07/09/2022 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – Media broadcasting is the most common way in which the gospel is shared throughout Iran. Given the country’s strict Islamic laws, most Persian women are confined to the home, which means they are often the first within a family unit to hear and receive the gospel. Women have no inherent rights within society, forcing them to live a harsh reality that is completely dependent upon the goodwill of others. This dynamic often leaves them searching for hope.
Salma’s experience is an example of what many women live through in Iran. She explained how her conversion to Christianity first started while watching a media broadcast. “We were watching a TV program and, at that time, our brother had received Hep-C through a blood transfusion and had serious health problems,” she recalled. “On the TV, they talked about how you can pray in Jesus’ name, and there will be healing. The next time we went to the doctor, he was healed. So, we talked to the program again and asked for Bibles. All of our family then became Christian.”
She continued, “My older sister and my dad were the first to become Christian. My older sister had just gone through a divorce because of abuse, and as soon as she became a believer, they noticed a change. She and my mom were the strongest in Islam. And then, after they converted, our brother converted. I noticed that my older sister was answering her questions with love and kindness. The way my sister responded to her day in and day out is why I changed my mind.”
As it turned out, Salma’s father was not genuine in his conversion, and problems began to surface. He didn’t want the rest of the family to discuss the gospel or meet with other Christians. He eventually began beating the women in the family for no other reason than that they had converted to Christianity. They moved away but eventually were kicked out of their new house because they were considered “infidels.”
“When I was kicked out, our family moved to a poor part of the city where there were a lot of single women. They were selling themselves. And the married women were forced to sell themselves so the family could have money. They saw how I was also poor but wasn’t selling my body, so they asked me why and how I was happy.”
Salma soon realized that many women were eager to learn about the gospel. She saw how many women were forced into prostitution by their husbands and generally how social pressures forced women into horrible circumstances that they would not choose for themselves.
For example, one of her friends was hired into a new job but quickly discovered that her boss wanted sexual favors. When her friend refused because it was against her Christian faith, her boss threatened to call the authorities for evangelization, which carries the death penalty.
Christian Persian women are often placed into impossible situations. Nevertheless, they often are able to shine the light of Christ despite horrific circumstances. For Iranian Christians who have escaped, ICC is actively helping them adjust to a way of life that is less dangerous and more empowering. Within the past year, approximately 80 Iranian believers have received relocation support after having fled.
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