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ICC Note: According to a new report by Open Doors, Iranian women are leading the charge of evangelism and church development in Iran. The report explains that proportionally women in Iran are more involved in ministry in Iran than women in many western countries, despite them not have equal legal rights. These same women, many of whom are converts from Islam, are risking imprisonment, torture and even death for the gospel.

01/20/2017 Iran (WWM): Women are playing a central role in the underground churches of Iran despite the risk of rejection by their families and imprisonment by police, research by the global charity Open Doors has found.

Its 17-page report, Women Rebuilding the Future of the Church, found that women work as evangelists, Sunday School teachers and, increasingly, house-church leaders, and argues that, proportionally, more women in Iran are involved in ministry in Iran than in many Western countries, despite women not having equal standing in Iranian law.

Although Christianity is suppressed in Iran and conversion away from Islam is illegal, there are an estimated 800,000 covert believers, many of them converts from Islamic backgrounds. According to Open Doors, at least 193 Christians were arrested or imprisoned for their faith there last year.

Azada, a woman who runs a church, is in contact with Iranian women converts on a daily basis. She said that, in Jesus, Iranian women gain confidence that they did not gain from the honour-based culture in which they had grown up.

Women who become Christians, she said, find that they “are loved, they are wanted, and they can come to God just as they are, without any shame”.

“Many women risk imprisonment and torture by being active evangelists,” she continued. “And because God gives them the strength to take this risk, each day new people, men and women, get to know the love of Christ and get to know their true identity: beloved children of God.”

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