What in the World is God Doing in Iran?
We know Iran is one of the most closed and secretive nations in the Middle East and perhaps the world. Strict in its Islamic culture and history, Iran is known for an extremely low tolerance of Christians, and no tolerance for Muslims leaving their faith to become believers in Jesus Christ.
But, as you might expect, our loving God sees it differently. He sees a people in need of the saving Grace of Jesus Christ. Because he has no boundaries, he’s doing something about it in a mighty way. Read this slowly to absorb it: Iran has the highest percentage (of the population) growth rate of Christianity in the entire world! In fact, more Iranians have come to Christ in the last 17 years than in the previous 1,400 years combined. Although we know that with God, all things are possible, it’s almost unfathomable to comprehend. So, how is he doing it? Two major ways:
1. God is using dreams and visions with Iranian Muslims to bring them to him and he’s built an infrastructure to support them after their conversion. Story after story is told of young and old who have seen Jesus in dreams and visions and renounced their faith to become Christians, despite the danger of persecution, imprisonment, and possibly even death. As an example of God’s use of dreams and visions, read the companion story to the right. But dream conversion isn’t enough. These new Iranian Christians need to be led and fed. To do so, God initiated an “exploding” system of underground house churches. They are typically small –six to ten people. Brave and courageous Christian Iranians set up the churches. Due to security, often the churches are not aware of other house churches around them. Their leadership comes from individuals who receive training through most unusual and innovative techniques as described in #2 below. There are literally thousands of underground churches serving tens of thousands of Iranian Christians. Praise God!
2. God is using Iranians outside of Iran, called the Diaspora, to help in bringing the message of Jesus Christ to non-Christian Iranians and to strengthen faith and understanding of the believers. Scores of diaspora Iranians are involved in ministry to those still in the country. Outreach’s own mission staff member, Rev. Dr. Sasan Tavassoli, has dedicated the last thirty years of his life (since he became a believer) to bringing the Good News to Iranians. Sasan and others like him risk their lives to bring theological training, Bibles, publications, satellite TV programming, and one on one teaching to Iranians. Sasan hosts a TV show, "My House, My Church," which is a worship service in Farsi, the official language of Iran. It is then broadcast via a 24 hour per day satellite TV station into Iran and other Middle East countries so Iranians can participate in worship. Sasan is also very involved with another Outreach partner, Pars Theological Center, an online seminary based in London to train Iranian church leaders. He and other faculty conduct theological courses for house church leaders, often in secret locations in Europe and the Middle East.
Sasan has many stories of Iranian Muslims that have become Christ followers through the power of the Holy Spirit and satellite TV ministry. One woman living in Iran emailed to thank him for teaching her how to pray by watching his show, "My House, My Church." She let him know she was still a Muslim, but his prayers taught her much about how to talk with her god. Sasan continued to exchange emails with her, sharing about the love of his God and how Jesus could change her life. Sasan connected her with phone counselors who continued to disciple her. He was overjoyed to read a subsequent email from her saying, “I now pray in the name of Jesus Christ!”
God is at work in our world despite what the news media wants you to know. He is an awesome God. Just look what he is doing in Iran.
The following miraculous story was shared by a PARS Theological Center student:
Dreaming of Jesus
Hussein came from a fanatically religious Muslim family in Iran. He zealously defended his religion and was highly intolerant of those who did not have similar beliefs. So radical was his thinking that when he learned that his brother-in-law, Mohammad, became a believer in Jesus, he set out to reconvert him or deal with the infidel. Mohammad would not renounce his faith in Jesus. One dark night, Hussein stalked Mohammad and stabbed him in the back, saying “I will not leave here until I have killed you as an apostate.” Hussein was thwarted in his work by passersby. Mohammad survived after a long convalescence.
Obvious tensions continued for five years between Hussein and his brother-in-law, who recovered from the vicious attack. But in June 2017, the Lord worked in Hussein through a dream. In the dream, he was lying on the ground with many demonic monsters with terrible eyes torturing him. One of the creatures grabbed his throat to strangle him. Hussein began to call out all the names of the prophets that he could remember. But there was no answer until at the last moment, when he was about to breathe his last, with difficulty, he said "Oh Jesus Christ, if you exist save me!" Suddenly he saw Christ appear. Jesus cast the demonic creatures to one side and took Hussein by the hand and embraced him. Hussein then fell at the feet of Jesus and worshiped him.
When Hussein awoke from the dream, he was very much afraid. But when he remembered that Jesus took him in his arms and embraced him, he became hopeful. He found comfort in the fact that after all his opposition to Christ and Christians, salvation was possible for him. The next morning Hussein made his way early to Mohammad’s house where he embraced him and with many tears asked Mohammad for his forgiveness. And in their presence, he gave his heart to Christ.