Despite Risk, She Plans To Return Home And Share Jesus (+podcast) | Positive Encouraging K-LOVE (2024)

Smyrna Pervez Masih and her family left Pakistan after persecution made life difficult. It was a particularly unsafe environment for the four girls in the Masih household.

After years living as refugees in Thailand, and later moving to Sri Lanka, Smyrna’s family learned it might be possible to live in America. Smyrna immediately knew it would be important to know the English language - and the fascinating way she learned English actually increased her faith in Jesus.

“I didn’t know English,” explains Smyrna, “I knew the alphabet, but not as much that I could make a sentence out of it, or I could make words out of it.” And school was not a possibility at the time. Being determined, she asked a pastor if she could borrow an English bible. Smyrna was thrilled to have the opportunity. The bible was a King James Version, which gave her a bit of a formal approach to English, not contemporary, but definitely useful.

She would focus on a few English words at a time from the bible and “pull up Google Translator” to “try and find meanings in Urdu” (her native Pakistani language) so she could understand the word's intent. This focused research took place in the middle of many nights because the family only had Internet access from midnight to 7:00 a.m.

Smyrna also watched American pastors on YouTube “and I would like try to catch their accent and understand what they’re saying.” She would get a little sleep, “and then I would wake up in the morning and teach my sisters” what she had learned the night before. So, they were not only learning English, but also reinforcing their knowledge of God’s word.

During the years of not knowing what was next, or where the family would end up, “Jesus was everything…He was like the only thing we had at that moment. Prayer and fasting and his presence was all we had.”

Once in the United States, Smyrna was too old for traditional high school, so she went to night school online to earn her diploma, and did so in less than 18 months! Moving ahead, the Masih family was led to Mishawaka, Indiana, the home of Bethel University, a private Christian school. “I love Bethel in every sense and every way. Bethel has helped me with my character and my relationship with the Lord.” She is a Christian ministry major, with a minor in psychology.

This academic year Smyrna was one of 29 Indiana students to receive a “Realizing the Dream” scholarship, made possible by Lilly Endowment -- a considerable honor.

Smyrna’s father was an active pastor in Pakistan and still serves the Urdu community by way of Zoom and Skype. Smyrna shares that after graduation, “My goal is to be in ministry and comfort people.” She hopes to return to Pakistan and help young people who believe in Jesus to understand what their Savior and religion are all about, that “it’s such an honor to be a Christian and such an honor to be a child of God,” even in a country where they might feel secondary.

In our complete podcast interview, just below, Smyrna shares her story and her heart for her family and Jesus. Be encouraged.

Despite Risk, She Plans To Return Home And Share Jesus (+podcast) | Positive Encouraging K-LOVE (1)

Despite Risk, She Plans To Return Home And Share Jesus (+podcast) | Positive Encouraging K-LOVE (2)

Bethel University is a private, Christian university located in Mishawaka, Indiana. We offer over 50 areas of study in undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Our community is dedicated to guiding students on their academic journey while building relationships that last a lifetime.

Founded in 1947 by a group of Missionary Church visionaries, their goal was to educate leaders to serve the world. In the seven decades that have passed since then, Bethel University has succeeded in that mission! While some things have changed on campus, we’ve continued to be intentional as we guide students along their spiritual journey and path to academic success in some key ways:

  • Spiritual formation of our students is about creating a holistic approach for each student’s spiritual journey and personal discovery. That starts with being true to God and his word.
  • Mentoring is a key part of the Bethel community, where students have opportunities to connect with their peers, faculty, staff and even alumni. At Bethel, students build lifelong relationships that will continue well past graduation.
  • Academics in over 50 areas of study provide students with opportunities to explore, grow and prepare for their future careers. Each field of study is rich with knowledgeable professors seeking to equip students for success.
Despite Risk, She Plans To Return Home And Share Jesus (+podcast) | Positive Encouraging K-LOVE (3)
Despite Risk, She Plans To Return Home And Share Jesus (+podcast)  | Positive Encouraging K-LOVE (2024)
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