|Tesir and Kristi
My name is Tesir Alhussaini.
I was born in Baghdad in 1984. I was the middle child in a family of seven children.
At the beginning of the Gulf War, we fled Iraq and went to a refugee camp where we lived for the better part of five years.
After some time, my father decided it was time to move. He had received several death threats against himself and our family, because of his involvement with the rebellion against Saddam’s regime.
We left the refugee camp and came out to the United States in 1995. We lived in Arizona for six months, before making permanent residency in Seattle, Washington.
I always watched my parents fight for our lives. They always worked so hard to provide a better life for us. When I was young, I would watch my dad work three jobs, while at night, I would help my mom with a newspaper route.
Compared to Iraq, I felt like life was so much simpler in the U.S. I remember thinking that if you wanted something, it was yours for the taking – as long as you worked for it. My dad would always say, “Anything you can set your mind to, you can accomplish in America. It’s one of the few countries of the world where you can fail and, the next morning, get back up and try again. So it’s pointless not to at least try.”
I grew up in very devout Muslim home. But I will always be thankful for the things my parents taught me -lessons from the Koran and from their own lives. They always made sure we kept our culture alive within the confines of our home. We kept speaking our language, we kept practicing our religion, and they always taught us to honor those who didn’t deserve it. We were taught to go above and beyond.
They taught us to love. They taught us to extend our hands. They always taught us to help your neighbors and to stand by your family. We were taught to help the poor and to watch over the widows and the orphans.
I saw my mom and dad work so hard and then, turn around, and give their earnings to the widows and the orphans. At times, when there was very little to give, they would still give all they had.
Little did I know, but they were teaching me a way of life that I would encounter years later….
Meanwhile, I was very involved in wrestling and it was there that I encountered many men whom I looked up to. One of them was a man named Brandon who was a gold medal Olympic star. I looked up to him so much and he always told me, “God is proud of you and loves you.” Because of him, I ended up attending a Christian wrestling camp. Remember, though, at this point I was still very much a Muslim. He respected that, though.
Right after high school, though, I stopped pursing wrestling and became very involved in the family business – even, though, I had scholarships. It was an honorable thing to do, to stay and help my father with the business that he built from nothing.
But, at this time, I began to run into some problems with the family. Some of the problems weren’t my family, but from my own life and my friends. I began to drink heavily, even though I had grown up believing alcohol was strictly against Muslim law. I also began to get into drugs. It was a very dark time in my life. There would be days when I would wake up somewhere and not know how I had gotten there.
This was heartbreaking to my parents. They reached out and tried to help me. I remember my dad crying and asking what he could do to help me. It was one of the few times I have ever seen my father cry.
Then, in the midst of this time in my life, I got a phone call from a man. His name was Anton. He asked me how I was doing and I trusted him enough to give him an honest answer.
There was a reason I trusted him, though. I had this distinct memory from years ago, when I was still in high school, and our coach asked the team, “Who wants to grow up to be like their dad?” And out of the fifty guys in the room, only one person raised their hand. It was Anton’s son. I never forgot that. So when Anton asked if I would come work for him, my answer was yes.
This put me on a path that would end up changing my entire life. As I worked with Anton, we developed a relationship, and through this he invited me to his church. At this time, I was still a Muslim, but I was no longer drinking or doing drugs. When he asked me to come, I said yes out of fear - fear that I could lose my job, but also out of honor for him. I didn't want to disappoint a man I looked up to.
Up until that point, Christianity was strictly a Western religion to me. It was nonsense. Jesus was not a god and, even if He was, He should have never died on the cross for us. We didn’t deserve it.
I ended up attending church with Anton and his family and, my girlfriend at the time, Kristi. She and I were going through a very difficult time and the speaker that morning was giving prophetic words. I wasn’t even sure what he was doing or what this was all about. My thought process while he was prophesying was, “When did Kristi get a chance to talk to him about our problems?” Meanwhile, I would watch people fall backwards, laugh, and cry – for hours. I thought to myself, “This is totally different kind of bar scene.”
Then the speaker called me up. I remember thinking that he if were to try and touch me that I would punch him. Before he even laid a hand on me (I believe he never did), I fell backwards and was completely out. I was in another place.
