Apr 2015

Maryam

Hello. I'm Maryam. About ten years ago my family and I believed in Jesus. We are members of a house church. Every year on Christmas day, we gather at the home of one of the believers and celebrate this great day and pray and sing songs and worship God. For security reasons, this year we could not celebrate this day all together and only two our friends came to our house and we prayed together and sang songs softly but although our number was low, the presence of Holy Spirit was tangible among us. Unfortunately, the security atmosphere is very heavy.

I am a member of a Christian site. Yesterday when I was reading the contents of the Christmas and New Year and enjoying the great blessings of the contents, I saw something that was very sad and hurt my heart. It had written that a house church had been attacked and a number of Christian converts had been arrested. By reading this article, I felt that all the joy in my heart turned into a heavy load. I asked myself why I did not really think the persons who are in prison these days!!!

It had been stated that in Christmas Day, a group of Christian gathered for prayer and worship to celebrate the birth of Christ that a number of plainclothes officers armed with pistols and wireless had entered the house with an impolite attitude and while searching the house and confiscating the computers, books, handouts and mobile phones, had arrested the Christians and transferred to the vans.

According to the site, security guards had a very bad attitude with one of the neighbors who had asked the officers about that event and they had also confiscated his mobile phone and identity card.

Also, it had stated that no precise information had been obtained about arresting organization, exact identity of persons arrested, and even their health.

Shahab

Dear brothers and sisters, my name is Shahab. Today I want to share with you an experience that I had shortly after my faith.

About three years ago I finished my military service and began to work at a company. One day at home I was watching television that a Christian channel attracted my attention. A pastor was comparing Islam and Christianity. I was not a radical Muslim, but I was sure that Islam is better and more accurate than Christianity and I heard that the Bible has been distorted and Islam is the last religion.

The pastor criticized Islam and it made me very angry but, honestly after a little thinking about his words, I saw his words were the truth. So I decided to research more about Islam and I also continued to see Christian programs but I totally believed in Islam and I could not imagine that I would become a Christian because I was so afraid of the people’s words, especially family and friends. Until one day, a pastor preached that Pilate issued the order of killing Jesus because he wanted to keep people satisfied. That is, he preferred the people’s satisfaction to God’ satisfaction. When he said this, I felt that I was like Pilate. So I decided to prefer the God’s will to people’s will and not to repeat that mistake and so, after several months of internal conflicts I believed in Christ.

After I believed, I was unconsciously interested in having relationship with the believers but I did not know anyone around myself. I decided to find a few believer friends in the Internet and have relationship with them. That's why I began the activity on Facebook and placed the Christian matters on my profile and after a while, I found several Christian friends and every day I chatted with them by computer. The relationship with them, though virtual, had effect on my faith and was very enjoyable for me and even throughout the day at work I thought that at night I would study which part of the God’s word with my believer friends.

After a while, one day I received a text message. It had written that I must introduce myself to the security police center! At first when I read the message, I did not consider it important, but after a few days I realized that one of those who were my friend on Facebook had been arrested! I was so scared and did not know what to do. If I did not introduce myself to the security police center, they might have my address and come and arrest me and if I introduced myself, I did not know what fate I would have! When I prayed, constantly this verse came to my heart: "When God is with me, then I will not be afraid, what can man do to me?"

I decided to go to the security police center. During the way I prepared myself for possible questions. When I arrived, I went to a man with civilian clothes. He asked me about the matters that I had put in my profile on Facebook and said why I put these misleading matters in my profile!!! Also he asked me about my relationship with my believer friends on Facebook and I also said that I was only in relationship with them through Facebook and I did not know them nearly. He spoke with me very bad and after that he asked me many questions; he said me that I cannot put the misleading Christian matters in my page and chat with my believers and took me a commitment and allowed me to get out of there!

After he left me, I came home and thanked God that he did not hold me there and did not happen to me! But after this incident, I am really afraid of putting the Christian matters in my page on Facebook.

Osman

Hello my dear brothers and sisters. My name is Osman. Today, I want to tell you the story of my faith in Christ.

I was born in a very small village in the south of the country and grew up there. Our village people were very religious and had very old and closed mindset. My father was Khan of the village and the word of Khan was as an order for all the people of the village and they obeyed him. I grew up in such circumstances, but I did not agree with that way of life.

There was not high school in our village and I went to go to the city, near the village and that time I realized how much I lagged behind the world. I was always the best student in my school years and I was accepted at Tehran University with high rank. My father disagreed with my going to Tehran but I anyway went to Tehran. In the college the more I read the more I realize how much I'd lived in darkness so I was longing to learn and study more every day.

