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What Would You Do?

Iran

Iran is a Muslim country where Christian activities are strictly controlled by the government. Christians meet secretly in house churches. In one church, the leaders gave every member seven Bibles when they left church on Sunday. They asked the Christians to give one Bible a day to someone who wasn’t a Christian.

But sharing the gospel with non-Christians is against the law in Iran. So the Christians risked getting arrested every time they shared a Bible.

To Think About
If you lived in Iran and your pastor gave you seven Bibles to share, what would you do? Would you want your parents to share Bibles with non-Christians if it meant that they might go to jail?

Bible verse: “But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: ‘We ought to obey God rather than men’” (Acts 5:29).

Parents and Teachers: You may want to give your children seven Christian pamphlets to share with others.

 


Internet Troll Finds Jesus

(From the Kids of Courage archives)

Amir was not a Christian, and he had a rude hobby. At his computer in Iran, he would get on the Internet and make comments that started arguments. “I was very pleased and happy with myself when I caused trouble and problems,” said Amir.

One day, he found a Christian website where visitors could post comments. “As usual, I started to mess up the discussion by typing silly things and insulting all the other commenters,” he said.

The administrator of the site answered Amir’s insults and replied, “No matter what you say, God still loves you, and there is a reason you are here tonight.”

“I began to listen,” said Amir. “Their love and respect touched my heart. Now I am taking online Christian classes. My life has changed. I practice kindness and gentleness every day.”

Source: Iran Alive Ministries, edited for space and clarity


What Happens Next?

Each year, The Voice of the Martyrs distributes more than 1 million Bibles in countries where Bibles are illegal or very hard to find. But what happens after the Bibles are in the hands of persecuted Christians?

Todd Nettleton of VOM Radio talked with Dr. Mike Ansari, who partners with VOM in sharing God’s Word with people in Iran. Read part of their conversation below. (Edited for length and clarity.)

Todd: Mike, I want to ask a question. There is a person in prison in Iran right now for distributing Bibles that Voice of the Martyrs bought. You helped us connect with this person. We provided the Bibles, you provided the connection; they provided the manpower to get the Bibles into the hands of Christians who needed them.

You and I are sitting comfortably right here [at VOM headquarters]; they are sitting in a jail cell. How do you personally process the fact that the work you are doing is going to put people in danger? It is going to put people in prison. How do you think about that? How do you pray about that?

Dr. Ansari: Todd, it is a bittersweet experience. You definitely do not want to put anybody in danger. But you have to realize that the individuals who have just become Christians, they are on fire for Jesus. Half the time they are just out there proclaiming the gospel to everybody.

This particular individual happened to be one of them who was and still is on fire for Jesus, even while she is incarcerated. She helped with distribution of Bibles that were funded by The Voice of the Martyrs to be sent into the country. Many people came to know about Jesus through her, and now she is serving her sentence.

There is a joy in her heart, even now that she is serving. She still sends messages indirectly to us that say, “I don’t regret anything. There is a joy in my heart and if I could do it again, I would do it.” In fact, in prison she is evangelizing others, as well.

Learn about VOM’s “A Bible for Every Believer” goal here.

Will you pray for those who risk their freedom when they distribute or smuggle Bibles?


Hard to Find a Bible

Iran
Farsi Bible

A teacher in Iran decided to follow Jesus after hearing the gospel on a Christian satellite TV program! He wanted to read a Bible, but had no way to get one. “I checked all the bookstores in Tehran to find a copy, but could not,” he said. (Tehran is the capital of Iran.)

Fifteen months went by, and the man still had not found a Bible. He started to write down all the verses he heard in sermons on the Christian TV broadcasts. He put pages of the verses together to make a small book.

The man began to share his faith with his students and others, and soon there was a group of 30 new Christians who met every week to worship God together. But none of them had a Bible.

Read the rest of this entry »


Ali: In Love with the Gospel

(Source: VOM Radio. Edited for length and clarity.)

“My family was very religious in Islam,” said Ali, who grew up in Iran. “However, my father was an alcoholic. When I got to be 11 or 12, I started drinking alcohol also. Then I started using drugs. That changed me into a very angry person. I didn’t have many friends.”

Note: Ali and his family were Shiite [SHEE-ite] Muslims. Imams are very important leaders among Shiites. Many Shiites believe that the 12th imam, who disappeared in the 800s A.D., did not die. They believe he will return as “the Mahdi” at the end of the world. Learn more about Shiites here.

Ali did not have peace. He searched for truth and peace through Muslim rituals. “Every day I read from the prayer book,” he said. “I was really interested in the Mahdi, the 12th imam.” Every Tuesday for five years, Ali visited a well where Iranians believe the 12th imam will appear at the end of time.

But nothing happened and Ali still had no peace.

Finding the Light
After a Christian relative witnessed about their faith to Ali’s parents, his parents became Christians, and Ali’s father quit drinking! “I wrestled with it for six months,” said Ali. “From the bottom of my heart, I prayed that the Mahdi would show himself to me.”

But still nothing happened. Finally, Ali prayed, “Jesus, Messiah, I don’t know You. But if You really died for me, show me something that shows You are real.”

That night, Ali dreamed of a bright light streaming into his room. Later he heard a voice saying, “Go to Tehran.” When he obeyed the voice and went to the capital of Iran, he visited a church in the city. “I fell in love with the gospel and became a believer there. Then I got on my knees, and I repented,” said Ali.

Persecution and Spreading the Word
Muslim relatives did not approve of Ali and his parents’ new faith. The relatives took all of their photos out of family photo albums. “My grandfather kicked us all out,” said Ali. “He got all our money, and he kept it.”

Even though they are persecuted, Ali’s family tells others about Jesus when they get the opportunity. “My goal, my desire, is to really share the gospel with Muslims who are under the control of Islam,” Ali said.

Learn more about Christians in Iran in Bold Believers in Iran, available in the Downloads section.