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Farsi

Farsi, also called “Persian,” is the official language of Iran. Farsi is written in the same script as Arabic, but it is not the same language as Arabic. This is similar to the way Spanish and English are written using the same letters, but they are different languages.

The government of Iran fears that Muslims who hear the gospel in their own language will become Christians. Christian ethnic groups that speak other languages are not as much of a problem to the government.

Officials make life difficult for pastors who deliver sermons in Farsi. “Pastors who preach in Farsi are ordered to give a weekly report to the government,” said an Iranian Christian. “Also, it is a well-known fact that the government sends spies into the Farsi-speaking churches to take pictures and evaluate the activities of the church. The churches cannot do anything to stop the spies from coming.”

Farsi is read from right to left instead of left to right like English. Look at the chart below to learn how to pronounce some Farsi words and phrases. (Pronunciations are approximate.)

English

How to say it in Farsi

Praise the Lord KHOH-dah-rah SHOH-kr
Jesus loves you EE-saw doos-taht DAH-reh
Mother Mah-DAR
Father Pay-DAR
Yes BAH-lay
No Nah
Please LOHT-fan
Thank you Mam-NOON-ahm
Good bye KHOH-dah hah-fehz

Iranian Date Snack

Cut open lengthwise about ½ pound of dates. Break walnut halves in half lengthwise and insert one walnut piece in each date and close the date. Arrange the dates on a shallow serving dish. Melt a stick of margarine and stir in a half cup of flour over low heat until smooth. Pour the mixture over the dates and let it set before serving.


Writing Letters

Leaders and officials in Iran often make things difficult for Christians in their country. Find the name of the current leaders of Iran in an almanac or other source. Pray for them. If an address is given in the source, you might want to write a polite letter to an Iranian leader saying that you are praying for him. Ask him to use his power to make sure that Iranian Christians are treated with respect.


Mauritania: Tea Parties and Desert Worship

Mauritania

A small group of men sit on a mat outside. Someone heats ingredients for mint tea on a small burner. The tea is poured into small glasses from high above the glasses, but nothing is spilled. Pouring the tea in that way makes it foamy and frothy.

According to Mauritanian custom, the tea is poured from glass to glass before it is served in three rounds. The glasses are washed after each round. Preparing and drinking the tea can take an hour or longer.

Mauritanians drink tea every day. No one thinks it is strange to see a group of men or women having tea together.

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Iran: Kids Worship in a Secret Church

Iran

In Iran, it is against the law to share the Good News of Jesus with Muslims. But Iranians are secretly becoming Christians anyway! Many of the new Christians meet together secretly in house churches.

At one secret house church, the members learned how to talk about Jesus with Muslims and how to start new churches. They sang, prayed, and studied the Bible and other Christian books. The books were smuggled into Iran from other countries.

But there was something unusual about this church. Most of the members were between the ages of 10 and 13. Some were as young as 5. The leader of the church was 16.

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