Encourage Taher and his family to stand strong

Dear Friends,

Growing up as a strict Muslim in Iran, Taher* always felt like there was something more—like something was missing in his life. But it wasn’t until his youngest daughter, Farah*, became deathly ill with stomach issues that things dramatically changed. Through the healing prayers of Christians his wife Donya knew, Taher and Donya* found Christ.

As followers of Jesus, Taher and Donya committed to surrender everything. But for Muslims in Iran—where it’s actually illegal to convert from Islam—“surrendering all” was no small decision. Despite the risks, Taher and Donya met with other believers and discreetly shared their faith with friends and co-workers.

Like many former Muslims in Iran who take the risk to follow Jesus and be part of a house church, Taher and his family soon became targets. Donya remembers the day secret police showed up at their home, looking for any evidence of their Christian faith. “[In our house church] we used to sing ‘I Surrender All,’” Donya says, “and we always asked each other, ‘Are you ready and willing to surrender everything to Jesus?’”

As the secret police tore through the house, Donya told the Lord: “I’m ready to surrender everything.”

During the raid, Taher was arrested and taken away. Over the next week, he was interrogated relentlessly, every night from midnight to 4 a.m. and throughout the day.  When he wasn’t being questioned, Taher stayed in a tiny, three-by-six-foot cell. There, he would lean against the cold block wall and quietly sing—each word bringing him both peace and boldness.

I surrender all

I surrender all

All to Jesus I surrender

All to Him I freely give

I will ever love and trust Him

In His presence daily live

Eventually, Taher was released, but the situation in Iran grew increasingly dangerous for him and his whole family. Night and day, they were under constant surveillance. Taher couldn’t find a job. The Iranian authorities made it impossible for them to live freely. Reluctantly, they fled their homeland.

Today, Taher, Donya and their daughters Farah and Arezoo* live as refugees in Turkey where life is extremely difficult and challenging. Their decision to follow Jesus didn’t just spark persecution in Iran—the trickle-down effects of their faith have created an unknown future. Like thousands of Iranian refugees who have fled to Turkey, they are not citizens and have little to no rights.

Yet even during the struggles and difficulty, their joy in Christ overflows.

“Jesus is worth everything,” Donya says, “and in my opinion, we have not paid any price yet.”

Would you take a few minutes to encourage Taher, Donya, Farah and Arezoo as they continue to follow Christ while their hearts ache for home?

In Christ, we are One Church. One Family.

Photo: Farah, Donya, Taher and Arezoo

*Names changed for security reasons.

You can send a physical letter through the mail or a digital message using the form on this page. This letter-writing opportunity is available through October 1, 2021.

Writing Guidelines:

  • Greeting cards, children’s artwork, and postcards are best.
  • Postcards with landscapes (mountains, flowers, water, gardens, etc.) are some of Iranians’ favorite scenes.
  • Do not send cards with pictures of animals as the main image. This is culturally inappropriate; animals as part of a landscape picture are acceptable.
  • To assist in translation, please write in simple English (or in Farsi) and please keep your letter brief.
  • Print clearly.
  • Be encouraging and include 1-2 Bible verses.
  • Please show sensitivity; please don’t dwell on their plight or share about the blessings of life in your country.

For Security:

  • Do not mention Open Doors in your letters.
  • Do not refer to Israel, even when using Scripture; and do not use Hebrew symbols or Israeli images of flags or maps.
  • If writing a postcard, please send it in an envelope and do not write the Open Doors’ address on the postcard.
  • You may provide your name, but do not provide your full address.
  • Do not criticize a country’s religion, its government, judicial system, political leaders or religious extremists.
  • Do not send money or make proposals to help.

If you would like to participate in more opportunities like this, you can regularly write letters to persecuted Christians in many countries by bookmarking and revisiting our website.

Mail your physical letters to:

Open Doors USA
PO Box 27001
Santa Ana, CA 92799

Send a digital letter: