How God Revealed Himself to a Muslim Family in a Holy Place for Islam

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Recently an Iranian believer shared a story with us that really was on his heart to share, he told us: “Please share this story with everyone who prays for Iran. I want you all to know how God is at work in Iran.” This is what he told us:

“This is the testimony of one of the servants of God that shared the gospel in a holy place for Muslims. In Iran Shia Muslim pilgrims visit the graves of the eleven successors of Mohammed, Imams. They go there because they believe that these Imams can fulfill their wishes and heal them from deadly diseases. This servant of God, let’s call him Yaghoub, went to this holy place for Muslims. You wouldn’t have noticed Yaghoub in the crowd; he looked just like the Muslims that went there to worship this death person that couldn’t do a thing for them. But he was in contact with the living God, the only one who could really heal all these people.”

“Yaghoub is let by the Lord to talk to a family. Soon he finds out that they’re there because the father of the family is suffering from cancer and they expect a miracle from the deceased holy Muslim. Yaghoub’s heart hurts for this family, because he knows that the one they are relying on is unable to fulfill their wish. Courageously he starts sharing about God. He tells them that only Jesus can heal the father, because He is the only living God. Yaghoub notices the family is interestedly listening and eager to know more, so he continues to share the gospel with them. Yaghoub tells them that if they believe in Jesus, He can give them rest and peace in their hearts. He explains them how they can give their hearts to Jesus. He starts praying for them and the family indeed accepts Jesus in their hearts that very day. After that their ways part again; the family goes back to the little town they came from; Yaghoub goes back to his house.”

“But the story isn’t finished yet. Two weeks later Yaghoub calls the family to see how they are doing now they accepted Jesus in their hearts. The father of the family answers him joyfully. When they returned home, they found out that the cancer he was suffering from has been gone. The doctors didn’t find any cancer in his body anymore. The man was so happy that he told this story to his whole extended family; he told them how he was healed miraculously by the only true God: Jesus Christ.”
Holy Imams and their influence on persecution
In Iran Shia Islam is the state religion. Unlike the Sunni’s, the other big denomination, Shia Muslims believe that all leaders in Islam should be related to their prophet Mohammed. After Mohammed, they counted eleven successors; many of whose graves are pilgrimage sites. The twelfth Imam, the Mahdi, mysteriously disappeared in the ninth century and probably the most worshipped among the Imams. Because it is believed that he’s still alive and around, Shia Muslims didn’t appoint a new leader. Instead they depend on their ‘hidden Imam’ to take care of them and expect him back to restore peace and justice on earth, prophet Jesus is believed to accompany him that day. This expectation is very real to many Iranians and plays a role in many political decisions as well. Religious leaders as well as political leaders believe that Iran should prepare itself, and the whole world, for the return of the Mahdi by making the country as pure Shia Islamic as possible, only then the Mahdi will return. Anything hasting the return of the twelfth Imam is justified. According to one of the religious leaders, ayatollah Mesbah-Yazdi this means that getting rid of ‘unclean’ Christians, even killing them, is justified. Muslims who insult Islam, or even worse; convert to Christianity should, according to this extremist ayatollah, be killed without a court case.

*Names have been changed.

New Day, New Life

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We were honored to be invited to an Iranian family’s home for a No-Rooz celebration for their New Year. After wonderful food, laughing, and dancing, the husband reverently took an ornate book from the bookshelf. He explained that the book was full of beautiful writings that applied truthfully and personally to whoever read it. It was not a Bible, not even a Quran, but a book of poetry by 14th century Hafez. To find his personal truth for the New Year, our friend randomly opened the poetry book, and blindly placed his finger on the page. Then opening his eyes, he read what his finger pointed to, and declared that it would come true for him in his life.

As our families spent more time together, we shared about the everyday issues and problems in our lives. And often we answered, “That reminds me of a Bible story” or “Jesus promised that...” and we would read it together in the Bible. Then one day the husband told me that our conversations cause him to stay up at night, unable to sleep because he kept thinking about the truth of Bible and the powerful words of Jesus. In contrast, the randomly chosen poem of Hafez was not talked about again, the power of its “truth” had fizzled out.

Let us pray that Iranians would see Jesus as the most beautiful Word of God (John 1:14), the highest Truth (John 14:6).

Let us pray that Iranians would not read the Bible in a “magical” way, but with understanding and open hearts pointing them to Jesus (John 5:39).

*Names have been changed.

A Peaceful Sleep

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Since my Iranian friend and I are both mothers, our visits always revolve around our children. One evening my friend emerged from her child’s bedroom, frustrated that her child was not going to sleep. Despite a long time trying to bring calmness, the preschooler continued to make a fuss and cry out. We eagerly waited for the children to sleep, because then our conversation always switched from the life-lessons of parenthood, to a undistracted discussion of Jesus while reading the Bible together. I offered to try putting her child to sleep, and was welcomed into the bedroom. After a few minutes I reappeared from a newly quieted bedroom and my friend asked me with surprise, “What did you do?” I replied that her child was scared, and so I had prayed with her in Jesus name. This was simply the same thing that I done with my friend, herself, whenever she shared her fears.

*Names have been changed.