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The Lookout | February 26, 2021

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Refugee to share experiences in book

Refugee to share experiences in book
  • On October 25, 2018

By Ashlee Buhler
Editor in Chief

Thirteen years in prison.

That would have been the fate of LCC student Josh Ehm if he didn’t flee from his native country of Iran.

Ehm was raised as a Muslim by a very religious family. However at a young age he began to question everything.

After discovering the Bible at age 21, he made the decision to convert to Christianity — a decision opposed by both his family and his country. So he took a courageous leap of faith that would leave him with no family, friends or a place to call home.

“I went to jail a few times and the last time I didn’t want to go to jail anymore,” Ehm said. “So I just escaped the country and went to Turkey. I became a refugee and then I came (to the United States) in July of 2014.”

Once settled in the U.S., Ehm was constantly faced with questions about his past. With a little bit of persuasion from family and friends, he decided to write a book to share his story with the rest of the world.

The name of the book is “27 months.” The title signifies the total amount of time that Ehm spent behind bars for attempting to change his faith.

The book will detail his life, starting as a child growing up in a radical Muslim family. He said he plans to explain the process of converting to Christianity, what life was like in an Iranian jail, and how he ultimately escaped the country.

Ehm said he hopes the book will be released in the summer of 2019.

Celeste Ehm, Josh’s adoptive mother, helped him write the book. The two met in the LCC Learning Commons, where Celeste is a professional tutor. As an ESOL student (English for Speakers of Other Languages), Ehm would frequently go there to seek help with his assignments.

“While discussing the topic of his written assignment, we both understood that our hearts and minds shared a common bond,” Celeste said. “As the weeks continued, I decided I wanted my husband and Joshua to meet, because I knew they would share this bond as well.

“The three of us spent incredible amounts of time together talking about the deepest matters of the heart. In time, our other adult kids got to know Joshua and he eventually started calling us Mom and Dad.”

On Feb. 2, 2018, Ehm was officially adopted into the family. This is the first time he has had a family in 14 years.

Celeste said the Ehm family is very proud of Josh and look forward to seeing his story get published.

“Joshua is not just an LCC student; he’s a student of life,” she said. “He’s had enough experiences to have lived 60 years, and he’s learned from every single one of them.

“His book reveals that no experience of his has been wasted. Joshua loves people, and in his book he shares the deepest, rawest parts of his heart because he wants other people to know the power of God and how he can change hearts and lives.

“It’s about his life, and we believe he has an important story to tell. In fact, he was born to tell it.”