GREAT FAITH AMIDST BRUTAL PERSECUTION IN IRAN
Iranian believer Bita Rezaei recently shared her remarkable story of ministry, persecution and imprisonment on SAT-7 PARS program New Identity. Her testimony of faith is challenging, inspiring, and heart-wrenching in equal measure. It will show you the depths of darkness and the heights of glory experienced by Jesus’ followers in the Middle East.
God put on Bita’s heart a vision to set up a children’s centre in Iran for youngsters with disabilities and additional needs. She had worked in state-funded facilities, experiencing the limitations of the help they were able to offer. But Bita was also very aware of her own limitations.
“One night as I was praying, I sensed God putting on my heart to set up a place myself. And I said to Him, ‘Lord, You know that I have neither money nor connections. These are what one needs to do anything in this country, and I have neither. If You will go ahead of me then we can do it together.’
“Well, the Lord really went ahead of me in a big way, and He brought about a children’s institute for children with psychological and physical disabilities, which we called ‘House of Kindness’… I went with completely empty hands, and the Lord created an excellent children’s home with wonderful facilities.”
Bita went on to give wonderful examples of the Lord’s miraculous provision for the centre, including that of a total stranger in a furniture shop who paid for 12 brand new beds and bedding for the children!
“The kids started to come in, and Jesus miraculously worked in each of them,” Bita continued. “One day I had a telephone referral about a girl who would be coming to us. She had severe epilepsy and needed medication and regular medical check-ups. I was daunted, and I went to pray. I placed my hand on the entrance door and asked the Lord that when this girl comes through this door, she would leave her epilepsy outside.
“Not once did this child have an [epileptic] episode. We didn’t have to give her any medicine, and we didn’t have to take her to see a doctor. And the Lord did many things for the other 10 or 11 children.”
And then, without any warning, in a single morning, everything was destroyed. Five officers from the security services arrived at Bita’s home while she and her son were asleep.
“It was so painful for me. They turned my home upside down. I knelt over the wreckage, and I said through tears, ‘Dear Jesus, please don’t put me in a place where I am forced to deny You, because I am really afraid of these people.’
“They took me to prison, and they seized the [children’s] centre. Those children I had lovingly cared for, who had been healed and had experienced love for the first time, were suddenly taken away from me.”
Over its 13 years the children’s centre had been greatly blessed by the Lord, and Bita was questioned about where she had got the money. She was also accused of being a Christian. Taken away in handcuffs and feeling afraid, she fell into a deep sleep all the way to the prison. “When I woke up, I had a deep sense of peace which enabled me to calmly enter the prison,” she said.
SUFFERING IN PRISON
“I was placed in a solitary wing of the prison, and I was gripped with fear. I had heard about rape of prisoners. and being in a solitary wing added to my fear, so much so that I slept in a sitting position, too afraid to lie down.
“One night when I was sleeping in that position, the words of a song filled me with a deep peace. I was then able to lie down and sleep. That too was provision from the Lord who strengthened me. Even at times when I was so stressed that I couldn’t pray, I just spoke the Lord’s name, ‘Jesus, Jesus, Jesus…’ and then I sensed His presence.”
Bita suffered repeated interrogations in prison. On one occasion, she was blindfolded and pushed down some stairs, and she still suffers from back pain as a result of the incident. She also felt great emotional pain from being separated from her son.
“It was the strength Jesus gave me that enabled me to endure the time I spent in prison without seeing my son,” she said. “I am not saying I became a very strong person, able to glide through my prison experience. Fears came; anxieties and sorrows came; but I was dependent on the strength, wisdom, and peace that He gave every day.”
After a year, the Lord miraculously caused Bita to be released from prison, and afterwards she left Iran for Germany with her son.
ADVICE FOR VIEWERS
After sharing her remarkable story on New Identity, Bita gave the following advice to Persian viewers who are suffering persecution for their Christian faith:
“First of all, it is important to accept that we can’t know everything. In my case, I was serving, and I didn’t know why it all had to be destroyed. There is no point asking ‘why’, because the whys become a mire in which we might drown. Secondly, we should trust the Lord. It is in hard situations that ‘trusting God’ has meaning. So let us trust God despite the thick mist in our lives that means we cannot see anything.”
Bita said her prayer was that the Lord would use her story to help viewers watching the program. “I get my strength from the Lord, so that the dry places inside me are first watered and springs may flow. And my prayer is that I receive the power from the Lord so that I may be used to water the deserts around me. I hope that tonight, if there is a desert that you are passing through, through this program springs may flow along with the blessing and healing of the Lord.”