We’ve received this challenging but encouraging update from our friends Elam Ministries, who are serving Christians in Iran, which faces some of the highest levels of Christian persecution in the world.
Read and be encouraged:
There’s no doubt about it – the Coronavirus pandemic has hit Iran hard. Countless families are struggling to put food on the table. Many are grieving. House churches are not meeting in person.
And yet, amid this crisis, our mission remains the same: to strengthen and expand the Church.
Circumstances have long forced the Church in Iran to exist and grow outside the walls of a building. In fact, it was when Iranian Christians were told they are not allowed to meet in buildings that the Church began to experience rapid growth in Iran – so much so that it is now reportedly the fastest growing church in the world.
In recent history, Iranian Christians have experienced the living God at work in dark and hostile situations. And so again, during this crisis, we are seeing Him powerfully at work.
So instead of pause, it is time to fast-forward.
Over the past few months, we’ve seen the Iranian Church fast-forward on prayer, on sharing Jesus, on discipling others and in planting churches, all through the wonders of technology and the internet.
We’ve heard countless testimonies that show, while much has changed in the past months, God is certainly not ‘on pause’. This powerful story shows how the Church inside Iran is sharing the love of Christ in word and deed at this time:
Maryam*, a single mother with two young children, has been following Jesus in Iran for about a year. Amid the Coronavirus lockdown, Maryam lost her job and - with no income - her cupboards soon became bare.
Finally, one agonising night, Maryam had to put her kids to bed hungry. In anguish she cried out, “Jesus, have you forgotten us?”
As she slept, Maryam had a vivid dream. Jesus himself turned up on the doorstep. Ushering him in, Maryam felt ashamed she had no refreshments to offer. But as she went to the kitchen to fetch water, she was surprised to see the fridge suddenly bursting with food. She ran back to thank Jesus, but he had disappeared.
Just then, the doorbell woke Maryam from her dream. Two men were outside with a large parcel. Maryam opened the package, and – seeing it was filled with food – she fainted. As the men were bringing Maryam round, they explained that they were Christians, out secretly making deliveries of food. Maryam could not stop weeping as they parted ways: she knew Jesus had not forgotten her.
These delivery men were two of Elam’s 230+ trained leaders that are serving across the Iran region. Some of these leaders have been organising and delivering aid to those in the most acute need as an opportunity to share the love of Christ.
Join Elam and pray for Iran today. Pray especially for the families that have been helped so far, for those who will be helped in the coming weeks – in Iran and nearby countries – and for those who have come to Jesus in the midst of these challenges.
These are difficult days. Many are suffering and experiencing loss. But this is the environment in which the Church should excel. It is now we should shine brighter than ever.
Find out more about Christianity in Iran by heading to Elam's website.
*name is a pseudonym.