The Iranian government is one of the most oppressive regimes in the world.
The Islamic Revolution of 1979, led by Ayatollah Khomeini, created the world’s only Shiite Islamic theocracy, and profoundly changed every aspect of life in Iran. Today, many of those who committed their lives to Islam and Islamic rule are filled with despair. This disillusionment has opened new doors for the Gospel, which is sweeping across the nation via Christian media and bold evangelists in Iran’s growing house church movements.
It is illegal to leave Islam, and Christians face the constant threat of imprisonment and being falsely charged with “acting against national security”. It is illegal to own, print, import or distribute Bibles. Since they are so difficult to obtain, Bibles are treasured by Iranian believers. The need for Bibles for this fast-growing church is extensive and the request for Bibles is at an all-time high.
In spite of COVID restrictions, our ministry partners were able to smuggle 49,000 Bibles into Iran in 2021 alone. Their ambitious target for 2022 is to smuggle 100,000 Bibles.
God’s precious Word is secretly taken across the border and given to Christian leaders to distribute to both Muslim background believers and Muslim seekers who are curious to know more about the Gospel.
Merab, 47, is a factory worker but he lost his job after the factory was forced to close during the pandemic. Unable to cope with the bleak situation, his wife left soon after. Merab began to sell his furniture and other personal items, just to survive. He became deeply depressed. In an attempt to cope, he started to gamble and indulge in drugs. Merab lost almost all the money he had remaining and started to feel both desperate and alone.
One day, while he was on his way to a friend’s house, a car pulled up beside him. The driver was a friend, Niaz. They had worked in the same factory until Niaz had been fired after he was caught stealing. Niaz offered Merab a lift. As they drove and talked, Merab noticed that Niaz had changed – he was speaking in a way Merab had not heard him speak before. He was very positive; he also kept praising God. When asked about the change, Niaz replied that he had given his life to the Lord Jesus and, since then, his life had drastically improved.
Niaz showed Merab a Bible that he had been given and told him how his life was changed because of the truth and love in it. Intrigued, Merab asked to borrow it. He went home with it and instead of going out to gamble as he had planned, he started to read and he continued to read the Bible for two days.
Merab phoned Niaz and asked him to visit to explain more to him. Niaz gladly agreed. During the visit, he convinced Merab to join a discipleship group nearby. After a few weeks, Merab gave his life to the Lord.
Merab’s life has forever changed. He now knows the Lord for himself and has become optimistic about his life and future. He has now moved to another area and found a new job. He attends a house church nearby. Here, he continues to grow in knowledge, wisdom and understanding. He is also witnessing the lives of others like him being transformed by the Word of God.
SALVATION BRINGS HEALING
Anaar, 38, is married with a five-year-old child. He owns a custom design engraving business. As a devout Muslim, he had spent many years formally studying the Koran but, in recent years, he started to feel restless. He had so many questions about life but, in all the years of studying, he had never felt satisfied. He decided to leave the Koranic school where he had been enrolled.
Soon after, Anaar’s brother developed cancer. Anaar was told by the family, the reason for his brother’s illness was that Anaar had stopped studying Islam and, in doing so, had brought bad luck to the family. In fear, he returned to the school.
In addition to studying, Anaar would pray for hours, asking Allah to help his brother. His brother’s condition did not improve, and he soon started chemotherapy. Anaar felt enormous guilt and responsibility for his brother’s suffering.
One day, a man named Sajeel came to Anaar’s shop to order 100 wooden-backed metal crosses, plus one cross engraved with,
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 (KJV)
As Anaar was working on the order, he began to ask himself about God’s son: Who is he? Where is he? When Sajeel came to check on the order, Anaar spoke to him about his questions. They continued to speak for two hours. At the end of the conversation, Anaar was presented with a Bible.
Over the next few days, Anaar read with great enthusiasm. As he did, he started to feel like his questions about life were being answered. He began to see that Sajeel’s God was the real God.
When Sajeel came to collect the order, Anaar told him he wanted to become a Christian and give his life to Jesus. Sajeel prayed with Anaar which included a prayer for his brother’s health, in the name of Jesus.
After a few days Anaar’s brother received the news that, in spite of the doctor’s original prognosis, his cancer had gone. He no longer needed to undergo chemotherapy. Anaar shared with his family about his new faith and the prayers to Jesus for his brother. Through this miracle, his entire family came to know the Lord.