Revival in Iran: ‘You Can See What the Holy Spirit is Doing’
Iran's Christian population has grown by 3,000 percent over the last two decades.
The Islamic Republic of Iran is experiencing a revival of faith in a big way, said Rahman Salehsafari, a house church pastor who ministers there as well as worldwide via Skype, in a CBN News interview. The Holy Spirit’s work in Iran is evident in the large numbers of people accepting Jesus, he said.
“Right now you can see the results of the Holy Spirit. [In] 1994, there were about 100,000 believers,” he explained. “Right now, there are 3 million. You can see what the Holy Spirit is doing with the people.”
“In all of my life He was helping me and I didn’t know who is this person. Suddenly, Jesus Christ was over there and He said, ‘Come to Me.’ Then I came to that side and He accepted me.”
For some, the experience that drew them to Christ was nothing short of miraculous. “I had a dream a long time back and every time that Jesus was with me,” said a young man named Reza. “In all of my life He was helping me and I didn’t know who is this person. Suddenly, Jesus Christ was over there and He said, ‘Come to Me.’ Then I came to that side and He accepted me.”
Becoming a Christian was not something they took lightly — they knew they would have difficulty living out their new-found faith in their homeland.
Many of the new Christians had to flee Iran because of religious persecution and ended up in Turkey. They noticed a marked difference in the freedom to practice their faith. Afshin, an Iranian who lives in Turkey now, said the contrast is extreme. “[It’s] totally different from Iran,” he explained. “I can privilege [speak about] God’s Word to other guys. I can freely praise the Lord. I can easily go to church. It’s really completely different.”
Afshin, who attended Pastor Saeed Abedini’s church before Abedini’s 2012 arrest, said he fled Iran because it was getting progressively difficult each day to live as a Christian and he felt it was too much of a risk. Afshin said he had to leave his home because he believed the intelligence service would recognize it as a home church. Others fled in fear for their lives.
Even with the persecution, the threats on their lives, the uprooting and fleeing to another country and the unstable residency status, these Christians maintain their joyfulness and love of Christ.
A young woman named Raizal, along with her brother Reza, fled Iran for fear they would be killed. “Even if I say ‘Jesus Christ,’ they may kill me,” she said. “They tried to kill me,” said Reza, who also had problems with his health and at his job because he was a Christian. “Then I start (sic) to run away.”
Many of the Iranian believers in Turkey hope to one day achieve refugee status and immigrate to other countries.
Even with the persecution, the threats on their lives, the uprooting and fleeing to another country and the unstable residency status, these Christians maintain their joyfulness and love of Christ. They clap and cheer as new brothers and sisters in Christ are baptized. They worship the Lord with praise songs and laughter.
Their desire now is that their brothers and sisters around the world would pray for Iran and the Church there. “I’m just begging really from other believers, from the other sisters and brothers from all over the world to pray for Iran,” said Afshin. “To all the people of Iran, to be familiar with God, with Jesus Christ.”
See the full interview here: