HOW THE CROSS CHANGED AN IRANIAN WOMAN’S LIFE

There is a story that has matchless power to touch hearts and change lives. When Leyla, a woman from Iran, first encountered the cross of Christ at the age of 15, it was a deeply emotional experience that altered the trajectory of her whole life. She shared her powerful testimony on popular SAT-7 PARS program Signal.

Surprisingly, Leyla first heard the story of Jesus’ crucifixion at her school in Iran when her religious studies teacher showed the class the Jesus film. “One day at school we were being noisy, so they took us to the school’s prayer hall and the teacher put on a film for us,” said Leyla. “It was the Jesus film. I was spellbound and cried so much when I saw Jesus being crucified. The teacher came up to me and told me not to cry because the story isn’t true and has been changed.”

But despite the teacher’s best efforts to dissuade Leyla of the truth of the crucifixion, she was captivated by Christ. “From that day onwards I set aside a corner of the school yard where I used to go and speak to God, and with Jesus specifically, and although I didn’t recognise Him as God, I did love Him,” she said.

It was years before Leyla would become a committed follower of Jesus, but God continued to pursue her. On two separate occasions, other people’s miraculous testimonies reminded her of that divine love she had first seen in the face of Jesus as he died on the cross.

“DRAWN BACK TO THE LOVE OF JESUS”

The first of those stories came early on in Leyla’s married life when a woman shared how she had been healed from cancer. The night before she was due to have an operation, she looked out of the hospital window and saw a church and began to cry. The woman asked Jesus to heal her.

“In the morning they found no trace of the cancer. Jesus had healed her!” said Leyla. “My mind really changed, and I was drawn back to the love of Jesus about which I already knew something.”

The second testimony that touched Leyla came from one of her neighbours, who shared a dream she had. “[In the dream] she was driving up a steep mountainous road with her family,” recounted Leyla. “The car was about to fall into a precipice when someone appeared and saved her. She spoke to the man in her dream and asked him [who he was]. The man said, ‘I am Jesus Christ. Believe in me and I will save you and your family.’

“I didn’t know that this was true to God’s word,” said Leyla, “But from that time on everything fell into place and I had everything I needed to come to faith and believe that Jesus is the true way.”

“A WELL-LOVED DAUGHTER OF GOD”

These experiences ignited a desire to finally find out more about Jesus. “I found a Christian satellite television channel and I watched the Jesus film several times,” said Leyla. She also got hold of a Bible. “I started to read the New Testament from the beginning. When I read portions about how Jesus forgave, I was so moved. I was so amazed by how He described forgiveness.”

The same Jesus whom she had seen forgiving His enemies while on the cross was being revealed as the forgiver of her sins through the pages of the Bible. Leyla became a follower of Jesus.

Looking back, Leyla can see what a huge change Jesus has made in her life. “Before I came to faith, I saw myself as a defeated person with no hope, and I often thought about ending it all.
Not anymore. Now I see myself as a well-loved daughter of God, and this is so wonderful.”

She ended her time on Signal with a message for viewers in need of hope:

“Maybe now there is someone somewhere, perhaps in Iran, who has unintentionally turned on this channel, like I did. And maybe you have reached the end of the line. If you are at that point and cannot believe that Jesus is the Lord, if you think that there is no one who can help you in all the problems you face, I encourage you to call on the name of Jesus just once. He will definitely answer!”

Signal, now in its sixth series, aims to connect Christians in Iran and Afghanistan and give them hope as they face opposition and persecution for their faith. The program features testimonies, prayer requests, worship, and Bible teaching, as well as news from Iran and Afghanistan.

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