“Even my Savior wasn’t favored above a criminal, by those who didn’t know Him.”

January 13, 2016 by Open Doors in Middle East

Ali, a believer from Iran, wrote to us about Christian life inside the country:

Dear fellow believers,

My name is Ali. Many years ago, I suffered from mental health issues. Nothing helped me to solve my problems. My condition steadily worsened. I felt a severe emptiness and loneliness inside myself.

One day, I was riding in a car on the street and began yelling at every girl I saw along the way. The driver was a cheerful young man and began talking to me. He asked what I was doing. I laughed and replied that it was fun. “A few years ago, I was like you,” he told me, “but I have since experienced such a peace inside myself which has filled all the gaps for me.” As soon as he said that, I felt that he the first person who knew what I really needed.

While I didn’t usually trust people, I trusted him and told him about my whole life and all the sins I had committed. He replied that my only problem was separation from God, the one true God. He talked to me about Jesus Christ and I listened. When I got out of the car, he wrote the names of some Christian satellite channels on a paper and told me that I could watch them instead of drinking or going to parties.

At first, I did not take it seriously and I did not think that it would be effective, but one day I tried it, and after watching one of the programs my mind was changed and I started to consistently watch these channels. One day when I sat in front of the TV, the pastor was reading the prayer of faith. I heard a voice that said to me: “Kneel and read this prayer.” I knelt and began to read the prayer with my whole heart, tears running down my face. I do not know what happened, but without any effort my life was changed and I found the peace that I had always sought.

Many years have passed since I gained my faith in Jesus. I wanted to share the peace I found with the people around me, but this proved to be costly. More than a year ago now, I worked in a factory. In that factory, I saw two old friends of mine, both were addicts. I decided to introduce them to Christ so that he might change their lives like my life was changed.

When I talked to them about Jesus Christ, my friend Ahmad responded positively, but Mostafa disagreed with me from the beginning. Whenever I talked to Ahmad, Mostafa began to intervene and tried to prevent Ahmad from listening to me. Finally, Ahmad told Mostafa not to interfere with our conversation. Then Mostafa became upset and told the employer that I evangelizing in the factory.

After that my employer fired me without any further explanation. I asked myself why the employer preferred Mostafa to me. Then I remembered the moment when people preferred Barnabas to Jesus. Even my Savior wasn’t favored above a criminal, by those who didn’t know Him.

*Representative names and photo to protect persecuted Christians

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