I was impressed by the peace and confidence that the Witnesses radiated. And I was touched when they taught me that God has a name. (Psalm 83:18) They also showed me 1 Timothy 4:8, which reads: “Physical training is beneficial for a little, but godly devotion is beneficial for all things, as it holds promise of the life now and the life that is to come.” Those words came to have a great impact on my life.
Sadly, I lost contact with the Witnesses, since my family told them not to come back. Even so, I made up my mind to stop practicing kung fu and to start studying the Bible. My brothers did not like the idea, but I was determined to find Jehovah’s Witnesses again and study the Bible with them.
I continued looking for the Witnesses but could not find them. In the meantime, I was deeply saddened by the sudden death of my father, as well as other family tragedies. I had started working at a construction company, and one day a coworker by the name of Adel stopped me and asked why I looked so sad. He began to talk about the Bible’s hope of a resurrection. For the next nine months, this loving, kind Witness patiently studied the Bible with me.
As the study progressed, I began to see the need for making big changes in my personality. It was not easy. I was always irritable and easily provoked. From the Bible I learned how to control my temper and not act on every impulse. For example, Matthew 5:44 contains Jesus’ counsel: “Continue to love your enemies and to pray for those who persecute you.” And Romans 12:19 warns: “Do not avenge yourselves, . . . for it is written: ‘“Vengeance is mine; I will repay,” says Jehovah.’” Those scriptures and others helped me slowly to gain peace within myself.
HOW I HAVE BENEFITED:
Although my family initially opposed my decision to study with Jehovah’s Witnesses, they have come to respect the Witnesses. In fact, one of my brothers has joined me in worship of Jehovah, and until her death, Mother defended our faith to others.
I have also been blessed with a wonderful, loyal wife, Anita, who is my dear partner in the full-time ministry. Since the year 2000, Anita and I have lived in Eskilstuna, Sweden, where we help teach the Bible to people who speak Arabic.
My heart still goes out to people who suffer because of violence. But knowing the real reason for it
My wife and I are very happy in the ministry. We love to teach others about Jehovah