Germany

Mountains of Silence

By Derrick Bills
Mar 5, 2019

Fog and silence crawl along the landscape of wide plains and lonely trees. My eyes run through the hills to the singular trees standing out in seas of green, looking forlorn yet stalwart. I try my best to imitate them, mimicking their strength as I plant my feet on the soft ground, letting the silence crawl past. My lips part to free small pockets of air held prisoner in my lungs; my breath’s freedom is short-lived as the wind whisks it away seconds after the cold gives it form.

Bavaria teaches you an important lesson: the quiet can speak volumes if you’re willing to listen. There are seasons when our spiritual lives reflect the melancholy of the trees—periods of waiting for an answer or a semblance of sound, all the while battling the cold as it besieges us with doubt. Walking with God sometimes requires listening to this silence with patience. In doing so, we learn to concern ourselves less with outcomes and more with the act of sojourning alongside our Counterpart.

Fadi Krikor is a man who lives by listening, someone who patiently awaits the voice of God to beckon him through the restless noise that distracts.

“Bavaria teaches you an important lesson: the quiet can speak volumes if you’re willing to listen.”

Born to a Syrian mother and Armenian father, Fadi was raised Christian, an outsider in his home country of Syria. He grew up in the city of Aleppo with the sense that he did not belong to his land. After moving to Germany at the age of 18, Fadi studied architecture at a local university. Over the years he developed a thriving architectural firm, the success of which afforded him to be used by the Lord in unusual ways.

In 2014, Fadi felt led to buy a sprawling monastery outside of Munich. The property became Father’s House for all Nations, a space he has used to create a safe haven for refugees and a meeting hub for ministries and leaders from around the world. At the Father’s House for all Nations, Fadi draws nations together to pray, seek the face of God, and act according to the Spirit’s guidance.

Just like the land in which he lives, Fadi has embraced silence and listened closely. In this quiet, he’s seen the hand of God move mountains. Fighting for the good of refugees in one instance, buying an entire monastery in another, Fadi has a story that offers encouragement for those eager to learn how to listen when God speaks.

Tell me about your spiritual upbringing and journey into faith.

I grew up in a Christian family, so from the beginning the Bible and Jesus were always the main things in our lives. My knowledge about the Bible was deep because church was our cultural center, our political center; everything was Christianity for us. [After coming] to Germany, I had a kind of crisis in my life, from 2001 to 2003, and 2004 was a year of significant change in my life. All that I knew about the Lord in my head and in my brain went down to my heart.

The Lord allowed me to have a kind of supernatural experience with him—[the kind that] Paul talks about when he says, “I went to the third heaven,” or what John saw in the book of Revelation. As Jesus said, we are in this world but not from this world. So being always also in the supernatural, that was a new understanding and a totally new world for me. My spirit was expanding and expanding, and I started to see more and more that everything is coming out of love. The whole creation was a thought of love in the Father’s heart.

“The whole creation was a thought of love in the Father’s heart.”

A new season of my life started as I tried to understand what it means that the Bible is a living Word. I started to discover things in the Word that I did not see before. A new journey started for me in 2004, and that was a huge step in my faith, a change not of my faith but in its depth—to be rooted in the love of Christ and to understand what that means. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and what is the end of wisdom? That’s the love of the Lord.

How has this Divine Love led you to show love to others?

In 2014 the Lord said to me, “Go to Malaysia.” Malaysia is an Islamic state, and my ancestors were killed a hundred years ago because they were Christian by Muslims from the Ottoman Empire.

Everything in my heart and mind was saying, “You cannot love these people.” But the Lord said, “Go.” Suddenly in my heart I felt the whole pain of my ancestors, how they were killed, how they were slaughtered. I started to cry, and then the Lord led me to a scripture where he cries for Zion. So I said, “Lord, you are crying for your people in Zion, but we are talking about Muslims who killed my family.” And the Lord said, “They are also my children,” and that touched my heart very deeply. It’s nothing new, but for me it was a new revelation—or the time had come for me to be prepared this way.

So I went to Malaysia, and it was an amazing time because of the love the Lord had put in my heart—not in my mind—for the people there. I was there for just a few days, and out of that a few families became Christian. My background is coming from the Arabic world, speaking Arabic, which for Muslims is very unique and a kind of holy thing. That, [combined] with the love of the Father to embrace them—that was one of my first experiences of how love can change people.


Tell me about the period of time between Malaysia and when you purchased the monastery.

Going to Malaysia was key to healing my heart and starting to release the source of love for Muslims, not knowing really that my calling would bring me back to my roots and to the Middle East and to the Arabic world. After God healed my heart toward Muslims, in my daily prayer time I suddenly started to hear the Lord in 2014. He said, “Buy a monastery,” which was a very weird thought for me. He kept telling me that for almost two weeks, so I began to look for a monastery.

I started to Google and saw that a Catholic church was selling real estate eight kilometers from my home. I went to look at it and I felt in my spirit that it was not what the Lord wanted me to buy. I asked [the seller], “Do you have a monastery to sell?” He laughed at me and said, “No, where would I get a monastery?”

I went home, but the Lord didn’t let go. He was telling me, “Buy a monastery.” After a week, I called this guy again and I said, “Sorry for bothering you, but do you have a monastery to sell?”

And he said to me, “Just three days ago we got a monastery to sell. It is 20 kilometers from your home.”

