LIVING BEYOND PERSECUTION
For many Iranians, the pressures of living as a new believer become so high that they have to flee their homeland.
“Because of the church activities that we attended, many of my close friends were arrested and faced a lot of problems. Many of them were sentenced to prison, interrogated, and endured many hours in detention. Due to the immense pressure I was under, I couldn’t bear it anymore. I feared for my safety.”
A COMMON REALITY
Homa’s story is a common reality for new believers in Iran. Mothers, fathers, husbands, wives, sisters, brothers who decide to follow Christ face the continual threat of arrest, the loss of their jobs, and rejection by their communities. House churches are often raided, and, like Jabar’s friends, members are rounded up by security officers and sent to jail for questioning.
Emmanuel recounts his experience in detention:
“I was in a room where there was a table facing the wall, and I could not see the interrogator’s face. He always stood behind me. He would write his questions down on a piece of paper and tell me to write my answer. If my answers were irrelevant to his questions, he would treat me roughly. He would make threats like ‘do you ever want to see your child again?’ He wanted the names of people that I had ‘corrupted’ with the Good News.”
Despite these dangers, Iranians are following Christ in large numbers. The underground and often persecuted Church is thriving – with help from SAT-7. Every day, two or three people from Iran tell SAT-7 that they have now believe in Christ after watching a Christian program on our Farsi-language channel.
PLATFORM FOR THE PERSECUTED
SAT-7 has been filming documentaries about Iranian believers, such as Jabar and Emmanuel, who have had to flee their country because of their faith. SAT-7 PARS camera crews have been interviewing them, giving them a platform to tell others about their often-dangerous escape and journeys through Turkey and Greece.
The Seven Labours of Nostalgia documentary was the first step; and in 2016, the first season of Beyond Persecution was filmed and began broadcast at the end of the year. The drama-documentary delves into the lives of Farsi-speaking Christians who fled their countries due to persecution and shows how they are rebuilding their lives in Turkey. The series explores each Christian’s background, how they came to know Christ personally, the difficulties they faced as a believer, their reasons for leaving their country, and how they keep their faith today despite their hardships. SAT-7 PARS hopes to film the second season later in 2017, to meet with more believers and encourage the wider Persian Church to remain steadfast in faith.
Homa says, “if you are going to trust God with your hardships and problems do it with all of your heart, and don’t doubt him. If anything happens, you should trust God completely: don’t try to do things your way, leave it all to Him.”