We serve Christians around the world whose brave faith in Jesus means they are, beaten, threatened, imprisoned, tortured, falsely accused, disowned and hated.

IRAN: ‘I ALWAYS WITNESSED GOD AT WORK’

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When Simin* and her husband, Mohsen*, began a house church in Iran, they took extreme caution to not arouse suspicion – but it wasn’t enough. One morning, 12 police officers barged into their house and the whole family, including the couple’s two-year-old daughter, were arrested. 

After 18 days’ imprisonment, the family was released, but the couple were later found guilty of ‘propaganda against the regime’. Mohsen was sentenced to a year in prison and Simin was fined. She also lost her job as a nurse. As a result, the family made the difficult decision to flee Iran.

Encountering Jesus in the Bible and through a film

Simin’s experience of Jesus began when Mohsen, then just a friend, gave her a Bible, but it wasn’t until she watched a film about Jesus that her life changed. She was particularly struck by a scene in which Jesus was carrying His cross. “I felt that I was walking with Jesus,” she says. “There I kneeled and cried for hours, and I couldn’t understand what was happening inside me. Something broke in me – it changed me!

Six months later, Simin attended her first house church. “I didn’t understand the reason for their joy, but during worship I tasted the sweetness of God’s presence among us!” she recalls. As she kept attending, her faith deepened, giving her the boldness to share the gospel with others, even giving them Bibles. 

The church raid

As they kept sharing the gospel with others, and more people became Christians, Simin began hosting her own house church – the one eventually raided by the authorities. It happened after a young man became a Christian and his angry family tipped off the authorities. 

The 18 days in detention were horrendous for the family. “They wanted to find other believers through me, then they wanted to suggest that I’m connected to other countries’ politics and my aim is to mislead others against Islam and the government,” she recalls. “But I just wanted to lead people to Jesus’ love.”

When the interrogators didn’t get the answers they wanted, they got threatening. “If you don’t come back to Islam, you’ll spend years in prison,” they told her. “What will happen to your child? Even if you go free, you won’t get a job anywhere.”

The family bravely persevered and were released. Simin and Mohsen were later issued with their punishments and, a few hours later, Simin was told that she had been fired. It forced them into making the heartrending decision to leave Iran. “It was terrifying, but we had to sacrifice,” says Simin. 

Equipped to empower others

Their journey from Iran took seven months. “God was with us, in every step we took,” recalls Simin. “It was impossible for a family to hide for so long. It took 18 hours to pass the border; we were in a cold, dark truck with other people, but my sick daughter was healed on the way and she slept peacefully!”

In a nearby country, the family connected with Open Doors local partners who provided them with training to process their ordeal. “I learned a lot and I could find trust again,” she says. “Eventually I began to get better mentally and spiritually. It was a great help when I had no one.”

Helped by partners, she and Mohsen now have an online ministry, with Simin teaching the Bible to women in Iran and preparing them to lead house churches.

“In the journey of my life, I experienced persecution a lot,” she adds. “But I always witnessed God at work!”

*Names changed for security reasons

PRAY NOW...
1

That Simin’s ministry will have a powerful impact upon the growth of the church in Iran

3

That God will strengthen and empower women who are called to leadership in Iran.

2

That she and the family will continue to heal from their ordeal, and that her breast cancer will not return

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