An Online Pastor in Iran Leads a Drug Addict—and His Mother—to Jesus
Pastor Kouroush is leading an online church in Iran. Kouroush ministers to the believers one-on-one. In this post, Kouroush shares about Payam, one of the many young drug addicts in Iran.
It all started with a phone call.
Not a phone call from Payam himself but a phone call from his Muslim mother. She was concerned about her son’s behavior. He was selling everything they owned to buy drugs. The 21-year-old was even beating his father for money. “I don’t know what to do anymore,” she told me over the phone. “Can you please talk to him?”
I started praying for Payam, and I called him on the number his mother gave me. He wasn’t very eager to talk to me. “Who is this and why are you calling me?” was the first thing he said to me. I continued praying and calling him every once in a while to ask how he was doing. One day he sent me an email. “Please call me,” he wrote, “I am in trouble.”
When I called him he started to cry. “What’s wrong?” I asked.
“I stabbed someone, and now the police are looking for me,” he said. “Please pray for me, pray to Jesus to keep me out of prison.”
I listened to what had happened and urged him to go to the police to report himself. We closed our conversation, and I started praying for him. Another email appeared in my inbox soon after that.
“Your prayers have worked!”
I called Payam to hear what had happened. He told me how he had gone to the police station to report himself. How he had prayed to Jesus while waiting for the person he stabbed to come and judge him and how that person had stood in front of him saying, “I don’t know why, but I want to forgive you.”
Payam had experienced the power of prayer, but he wasn’t changed instantly.
When I told him about Jesus, he asked me to stop talking about Him. “I want to talk to you, but please don’t talk about religion,” he said.
We had many conversations until one day I asked him: “Payam, how do you see your future? Do you want to continue to live like this?”
“No, I want to change,” Payam said.
“Then go find a Bible, look for Jesus. He is the only one who can change you,” I said. Then I shared my testimony with Payam. I told him how I had been addicted to cigarettes for 26 years and how I abused alcohol. “But the Lord changed my life,” I told Payam, “He freed me.”
It made a big impression on Payam. If I had been released of my addiction after 26 years, more than his lifetime, the Lord I was talking about might be able to help him. Shortly after, Payam found a Bible and started to read it.
Later, I received an email that made my heart jump. “I want to give my life to Jesus,” Payam wrote.
I called him, and we prayed together. “Now I’m going to tell my parents about my new faith!” he said. “No need,” I replied, leaving Payam surprised. “They will see for themselves how Jesus has changed your life.”
I wasn’t mistaken. Months later, I received a phone call from Payam’s mother. She thanked me over and over again. She told me how Payam had been released from his addiction and how much he had changed. “No need to thank me,” I said. “The one you have to thank is our Lord Jesus. Ask Payam who He is; he can tell you all about Him.”
A few weeks later Payam called me. “You know, when I prayed to Jesus to protect me from prison, I was thinking about a physical prison,” he said, “but what I realize now is that He released me from the prison around my heart. I am truly free now.”
And he had some more good news to share: “My mother asked me about Jesus and I shared the gospel with her…
She gave her heart to Jesus!”
Prayer changes things, and this is so evident in Payam and his mother’s lives. Those living in Muslim contexts face harsh realities in their journey as a Christian. Will you join us to be in prayer for persecuted believers?