I was lying on my back on an ocean shore. I felt like a bottle being washed up on the sand. I could feel the waves hitting up against me. As they did, I heard a voice and all it said to me was, “Tesir, I love you. I’m proud of you. I’m well pleased with you. You’re my beloved son. I will never leave you or forsake you….”
Suddenly, I woke up. I was in the middle of the church, lying on the floor. But I could still feel the waves hit up against me. I went to get up and someone came over to help me. His name was Sean. Little did I know, he was going to father me into the ways of the supernatural. He took me to every crusade and conference where the presence of God went far beyond anything I’d ever experienced.
I came to a fork in the road. The vision on the beach was my conversion experience and that night I accepted Jesus Christ as my savior. I knew I had to tell my parents, but I was very aware of the consequences. I struggled with it for six months. I didn’t want to disappoint my parents or bring dishonor to our family. But I knew that they needed to know. It was the right thing to do. I couldn’t disown my family, but I also couldn’t disown Christ.
I’d seen Christ in a dream. I’d seen miracles. They were things I’d never encountered before and it made it impossible to deny Christ.
So I told them. After the cat was out of the bag, I lost everything I ever had or ever knew.
My family, friends, and community disowned me. All I could do was turn to Jesus. He would take me through seasons of my life where I would have heavenly encounters, where I would see angelic activity in my room, and, on the flip side, very strong demonic activity, as well.
I was unaware that this was all preparing me to minister to others. The seasons I endured, the areas I kept hidden, he walked through with me and, in turn, it showed me how to walk others through it. Because of what I have went through, I’m able to walk besides others through difficult seasons of their life.
One very important example is a time in my childhood when I was raped over the course of three years by three different men. It began to warp my understanding of sex. I thought any and all kinds of sexual intercourse were permissible. After the abuse ended, I hid this whole experience from everybody for many years. Until, I heard Father God tell me, “Tesir, the very thing you’ve hidden your whole life, is the first thing I want to do deal with….” I had no problem listening to this and obeying him, but I was very scared of God the Father. I wasn’t bothered my Jesus, but Father God scared me. This had a lot to do with the experiences I had with my own father.
Because of myself allowing Him to heal me, I’ve learned to commune with God and to be vulnerable with Him. It has changed my life.
Looking back, the things my parents taught me, the values they instilled in me, were the very things Christ would teach me. All things do work together for good in the end.
As the years went by and I walked more closely with the Lord, life continued to change. I married Kristi and we have had three wonderful boys together. We moved from Seattle to Des Moines, Iowa in 2009. Out of all the places in the nation I had to ask why Iowa?
All I knew was that I was supposed to go. He never told me why.
But then, one morning, we drove into the state limits. And we saw the sign that welcomed you into the state and it said Iowa: the Land of Opportunities. Then I remembered that crazy movie where they said, “If you build it, they will come.” Then I said, “God, my life is in your hands.”
I was unaware that the next few years would involve more difficulty, more pain, and more uncertainty. I can’t even tell you how many times I questioned God about why we had moved to Iowa. I remember three or four guest speakers at our church and whenever they came, they always picked on me and said that Iowa was my home. It always upset me, but I knew that they were right.
Then, one guest speaker, Bob Hazlett told me, “Son, eat your spinach.” I knew exactly what it meant. I needed to follow what God was telling me and do what He told me.
We have been in Iowa for almost five years, now. I have my own business, I have many friends, and I have learned to love Iowa. It is home to me.
Looking back on my life, I’m thankful for what God has done in my life and the things He has walked through with me. We have three wonderful sons who love Jesus and talk about Him all the time. But it is also on my heart to be a father to the fatherless. I feel God has put this on my heart and it is what I am trying to walk out in obedience to my heavenly Father.
Years ago, in the refugee camp, we had very dry pita bread and watermelon. My dad would take the bread and try to wrap it around the watermelon to soften the bread for us kids. I remember him saying, “Remember this moment. One day you will eat like kings.”
And, right now, I can truly say, in more ways than one, we do live like kings.
Thank you so much, Tesir, for your transparency and for sharing your testimony. I appreciate the love and honor you have for your parents and for all the beautiful things that they instilled within you. Your life has blessed our life in so many ways. We are so thankful that God led you and your family here.