ISOLATED BELIEVERS: IRAN
“Regarding our circumstances, we have nothing, yet we thank God,” says Laleh*, who lives in a remote village in Iran. “I am content because we live with God and have peace.” During our Open Studios events, we heard Laleh’s story – and how SAT-7 PARS is a lifeline for isolated believers who follow Christ amid extreme difficulty.
“Being an isolated believer in Iran truly is a heavy price that many brave Christians choose to pay,” shares Reza Jafari, Presenter of the live SAT-7 PARS program Signal. “Just as Christ has taught us, we must carry our own cross and follow Him (Matthew 16:24). This is exactly what many Christians in Iran are doing, and why we see such strong examples of faith among our viewers.”
Laleh* and her husband are both Christians and watch SAT-7 PARS. Laleh has been in regular contact with the SAT-7 PARS Audience Relations team since 2011, sharing her fears over finances and family, and requesting prayer. Since their house church was forcibly closed, they have been prevented from joining other believers in fellowship, and as known members of the church, they are under surveillance by the authorities. Yet through this time, Laleh has continued to share her immense faith and hope in Jesus Christ.
“Our house is full of light”
“I have a recurring dream in which I am looking down on the earth from heaven. The earth is completely dark, yet our house is full of light. The Bible is found here in our house, where the name of the Lord is lifted up, and so He has placed His light here. The Lord keeps giving this message to us, whether in wakefulness or in our sleep: ‘Do not be anxious, for I have prepared joyful days for you,’” Laleh says.
“For many of our viewers, SAT-7 is more than just a TV channel,” explains Reza. “SAT-7 offers Christian counselling and support for people in need. That is why many people like Laleh contact us on a regular basis: because they know we care and are always there to listen and pray with them.”
Recently, Laleh’s prayer requests have been for her son. Unfortunately, when their house church was closed, he became depressed and turned to drugs. “Pray for my son to be saved from his addiction, which torments us and torments him too,” Laleh shares. “I know that he can be freed through the power of the Lord, and I look for that day.” Laleh’s son is currently receiving counselling from Pastor Miltan, who presents the SAT-7 PARS program Our Neighbourhood and who overcame addiction himself.
“Testimonies like Laleh’s are so inspiring that they leave us in awe,” comments Reza. “We praise the Lord for such strong and brave believers in countries where being a believer really is a danger to their lives. Despite all the chaos, oppression, and isolation, Iran has the [world’s] fastest-growing Church, and we are witnessing God’s work in changing the hearts and lives of people in the country.”
A bountiful harvest
Shoaib*, a SAT-7 PARS viewer in Iran, shares how he too is witnessing God at work in Iran. “People here are so keen to hear the Word of God that if we could go out and freely distribute Bibles, perhaps even 500 a day would not be enough,” he says.
“People are thirsty for the Lord. It isn’t like the early days, when we had to go and approach people. [Now] they come and seek us out. They get our telephone numbers and call us so they can hear the Word. We need more books and more labourers, because the conditions and opportunities for witnessing abound to our hearts’ content.”
Meeting the needs of a growing Church
“Some people cannot believe that freedom of religion and belief in the 21st century is not possible, but it is the sad reality for Christians in Iran who come from a Muslim background,” explains Reza. He explains that religious minorities, especially Christian believers, often suffer extreme pressure and, often, persecution.
Under these circumstances, satellite television ministries such as SAT-7 are playing a significant role in Church growth. “For many Christians in Iran, SAT-7 is the only resource they have, and for those who don’t have a house fellowship, SAT-7 is often considered like a church for them, as the programs connect isolated believers to their global Christian family. Therefore, it is vital for them to access these programs, so that they can keep growing in their faith and in Christ,” adds Reza.
“Please know that the things you say on television have impact; you have viewers and listeners who are affected,” Shoaib concludes. “Be encouraged that not the smallest grain of your work will be without fruit.”