The Key to Effectively Engaging Muslim Refugees

Afghani believer Mariya Dostzadah Goodbrake shares how God brought her from Sunni Islam, through New Age mysticism and Roman Catholicism, to Christ.

Mariya Dostzadah Goodbrake comes from a Sunni Afghan background, dabbled into New Age mysticism, and found herself surrounded by Roman Catholics in Mexico—and it’s there that God brought her face-to-face with an evangelical Christian and the biblical gospel.

Now, she draws on her rich cultural experiences to help Muslim refugees and expats realize that they don’t have to give up the trappings of their Near Eastern culture to authentically trust and follow Jesus Christ. In this episode, we hear Mariya’s powerful testimony and draw points of insight for those seeking to engage Muslims and other groups in the U.S. through sports outreach, hospitality, and other ways of building relationship.

Mariya is the director of Branch Global, delivering intercultural solutions, diversity and inclusion training, and migrant services. Mariya is the Executive Director of Global FC, a non-profit organization based in Kansas City that uses soccer as a vehicle for transformative impact, supporting refugee youth and families with the tools to overcome obstacles to success. A native from Afghanistan, Mariya was raised in Iran and India, immigrated to Canada with her family, and later to America in 2012. She studied at the University of Toronto in Ontario, Canada in Political Science and International Relations. She is fluent in English, Dari and Farsi.

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Alex Kocman & Scott Dunford

Alex Kocman is the Director of Communications and Engagement for ABWE. He serves as general editor for Message Magazine and co-hosts The Missions Podcast. After earning his M.A. in Communication and B.S. in Biblical Studies, he served as an online apologetics instructor with Liberty University and a youth pastor in Pennsylvania, where he now resides with his wife and three children. Read his blog or follow him on X/Twitter.

Scott Dunford is the pastor of Western Hills Church in San Mateo, Calif. Previously, Scott served as Vice President of Mobilization and Communications for ABWE and as a missionary in East Asia. Scott graduated from Northland International University (B.A. in Pastoral Studies), earned his M.A. in biblical studies from Central Baptist Theological Seminary, his M.B.A. from Cornerstone University, and is currently enrolled in Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s D.Min. program with an emphasis on missions.