Oct 2015

Mahnaz

Hello Christian brothers and sisters. I am Mahnaz and 32 years old. I believed in Jesus three years ago, and today I want to tell you the story of my faith.

I grew up in a highly religious family and was the only child in the family. I was bound to the principles of Islam and did all law and orders of Islam. I disagreed with many things in Islam but I said to myself that certainly God knew them as true, and so I should not have any objection. Some of these things included performing Namaz in Arabic or toward Kaaba. Especially, marrying the men with several women simultaneously was unacceptable to me but I told myself that such a situation would be tolerable for women and women should also accept this.

I was twenty-two years old when my mother found that my father had a relationship with another woman and betrayed her, and after many fights and beatings, my father said that he has been formally married the woman and he was right according to Islam. I told my father that Islam has given the same right to the men but the first wife must be satisfied, but the fact was that it was not that way. I never thought that the living conditions of a family changed to this extent by the second marriage of a man.

Before this event, I liked my father too much and knew him as a good and perfect man who had provided a very good living conditions for us, but with the presence of second wife, the situation was such a way that my father did not see my mother and I and did not care us and even sometimes he did not answer our phone. Thus, the idol that I made of my father for myself collapsed and I gradually hated him, especially when I realized whom he had been married was only three years older than me.

When I saw that my mother was sad, I became very upset but I could not do anything to make her happy. I did not perform namaz anymore and I felt that Islam is unacceptable to me, but my mother always advised me, and said that I should not allow the life troubles to weaken my faith. Several times, I had suitors but since these events had annoyed me, I had hated all men and I felt that I could never trust any man and marry.

We did not have satellite at our home and I asked my mother to buy a satellite to be entertained at home. She did not accept and told me that watching the satellite programs is a sin, but eventually I convinced her and we bought a satellite.

All day I watched the satellite programs. The name of one channel was Mohabat (means love). Its name was very interesting for me. Love was what my mother and I needed, but there was no one to love us. I stopped on the channel to watch the program that had begun. It was a Christian channel and a pastor began to speak. He spoke about God's love. My mother and I were fascinated by his words. He talked about the peace that God could give the human life and fill all the gaps. But when the pastor introduced Jesus as God, I felt so bad that I did not like to talk and listen to pastor, so I changed the channel, but my mother still liked to watch that program and since I did not want her to be sad again, I return to the same channel but I went to my room not to see that program. My bad feeling was more because Jesus was a man and I hated all men.

My mother always watched that channel programs and her mood had changed and she was happier and more relaxed. She did not perform namaz anymore and also did not blame me for not performing namaz and although I was surprised, I did not ask her anything! One day, I went to my friend's house and when I returned, I found that my mother talked on the phone with the pastor of that channel and said him that Christ has really given her the peace that she has sought. I could not believe that my mother has become Christian. After her conversation with the pastor was finished, I told my mother: "if this Christ gives me the same peace that has given to you and I've seen it in you, I would not want anything else!" A few days later I talked with the pastor and repented and I dare say that Christ gave me the peace and removed my hate of the men from my heart but I could not fully forgive my father yet!

God used my father's remarriage for saving my mother and I, and I thank God but unfortunately the issue of polygamy in Iran has disintegrated many families and many Iranian women are forced to separate from their husband because of this problem or if they do not have the ability to finance themselves, they have to tolerate their conditions!

Jamshid's Testimony

Hello Christian brothers and sisters. Two days ago, I read the testimony of a brother named Jamshid that I like to share it with you.

Jamshid had written in his testimony:
"Ten years ago I became familiar with Christ and I felt that this religion can comfort me and make me a better person. Before believing in Christ, I was a very wicked and liar person and when I became a Christian, while I was the Ministry of Defense employee, I did anything wrong such as forging the seal and document but after believing in Christ, I completely changed and my family was surprised by the changes in my behavior because I had become very kind and I did not lie anymore and I did not do anything wrong. However, I did not talk about Christianity.

After I became a Christian, I encountered a lot of problems. I lost my job and also I could not marry a girl whom I loved.

I went to the building church and did not have any problem at workplace until the government announced to the church authorities to give the National ID Card numbers of people who participated in the church ceremonies. The pastor told me that he was able not to do it, but I could not participate in some of the church ceremonies. But I told that there was no reason to lie, and I gave them my National ID Card number and wanted to give it.

Two days later, after I gave the National ID Card number, I was expelled. When I entered the workplace and wanted to punch my timecard, I found that my timecard did not work. When I asked its reason, I was told that I had summoned by the head of office. When I went before him, he told me: "you know what has happened and why you have expelled. Since you have been a good employee and have always had just good behavior, I gave you two hours to take your belongings and go." When I asked the reason, he did not say anything. He just said: "just know that I did you a favor." He said just this, and I went.
Now, I have changed my job and I work in a jewelery store. I am satisfied with my situation and I do not regret what I've done because it makes me to feel comfortable in my life.
I am very lucky that I just lost my job and was not arrested. Because after announcing the National ID Card numbers of members by the church, some of them were arrested and sent to prison by the court order or were forced to leave the country. However, the government did not stop and then closed the churches!".

Samira

Hello Christian brothers and sisters. My name is Samira. Ten years ago, I went to a building church by one of my friends and believed in Christ and today I want to tell you what happened to me two years ago.

I was also a member of a house church, in addition to the building church. Earlier when I went to the church, I did not have any service and activity, and it made me sad, and I liked to have a particular service in the church.

One day, one of the members who was singer in the church had sat beside me. When we sang the song in the meeting, I sang the songs aloud. After the meeting, he told me that I had a beautiful voice and if I wanted, he would introduce me to a person named Saman who was responsible for the worship group and I accepted. He introduced me and Saman liked my voice very much and told me that I must practice and he wanted to be my teacher and prepare me for Christmas celebrations.

I was very interested and happy. From that moment, I thought to learn playing the guitar more professional. One day when I went to church, I took my guitar and sang alone a song with guitar and then I wanted others to sing the songs together and my service began from here. From then on I was the leader of the worship meetings and all members liked my voice.

In the church, I practiced singing properly with the help of Saman, and in the house, I practiced playing guitar. In addition, I had a lot of talent in composing poetry. One day while I was playing guitar, I began to sing a song that I had never heard before! I was very surprised and after an hour I decided to write it on paper and show Saman it. When Saman saw the song, he said that he has not heard it before! I sang that song with the guitar for Saman and he liked it too much and believed that the song was from God.

After that, it happened to me three times again and each time when Saman saw the songs, he said that he had never heard them before! Saman then told me that he wanted to create music for my songs and record my songs with my voice and I accepted it.

One day I was singing in the house church and suddenly I realized that the door was knocked severely. When the door was opened, the officers entered the house and began to search the house and arrested and took all of us.

In the way, I was praying that God protect us! When the officer interrogated me, he asked me why I became Christian, with whom I was communicating and what I did in this group! I told them that I loved Christ and we worshiped God together in this group! He asked me: Are you their singer? Why were you singing with the guitar? What did you sing? I said yes, I sing the worship songs and he became very angry.

The next day, we were sent to another interrogator to deal with our cases and my charge was becoming a Christian, singing Christian songs, and evangelism.
That day, the interrogator released other persons, whose charge was attending in the house church meeting with a commitment except me, because my charge was singing in the meeting and according to Islam law, singing a woman in public was forbidden. They kept me in a dirty cell ten days and told me if I repented, they would release me, and I did not accept. After ten days, I also released on bail, and at the end when I was brought to the court, I was fined and I was taken a written commitment for lack of signing!

Hussein

Hello believer sisters and brothers. My name is Hussein. Today, one of my friends asked me what bother me as a Christian believer in Iran! First I want to give testimony of my faith and then answer to this question.

About seven years ago, I had strongly lost my moral because of a failure in my life and due to severe psychological problems I was isolated and depressed and did not like to do anything and I was in my room always! I was in that situation that one day one of my friends came to visit me. After a little advice, he told me to get out of that situation I must return to God, read the Koran, perform Namaz and watch Islamic programs in television. At first his words seemed irrational but I decided to do those and started from that day but performing Namaz did not fill the vacuum in my heart but I continued to do it and read the Koran. I did those for a long time but I did not feel any difference until one night I saw a strange dream.

I dreamed someone tells me: “I've come to save you. Come to me and give your heart to me!” When I woke up, that person's face was still in my mind. His face was very familiar to me. After several hours of thinking, I remembered where I had seen that face. It was the face of Christ that I had seen in a Last Supper painting in the house of my Christian friend and I always loved that painting.

I was very surprised that Jesus had come into my dream! I was not a Christian! I called my friend and I went to his house and I told him the dream that I had seen. My friend said: “Christ wants to come to your heart, open your heart to him!” He gave me a Bible and I then started reading the Bible and it was strange that I had a strange sense of calm by reading the Bible and I was like a thirsty that after a long walking in the desert had reached to the river full of fresh water. So I believed in Christ.

Specifically early in my faith the bothering issue for me was that I was disgusted with Islam and I was sensitive to the sounds of the Quran and Azan and I felt that I could not stand them. At the time of Azan all programs of radio and television are stopped and Azan is broadcast! The Azan is recited aloud in the streets and mosques. I remember that the sound of Azan in the morning was very annoying for me and of course it is, but less than before!

