The church in Iran wants you to know: We’re ‘still alive’

May 7, 2020 by Ryan Hamm in Middle East

Did you miss going to church this Sunday?


For many Iranian Christians, going to a building they call a church is something they can only dream about. Instead, they secretly meet in houses, gathering in their homes with several other believers and avoiding the attention of the government.


At least, that’s how things were until coronavirus came to Iran.

“As soon as the outbreak of the virus was announced, we stopped all our face-to-face house church meetings,” says Salomeh, an online worker who remotely works with believers in Iran. “Everyone is obeying the rules, and doesn’t even visit his or her family.”

Iran was hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic—and it doesn’t seem like the crisis is over there. For Christians in Iran, many of whom have to worship Jesus in the shadows, it was an additional burden on a life already filled with danger and tension.

Iranian Christians faced a significant question: Can a secret church continue to exist under a lockdown? If it wasn’t for online tools and workers, it would have been extremely difficult. But with your support through partners, what was difficult has become a spark for the church in Iran, Salomeh says. “In this time of crisis we have over 10 hours of prayer meetings every day,” she says. “We created a special prayer schedule that we call ‘Frontline,’ where prayer members can virtually walk in and out to come to pray together.”

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Christians in places like Iran are living in the same reality faced by people all over the world: COVID-19 has shut down their jobs, churches and societies. But these believers face this threat on top of the daily isolation and persecution they experience just because they follow Jesus. When you give a gift today, you’ll rush urgent support to these Christians—helping them be the Church, no matter what!

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‘We help them to overcome fear and anxiety’

Even though she doesn’t even live in the country where the people she serves live, working with and encouraging a community online is a 24/7 job, Salomeh says—and this is especially true in times of crisis. “Our people are sitting at home now all day long,” he says. “We help them to overcome fear and anxiety and spend extra time with them individually. Apart from teaching, prayer and worship sessions, we also have group meetings in which we share our testimonies to help us deal with the reality of these days.”

Salomeh emphasizes how happy she is with the support that she received from Open Doors through a partner. “Your support and prayers result in the growth of the kingdom,” she says. “The church in Iran is still alive, even though church buildings are closed, even though a pandemic is terrorizing our country. I pray that one day we will all be standing in front of God’s throne knowing we’ve done our part in the Kingdom.”

The COVD-19 pandemic makes secret Christians more isolated than ever. That’s why, through our partners, we are stepping up our online presence for Iran and Middle Eastern countries. Your support is vital to make this possible for all who need it. Give now, if you can.

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