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Coincidence or God?
Ramy Braun Knew that God was calling him to a better life. All he had to do was read the signs.

As he travelled home on the bus, Ramy Braun's mind was racing. He had recently moved to Toronto from Winnipeg, but it wasn't working out. He was tired of the party scene, and worried about the emptiness he felt inside.

Out of the corner of his eye he spied a book that had been left on the seat. It was a New Testament with a 12-step recovery guide. He took it home and began reading it every night. "It gave me comfort," he says. "I felt a peace that I could not explain.

"I was at a dead end in my life. I had made many bad choices. Reading the Bible made me resolve to change my life. I left the people who were a bad influence on me and started working at a bakery. It kept me busy, but there was still something missing."

Ramy knew that he needed God in his life. But he didn't know where to start. "My family was Muslim, and I believed I had to earn God's love by doing good things."

Then one night at work he had a terrible accident. His fingers jammed in the machine and were cut to shreds. Rushed to the hospital, Ramy's fingers were stitched and bandaged. "I was off work due to this injury and I felt terribly alone. I went for a walk and prayed to God to help me."

Sitting on a park bench, Ramy spotted the Salvation Army Yorkwoods Community Church. The next morning he called the pastor who invited him to attend. "That day in church I asked God to forgive me for my sins and help me. I began attending Bible study. God brought understanding to my mind through the encouragement of people at the church."

Ramy was still torn between what God had revealed to him through the Bible and his family's faith. "I questioned whether God was trying to send me a message or if it was just coincidence." A series of miraculous occurrenced confirmed that God was indeed speaking to Ramy.

The first happened the night before the Muslim holy period of Ramadan. "My dad suggested I visit a mosque. I located one on the Internet, but when I went to the address, there was no mosque there. Conflicted, I cried out to God: 'Please tell me, what is the truth?' I went to a payphone to call information. I found a booklet there entitled How to Get to Heaven. It explained that we are all sinners, but Jesus died and rose again so that we may have eternal life."

A few weeks later, Ramy was talking to his mother on the phone. "She was happy that I had given up my bad habits. She wanted to cook a lamb to celebrate the change in my life. I asked her if it was like a sacrifice. I explained to her that Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice for our sins." Suddenly there was a knock on the door. Two women handed Ramy a piece of paper with the verse: "For god so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16).

Coincidence or God?
Ramy runs the after-school program
at Yorkwoods.

Another night, Ramy was walking in the park. "As I neared the bridge, I felt a peace in my heart … the quiet rushing water, the fresh air, the soft wind. I fell on my knees and asked God: 'Please, reveal yourself to me.' As I opened my eyes, I saw on the bridge a painted cross.

"This was more than just coincidence; it was God showing me the way. The reason I hae joy in my heart today is because of Jesus."

In February 2002 Ramy met Rosa Penaranda and her daughter, Kelly. On May 24, 2003, Ramy and Rosa were married at Yorkwoods Church, and were soon expecting a baby. In July 2003 Ramy got a job as a Salvation Army truck driver, delivering food to needy families.

Since then—Ramy's pastor, Captain Justin Bradbury, has hired him to lead a children's after-school program at Yorkwoods. Each weekday, Ramy provides a snack, homework help, activity time and Bible lessons for 20 children. "I encourage them to grow in self-esteem and to draw close to God," says Ramy.

"Whenever I need to be reminded of God's love for me, I look back at the amazing things Jesus has done for me. I know Jesus is alive and is calling each one of us, because He loves us all the same."

Geoff Moulton is the editor of Faith & Friends.

Originally published in Faith & Friends, April 2004.

Used with permission of the author. Copyright © 2005




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