persecution.org

Shedding light on Christian persecution around the world.

March 9, 2012

Iran

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“When they put me in the prison and shut the door, I just fell on my knees and kissed the ground. I said to God, you have got a purpose that we are here.”

Rahim, whose name has been changed for security reasons, ran away from home at an early age following his father’s death. Living on a meager income and often sleeping on the streets, Rahim’s single mission soon became to get out of Iran.

Rahim resented God for his hardships and began experimenting with witchcraft.

“I knew that God was there, but God was doing nothing for me so I went to Satan instead,” Rahim told ICC.

By God’s grace, Rahim met a Christian who gave him a Bible. An inner-struggle consumed Rahim’s thoughts and conscience while he was reading the Word of God.

“I have lived so long with you, and I have done everything with you, but I am still in a bad situation and always in a bad mood,” Rahim said in opposition to the demonic thoughts within him. “I just want to see what the Bible is saying.”

Rahim began asking God why he felt ignored during his most difficult trials. Scriptures revealed to Rahim that God had not deserted him and that Rahim had to surrender his life completely to Christ by walking away from his sin. Still, the demonic influence over Rahim’s life continued to torment him.

During a prayer gathering that Rahim attended with his new Christian friend, a group of Christians laid their hands on Rahim and began praying for him. Rahim found himself weeping and aching.

“I became free. It was suddenly like my eyes were open,” Rahim said. “I did not even have the strength to think about anything. It was like I was seeing everything for the first time.”

Rahim’s newfound freedom changed every aspect of his life. He no longer wanted to flee Iran, but longed to grow in the Christian faith. He soon met Farrin, his wife, at a Christian gathering and was introduced to her friends who had been instrumental in Farrin’s conversion to Christianity (click here to read Farrin’s testimony). Together, they began serving in the church and evangelizing.

On September 4, 2010, Iranian security forces raided a house fellowship in Hamadan. Rahim, Farrin, and other Christians were arrested. Rahim was immediately put in solitary confinement and would stay there for 43 days.

“When they put me in the prison and shut the door, I just fell on my knees and kissed the ground. I said to God, you have got a purpose that we are here.”

Interrogations were intense that first month, Rahim recalls. “The whole goal was to get me to confess that [a certain pastor] had forced me to become a Christian.”

The hardest part for Rahim, however, was not the interrogations, but hearing his wife crying in a nearby cell. “I heard the crying and weeping of Farrin… It was very hard; very heavy… I was not able to do anything. The only thing I could do was to find refuge in God.”

After his time in solitary confinement, Rahim was moved to another prison where he was able to interact with other inmates. Rahim remembered praying before his arrest to be sent “where suffering is, even if it is a prison.” Several people gave their lives to Christ during Rahim’s ministry during the next seven months in prison.

However, circumstances in prison never improved. Rahim witnessed the brutal killing of a fellow inmate by a guard and heard the screams from countless suicides. Even so, Rahim did all he could to help ease the suffering of prisoners and learned how to smuggle blankets and clothes into the prison to give to those who were freezing in cells with open windows in the snowy winter.

“I knew that some of these people were killers and thieves and dealers, but Jesus was a friend of sinners. So, I started to disciple these people,” Rahim explained.

The only place Rahim was not being watched was in the prison mosque. Every week, he would gather the new believers to worship together and proclaim the name of Christ in the mosque. Rahim also witnessed miraculous healings of the sick.

Rahim and Farrin were finally released after eight months in prison. “The fact is that they had no excuse to detain us in the first place,” Rahim said. “My wife and I are both from dysfunctional families and backgrounds. We have been directly touched and saved by our Lord Jesus Christ, who turned our lives around. For this reason and to thank God for his deliverance, we only spoke of our own personal experiences with Jesus Christ to people and especially other social victims. After eight months I guess they realized they were wrong about us, and caught on to the fact that we are but simple witnesses to Christ.”

Rahim and Farrin continue their ministry today among Iranians living abroad.

Please continue to pray for the Iranian church. In recent months, the Iranian government has raided numerous house churches and arrested many believers. Additionally, Youcef Nadarkhani, a pastor from Rasht, Iran, is scheduled to be executed any day now for his Christian faith. Click here to read about the current persecution of Christians in Iran.