In dormitory I became friends with a boy named Shahram as if he was different with all other boy and had high general information and taught me new things every day. One day when we were alone, he asked me how much I know about Islam and I replied him: “as other, but I have not researched about it yet”. He told me what I know about Christ and I also told him: “to the extent that he was a prophet”. He started reading the Bible and compared Jesus’ word with Islam.

His words were quite reasonable. After a few days he took me to a building church near the dormitory. I can say that as my eyes had been opened and although I was afraid of my father and brothers, after a few months I believed in Christ.

After graduation, I came back to our village. In the bus I just thought that I would hide the story of my faith from my family or I would tell them how God touched my heart. It was acceptable neither in my family nor in my village and I knew that there would not be even a person who understands my words. So I decided not to say anything.

I had a Bible, and when I went back home, I hid it and whenever I was alone and had an opportunity, I read it until one day my father had seen Bible among my belonging. When I came back home, he told me why this evil book was in my house and among my belongings! When I saw the Bible in his hand, I became astounded. My father made his voice louder and wanted me to answer. At that moment I was reminded of the words of Jesus: “If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory”, so I told him the story of my faith and I confessed my faith in Christ.

He slapped me hard in the face and threw me into the room and closed the door and called my brothers and said that Osman has become evil in the city and we must find a solution to this problem so that no one in the village do not understand what happened. After a few hours when the air became dark, my father and brothers came into the room and started beating me. They had beaten me so much that I could not even stand up and all my face and body were bruised and bloody. My father came back to my room at midnight and threw my clothes to me and told me to go out of home and never return and threw me out of the house. I had very little money and went into town with a van and then went to Tehran before Shahram. Shortly after, I found a good job.

Now I am speaking to you, ten years had passed from this story and I thanks God that I have a good and independent life but until now my father never allowed me to go home and see them and I miss them!

Leila

Hello my dear brothers and sisters. My name is Leila and I want to share with you the story of my faith. About two years ago, I was separated from my husband and returned to my father's house. The troubles and problems which I had suffered in the divorce, made me very nervous and hopeless. I felt that I am alone even in my own family and I did not have the place that I had before marriage in my family. I had been admonished by others so much that I've completely lost my moral and was not satisfied with the life.

One day when I had sat in front of the TV and changed the channel, accidentally the remote control stopped working and I could not change the channels. It had stayed on a Christian channel. I had seen the channel before but I had not paid attention to it. In the channel, a pastor spoke about the broken hearted people and God’s love. He began to read the Bible:
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all--how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died--more than that, who was raised to life--is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?”

By hearing these words, my heart became calm so that I was surprised by this feeling in my heart. So I continued to see the programs of that Christian channel and every day I felt calmness more than before, and finally I believed in Jesus. After my faith, I was not depressed and isolated and I felt a new life and a new hope in my heart.
After a while, I began to work in an office as a secretary but I learned how difficult could be to live in this world as a believer. After that I worked some weeks there, my boss asked me to lie constantly. For example, if the persons called office that he did not want to speak them, he wanted me to lie and say that he was not in the office.

When he gave the orders, I was really stressed, because, on the one hand, if I said that he was there, certainly he was upset and I might lose my job and on the other hand, If I told a lie, I felt that I annoyed the Holy Spirit. After a while he asked me the other things to do that were contrary to my faith. For example, when the clients asked me about the products and ask questions, he wanted me to say untrue things about our products and tell lies. As far as I could I avoided from doing it but sometimes I act according to him.

Once I told lie to a client, I became very disappointed and had a strange feeling of discomfort. I told myself: “Leila, you're the daughter of God and you do not need to lie to anyone.” that night when I went home I prayed this way: “God, I know you and I know that you hate lies and hypocrisy. I did it not for myself but because my boss forced me to do it. I want you to guide me to stay away from sin.”

The next day I told m boss that I wanted to speak with him. I told him that I would not tell lie to the customers anymore or when you're in the office and you want me to tell lies I really felt bad and I cannot do this for you anymore. He was surprised by my words and told me that they were not the bad lies and tried to justify it but I emphasized again that I cannot tell another lie. He told me that as a secretary I have to do his command because our work required tot to tell truth sometimes and if you cannot do these things, just resign? That moment I had to choose quickly and I told him that I would not work there anymore!!! I am currently unemployed and looking for work!!! But always I have this verse in my heart: “Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”