There were just four nuns there between the ages of 78 and 91, and they were giving up the monastery because there were no more young nuns coming in. I looked at the place—it was huge, very expensive, very old, and I had no clue what I was going to do with it. Before I left, the mother of the house said to me, “Every three months, Sister Gloria, the mother of the Order, comes from California; she visits the Pope and then she comes here. When she is here, we will call you.”

A few weeks later I got a call: “Sister Gloria is here, please come,” so I went. Sister Gloria shared with me that there were 20 organizations interested in buying the monastery, and they all had amazing plans for what they wanted to do with it. She asked me what my plan was, and I told her I didn’t have one. For me it was very, very embarrassing, and I was just looking for this meeting to come to an end so I could go home. I thought to myself, “Really, now it’s over.”

Three months later, I got a call: “Sister Gloria is here, please come.” So I went again, and then Sister Gloria said, “Out of the 20 [interested buyers], we have four and you are one of them. Do you have a plan now?”

And I said, “No I don’t have a plan.”

Three months later I got another call: “Sister Gloria is here,” so I went. She said, “For the last three months, 250 nuns in California and Mexico were praying, and we all heard from the Holy Spirit that we have to sell it to you. Do you have a plan now?”

I said, “No.” So they sold it to me, I bought it, and a new journey began.

Fadi_Krikor

 

How have you seen God use this place?

In 2014 refugees began coming to Germany, from Syria mainly. In Germany we have around 1.5 million refugees, mainly Muslims, young people.

In 2015 missionaries came to Munich for a global gathering. They asked for my help to support Arabic-speaking churches. But I didn’t feel like that was my part. The next year an American missionary came here to visit me at the monastery. He said, “I visited almost 80 churches in Germany, and they all have amazing programs to help refugees, but they are not able to bring them the Gospel because of the language and culture [barriers]. We need to help Germany in this crisis.”

Again I said, “I don’t feel like it’s my part.” But while I was saying that, I felt like the Lord was telling me to go to Egypt. I called a friend in Cairo and told him I was coming and asked him to gather some people who could help us in Germany. He said to me, “Fadi, that’s in a few days. I don’t know if I can get the people.”

Two days later, he called me and he said, “Fadi, you would not believe it. Sixteen missions organizations want to meet you on Saturday. Normally you’d have to wait two years to get them, and for the presidents you’d have to wait even longer, but all of them are coming!”

I flew to Egypt and met 16 missions organizations for three hours, and then I flew back to Germany. Around five weeks later, we had our first meeting here in the monastery.

From that first meeting until now, we have brought around 450 missionaries to the monastery, sending them to over one-hundred German churches. They bring the Gospel to refugees in this area. Out of that, around 10,000 people from the Muslim backgrounds have become Christian.

Our next step was to start a discipleship school here at the monastery for the people we felt could lead a house church. So we started to bring refugees to the monastery and teach them how to lead house churches. In 2018, we took a third step and began offering a theology school so that they can lead Arabic-speaking churches.


It sounds like listening to God is one of the most transformative parts of your life. How do you practice this listening?

The most important thing is just be with him. I’m not looking to do a job for God. My heart is just to be with him, that’s all. And of this intimacy with him, when he knows that you are not looking for anything, he’ll say to do something and you’ll do it because you love him.

For me it’s really the most and highest quality when I do something to just spend time with him. That is the joy, that is everything, because at the end of the day the question will not be, “How much did you do for me?” The question will be, “How much of your heart belonged to me?”

“At the end of the day the question will not be, ‘How much did you do for me?’ The question will be, ‘How much of your heart belonged to me?'”

What is your vision for the monastery’s future?

I see it being used as a place where the Lord is forging strategies for the nations.

Sister Gloria came to see what was going on with the monastery six months [after we bought it], and she came with a priest of the Catholic Church. As they visited me I shared what was going on and she cried. She said to me, “Five years we were praying, ‘Lord keep this place,’ and we didn’t understand why it didn’t work, why we had to leave. But when I hear what you are telling me, I know it’s continuing on in another way.” The priest was sitting beside her and said to her, “There are two places in Germany—just two places—that I know God will always be there whatever happens. This is one of them.”


How would you encourage Christians who feel overwhelmed by the needs of the world, including the refugee crisis and conflicts in the Middle East?

The question “How can I be used?” is normal, and I went through a process to learn that that’s not the right question.

For me it was a hard time coming from the process of obedience to the point [of just] loving [God]. I started my new relationship with the Lord in 2004. [At first] I was forcing myself to spend time with him, hours everyday, and it was not easy. And then after a while I said to the Lord, “You say the life of a Christian is full of joy and victory, but I don’t see that—all I see is that I’m forcing myself. Where is the joy and the victory?”

And then he said to me, “Pray everyday that your flesh dies and that I become more.” So that was my prayer everyday. And out of this time that I went into another stage, it was no more about obeying, it was more about becoming. My desire is to be with him, my desire is like his desire. So it is really a transformation of the nature, and that makes a new creation.

“It was no more about obeying, it was more about becoming.”

What gives you hope for Syria and its people?

When I think about Syria, I am so joyful because I see what the outcome is. I think about Jesus going to the cross, and he sees the bride that will come out of his resurrection—it must be such a joy. I feel a small part of that when I see what is going on in Syria. God’s plans, people, favor…he is opening doors and something is starting. It is always about a seed, and the seed is going to be a tree, a strong tree, giving a lot of fruit.