In this continuing series, believers from Iran have been writing Open Doors about their Christian life inside the country.
Hello believing friends,
My name is Somaye and I am 40 years old. I first heard the message of the gospel nearly 15 years ago. I attended church several times with my friends, but it was just for fun. It was only after my brother became a believer and I attended church with him that my heart was touched and I also became a believer. That was eight years ago.
Today, one of my friends asked me if I have encountered difficulties with being a Christian woman in Iran. When I thought about her question, my heart ached.
I am married and my husband and I have two children. My husband is not a believer. Most of my problems are a direct result of our religious differences. I know many other Iranian Christian women who have found themselves in the same situation.
I do not have the freedom to attend church whenever I want to. Despite the fact that my husband is not a very religious Muslim, he regularly prevents me from attending church meetings. The church is far from where we live and the meetings are held in the evenings. By the time the meeting is over it is usually dark outside. This is a problem for my husband, so he only allows me to go to meetings once or twice a month.
During the month of Muharram, the first month of the Islamic year, my husband does not allow me to attend church at all. He says that attending church during this month is a greater sin than in other months. We often fight about this. Also during this month, my husband listens to and reads the Quran constantly while at home. It is hard for me to tolerate that. He tries to fulfill all of his religious obligations in that one month.
Another problem that every Christian woman with an unbelieving husband has to cope with is the upbringing of her children. Undoubtedly, a believing mother likes to raise her child according to the Word of God and she wants her child to learn from the Bible as well. Unfortunately, this is difficult in Iran because our children are not officially recognized as Christians. Only children from ethnic Christian families can be registered as Christian. Our children have to read and pass the Islamic religious lessons in schools. Raising your children as Christians in a society where the religion and education systems are completely opposed to the Word of God is extremely difficult.
Because I have a non-Christian husband, it is even more difficult for me. When my children were young and my husband was at work, I read the Word of God to them and described Jesus as Lord and Saviour. I also taught them Christian songs. But when my husband came back from work and the children sang the songs I had taught them, he would tell them to bring out their Islamic textbooks. He told them that, according to Islam, Jesus was just a prophet and not a God. He told them that Christianity was an incomplete religion and that the Bible was distorted. He also told them that Jesus had promised a prophet would come after him – the prophet Muhammad.
When my daughter was sick, I took her to a church meeting to receive prayer for healing. When my husband found out about it, he wasn’t happy. He took her to an Islamic shrine the next day.
For my children, these two faiths of their parents are very confusing. It has caused them to have difficulties with making decisions in other areas of their lives as well.
I have placed my children in the hands of God and I pray that he touches their hearts!
Iran is ranked #7 on the Open Doors’ 2015 World Watch List of the worst persecutors of Christians.
Compiled by Jerry Dykstra. For media inquiries, contact Christine Cape at 404-545-0085 or Christy Lynn Wilson at 770-401-9842.