But what is bothering for me now is that we as Christians who live in Iran do not have any rights! In Tehran, that is the capital of Iran, finding a Christian song CD or a Bible is very difficult and even selling them is illegal. The Islamic religious ceremonies are done in the streets with all the fuss with the help of government and the city streets are closed for those but we Christians cannot even gather at home easily and comfortably and worship God and sing and we repeatedly witness the arrest of house church members!

Occasionally, as a Christian in Iran I feel suffocated and think that I've captured in a big prison but in this big prison my only hope is God!

The Violation of Human Rights in Iran

It hasn’t been a long time since the happiness of the Iranians for the Nuclear negotiations. But this happiness turned into a deep grief due to the announcement of the executions of some young prisoners. Iran is among those countries which are famous for the violation of human rights in them. According to a valid News website, Ahmed Shahid- the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Iran- severely criticized the continuation of the violation of human rights in Iran and said that the situation of human rights got worse during the presidency of Hassan Rohani. According to this report, during the first two months of the year more than 200 people have been executed in Iran. The execution numbers had been more than 750 cases in 2014 which is unprecedented in comparison to the annual numbers of twelve years before that. He evaluated the human rights situation in Iran, especially about civil constitutions, institutions, human rights activists and also political parties worse than before since the beginning of Hassan Rohani’s presidency.

An example of the violation of human rights which recently happened is arresting and convicting a young man named Massoud Seyed Talebi. He is 21 years old and is an electrical engineering student in one of the universities in Tehran. According to a valid News website, as he was about to leave his father’s house to go to the university got arrested by the Intelligence service agents of the revolutionary guard. As the agents were arresting and searching his house, they told the neighbours who gathered there that his crime was defraudation. This young man has been accused of publicizing against the government, insulting the supreme leader, gathering and treason against the national security of country, insulting the sacred believes and country’s officials and publishing improper photos by his writings and shared photos in his facebook account. He was arrested in October 2013, and he is one of the eight prisoners who were convicted in a case called “facebook activists”. His family wasn’t aware of his place and the reason that he was arrested for a long time. He was kept in section 2-A (related to revolutionary guard of Evin Detention House) for interrogation and then was transferred to section 350 of Evin. Recently- after almost 2 years- he’s sentenced to 21 years in prison.

Another person who was convicted recently is a twenty seven-year-old girl named Atena Daemi, a children rights and social activist, who has been imprisoned in Evin since November 2014. After six months detention, she was accused of publicizing against the government, gathering and treason against the national security, insulting the supreme leader and the sacred believes in the court. All of these accusations against her are based on her facebook posts and participating in protests like rallying in support of Kobane children. A source talked about Atena Daemi’s condition: she was accused of insulting the sacred believes because she was against Hijab (veil) and death penalty and she used to listen to a music by an Iranian singer which insulted the sacred believes of Islam. It’s also mentioned in her case that she participated in a protest against execution of Reyhaneh Jabbari- a 27-year-old girl who was executed for killing a man that wanted to rape her. But after Reyhaneh’s execution, Atena was in the prison and she wasn’t able to participate in any rallies.” According to that source, this prisoner didn’t accept her allegations and her lawyer objected against the instances of her accusations and didn’t consider them logical and lawful. Based on Atena’s mother’s interviews, her daughter was only active in children department like administrating painting galleries for the labor children and selling the paintings in a fair in order to support them. Now as she’s tearful and confused said that her daughter has been sentenced to 14 years in prison. She’s praying and asks the people to be Atena Daemi’s voice.

Another example for injustice is Farshid Fathi. He is an Iranian who is also a Christian and was arrested by the Intelligence Service in 2010. In February 2010 he was accused of being in charge of the foreign organizations in Iran and providing money for them in branch 15 of revolutionary court. His crimes were: publicizing against the government, gathering and treason against national security. He was convicted and was sentenced to six years in prison. Farshid had written in his tribulation notes that he was exposed to mental torture, insulting, humiliation and aspersion during detention; “ I was told that my wife had been also arrested and they asked me to introduce a temporary householder to take care of my children “Rosanna and Bardia”, but it was a lie; or I was told that my father had an stroke and he was in the hospital but it was a lie as well. I wasn’t even informed if he was dead or alive while he didn’t have a stroke at all.”

These are obvious examples of violating the human rights in Iran and as they were broadcasted, the Iranians are informed and they’re against those violations. Ahmed Shahid also demanded abolition of muzzling the media, cencorship of Internet Websites, jamming the satellites and he demanded freedom of thirty journalists and bloggers, a hundred Bahai citizens and ninety two imprisoned Christians. The Iranian people also expect the government to negotiate with the United Nations just as they negotiated for the nuclear programs before; so the prisoners’ families may get relieved. I invite you dear Christians to unite with us to pray for the freedom of those in the prison and for the patience and peace of their families. Almighty God is dominant over everything and He is the one who hears our voice and answers.