The people of Iran are suffering ever-increasing hardships under the mullahs who control their government. International sanctions have derailed the country’s economy, causing the price of a bag of fruit to increase tenfold over the past two years while rent has more than quadrupled.
Unsure at times of where their next meal will come from, Iranians have grown more and more desperate. Drug abuse and crime have increased significantly, even in previously safe areas, while the Islamic government has further demoralised its citizens by tightening controls on basic freedoms. All unregistered (prepaid) mobile phones and SIM cards have been turned off, and the government can monitor all calls and text messages made with registered, legal mobile phones.
Christians are specifically targeted, making outreach, discipleship and even arranging a meeting incredibly challenging.
God is working in Iran through the faithful efforts of Iranian Christians. Thousands risk arrest by meeting for worship and studying Scripture together, and dedicated teams are finding creative ways of meeting with those who want more information about Jesus Christ and the Bible.
Iranian Christians continue to boldly and faithfully tell others about Christ and, with the ever-increasing pressure on the people of Iran, more and more are turning their hearts to Christ.
God is working in Iran in miraculous ways too, through dreams, visions and miracles.
Mariam exemplifies how God is saving Iranians from sin and despair.
Mariam was in desperate need of salvation. She was engaged to a violent, abusive man and was so depressed that she took 12 pills a day just to keep going. She had tried unsuccessfully to take her own life five times, feeling worse each time, thinking, “I couldn’t even kill myself!”
When overdosing on medications didn’t work, Mariam decided to hang herself. She took a length of strong wire from some electrical supplies belonging to her brother, who was an electrician, and hid it in her room. Then, one afternoon she locked the door and twisted the wire into a noose.
“If You actually exist,” she told God as she prepared to hang herself, “I want to touch You.” In her mind, she expected to touch God after she was dead. Mariam swallowed all the pills she had left, wrapped the noose around her neck and stepped off her bed.
“For four seconds I called out to Jesus, to God,” she said. “And all of a sudden, just like a little baby is held over the shoulder of the father, I felt like I was over the shoulder of Jesus. I always desired to have been held like that by my father.
“I told [Jesus], ‘Please don’t put me down on the ground. I am scared to have my feet touch the ground.’ I wasn’t even embarrassed, even though this was a man I didn’t know. Somehow I knew that He was Jesus, and He recited Psalm 91 to me. Of course, I didn’t even know what Psalm 91 was.
“He told me, ‘I won’t even let your foot hit a rock, a stone; I am going to protect you. Trust Me.’ At this point I woke up lying on my bed.”
Mariam got off her bed, wondering if the whole thing had been a dream or drug-induced hallucination. But when she looked down, she saw the wire that had been around her neck lying on the floor; the noose had been undone. And when she looked in the mirror, she saw a dark bruise encircling her neck.
Mariam began to cry, understanding that Jesus loved her and had saved her life. She knew, then, that she would follow Him anywhere and do anything He asked of her. Then her tears turned to laughter, as she was overwhelmed with the joy of salvation.
Her family was in shock; they hadn’t seen Mariam even chuckle in many months. As she shared her story of a God who had rescued her and held her close, as a father holds his child, others in her family and even others in her apartment building soon began to follow Jesus Christ.