Iranian Christian Says “I Plant Secret House Churches Because I Was Saved Into One”: How an Teenager Found Christ and Launched a Mission to Equip Persecuted Believers
I was raised in a Muslim family in Tehran, Iran. My mother was a teacher and the principal of an elementary school. She knew a lot about Islam and did her best to follow its teachings. She helped me learn to read the Qur’an, taught me to pray at least three times a day, and encouraged me to fast during Ramadan.
As a Muslim teenager, I remember being full of fear—specifically, the fear that my parents would die. This was because my Islamic beliefs gave me no sense of security on whether they, or any other practicing Muslim, would be saved. I had big questions about the afterlife experience that my faith couldn’t answer. Thoughts of losing my parents would scare me to the point where I would go into their bedroom late at night just to ensure they were still breathing.
Medicine for my soul
One day, when I was 17, a relative of ours came to visit. She had recently become a Christian through her relationship with a missionary working in Iran. And so she decided to come to our house and attempt to share the gospel. “Jesus is Lord!” I recall her saying. “And he has come to save us from our sins!” She supported her claims with several Bible verses, including John 3:16 and John 8:32: “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
As a young Muslim, I had been taught that the Bible was corrupted, that the version we read today is a distortion of its original contents. But as I listened to this woman read from Scripture, I felt something of its power—and I felt sure that a book capable of grabbing my heart that intensely couldn’t be corrupted after all.
Typically, my mother would get offended if someone disagreed with her Islamic values. On that day, however, something surprising happened. Instead of fighting back, she listened peacefully and asked questions. There wasn’t a trace of defensiveness; it appeared that she simply wanted to know the truth. (Later on, our relative revealed that she had been praying for our family before coming to share the gospel, and I’m convinced those prayers worked to soften my mother’s spirit.)