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Iran: Open Hearts

Iran: Open Hearts

Some of the people who help distribute Bibles in Iran are taxi or Uber drivers. Just a few weeks ago one of these drivers picked up a husband and wife who happened to both work at a local hospital.

While in the backseat, they were complaining about how bad the COVID-19 situation is. In their frustration, they expressed anger towards God. They also shared disappointment with their government’s response and lack of supplies to treat people.

The driver could tell they were stressed, exhausted and frustrated with the whole situation. He let them finish venting and then began to give his thoughts.

He agreed this is a very sad and difficult situation, but he also said he has peace and hope in the midst of the chaos. He began to talk about his God, a God of love, compassion and peace.

He spent three hours with this couple sharing the Gospel, ultimately leading them to Jesus. He gave them a Bible and continues to keep in contact with them.

This couple is on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19; testing and treating patients in Iran. As new Christians, they have an incredible zeal to share Jesus and the hope they have found in Him. They are now praying for every patient they see and offering them a Bible.

It is not just their patients. They are praying for and sharing the Gospel with other workers at the hospital. They even started a prayer group that meets in the hospital.

They do not receive any negative pressure from people around them, people are open and friendly towards this Good News.

The seed sown into this couple’s life is now multiplying to people around them. The hearts of people in Iran are ready. This couple has incredible boldness but that is the point. Now is the time to be bold in Iran.

One of the Iranian leaders who helps direct the Bible distributions shared some astonishing information.

He said, in this nation that is 99% Muslim, they usually receive up to 800 requests for Bibles each month. Since the pandemic started, the requests for Bibles have increased to as much as 1,200 every month.

This is a tremendous indicator that the hearts of people are open to Jesus right now.

VOM Australia’s ministry partner is actively involved in distributing God’s Word in Iran. In the last few years, they have distributed more than 100,000 Bibles.

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IRAN: Church Growth in the Pandemic

IRAN: Church Growth in the Pandemic

While COVID-19 has ravaged Iran’s government and economy, a popular Christian satellite channel is reporting an upsurge in Iranian Muslims converting to Christianity.

Mohabat TV has recorded 10 times more salvation decisions online than this time last year, with 3,000 Iranians coming to Christ every month since March.

“We have seen an increase in our online traffic from inside Iran,” said Mike Ansari, director of operations for Mohabat TV. “That’s why we call this the pandemic of hope.”

Ansari said that the Iranian government has increased internet bandwidth in order to keep Iranians at home during the pandemic. Many Iranians are going online to research alternatives to what the government is telling them.

“People in Iran are just not happy with the way their economy is going, the way the government is robbing them of their national resources and exporting Shia Islam to the neighbouring countries. They just don’t trust their government,” Ansari explained.

“Iranians have declared publicly that they don’t want to have an Islamic republic anymore,” Ansari added.

Ansari says that despite the risks, Iranian Christians are out in the streets aiding and ministering to people affected by the pandemic.

“The church in Iran is fighting for its survival,” said Ansari. “We are asking the international community to pray for Iran’s church, which is under severe persecution from its own government.”

Sources: Decision, CBN News

  • Praise God for using the current pandemic, economic downturn and distrust of the authorities to encourage people to seek the truth.
  • Pray for courage and protection for those ministering to people in need and boldly sharing the Gospel.
  • Pray for those who are suffering for their faith in Christ, including those currently imprisoned for their Christian activity.

Post your prayer in the comments below.

IRAN: Arrests of Believers Continues

IRAN: Arrests of Believers Continues

On 7 July, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard arrested a Christian woman living in Tehran named Malihe Nazari. This occurred in addition to another twelve Christians who were arrested two weeks prior. Dozens more were told they would soon be summoned for questioning.

Malihe is a member of a women’s-only house-church in Tehran known as One Heart. As is common in such arrests, her house was searched. The authorities confiscated her computer, mobile phone, and several books. She was transported to Evin Prison and has been able to briefly contact her family. Malihe is the mother of two sons, the eldest of which has reportedly been battling cancer.

Source: International Christian Concern

  • Remember in prayer all the believers who were recently arrested, as well as those interrogated for practising Christianity. Uphold their concerned families, particularly Malihe’s son.
  • Pray that those who have been detained will be sustained and encouraged as they trust in God for their vindication and deliverance.
  • Ask God to continue overseeing the growth of His church in Iran, calling even those who try to hinder religious freedom.

Post your prayer in the comments below.

TURKEY: Iranian Christian Refugees Struggle to Feed Families

TURKEY: Iranian Christian Refugees Struggle to Feed Families

Christian workers in Turkey report that restrictions put in place due to the global pandemic have hit Iranian refugees hard.

Many of the refugees lost everything when they fled their country because of persecution for their Christian faith; and now, many have lost the low-paying jobs they had obtained in Turkey and are struggling to feed their families.

In addition, they have little access to health care because the basic medical care provided to refugees has been stopped. “Some of our students who are unwell have avoided seeking medical treatment and are now in a critical situation,” a Christian worker wrote. Pray for these Iranian believers, who are far from home and may feel desperate.

Source: The Voice of the Martyrs USA

  • Ask the Lord to provide for all their needs and strengthen their faith.
  • Pray they will receive much support, care and love from other believers in the community.
  • Pray for VOM Australia’s contacts in Turkey who are sharing the Gospel and ministering to Iranian refugees.

Post your prayer in the comments below.

IRAN: Reduction in sentences for Iranian Believers

IRAN: Reduction in sentences for Iranian Believers

Iranian Christians ask for prayer after an appeal verdict for three Christian converts from Rasht who were serving ten-year sentences.

The sentences against Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani, and Zaman (Saheb) Fadaie have been reduced to six years. Mohammadreza (Yuhan) Omidi’s sentence has been reduced to two years and he is expected to be eligible for release in July. The decision regarding the fourth church member, Yasser Mossayebzadeh, who was arrested and convicted at the same time, is not known.

Pastor Yousef was arrested with his wife Tina, as well as Saheb, Yuhan and Yasser in Rasht in 2016. Following a June 2017 hearing each of the four men was given a ten-year prison sentence for “acting against the national security through propagating house churches and promoting Zionist Christianity.”  Yousef and Yuhan were also sentenced to two years’ internal exile in the south of the country.

An initial appeal in May 2018 upheld the sentences, but a further review took place in May 2020 and as announced on Monday, reduced the sentences. It is reported that legal avenues for a further appeal are being explored.

Friends of the Christian converts are delighted that Yuhan is likely to be released soon and although pleased that Yousef and Saheb’s sentences have been reduced, wish that they had been acquitted of all charges related to the peaceful exercise of their faith.

Source: Middle East Concern

  • Thank God for this positive development and pray the reduction in sentences will provide encouragement to the men and their families.
  • Pray that further review would be possible to overturn the sentences completely.
  • Ask God to use this development as a witness to the faith of these man and the Gospel for which they are imprisoned.

Post your prayer in the comments below.