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Iranian Christians 'Beg' Believers to Pray for Country's Revival Amid Harsh Persecutions

( [email protected] ) Jul 28, 2014 03:04 PM EDT
Although war is raging on in Ian, Christians continue to find their joy in Christ, and believe that a revival will soon happen within the country.
Iranian Christians within Turkey unite in worship (Reuters)

Despite the immense persecution citizens of Iran currently experiencing, Christians living within the country continue to find joy in their savior Jesus Christ.

CBN News Middle East Bureau Chief Chris Mitchell met and talked with some of these Iranian believers outside of their country in central Turkey.

Raizal, a young Christian man who has suffered extreme persecution at the hands of the Islamic State of Iraq and Al sham (ISIS), told CBN that he never once doubted his Christianity.

"Growing up, I wanted to say I grew up [with] Jesus Christ," Raizal said. "Every time, His name was in my mind. And the next moment I started liking Christianity."

"It was really sweet to me, the feelings, the stories, everything. So by the time I was 15, I believed in Him, and I said I want to be a Christian," he continued.

However, as Iranian militia began to crack down on Christians, Raizal and his brother Reza were forced to leave the country.

"It was really a bad situation there," Raizal recalled. "I couldn't pray [to] God with all my heart because all trouble was there. Even if I say 'Jesus Christ,' they may kill me."

"It become [sic] [a] problem for my job and my health," Reza added. "They tried to kill me [and] then I start to run away."

After arriving in Turkey, where they were able to seek refugee status with the United States, the siblings found a church home and family. Their pastor is able to lead house churches in Iran, as well as the United States, Canada, Germany and Malaysia-all via Skype.

"The main church is my house, and through the Internet I connect to everybody," Reza said. "That's why it's become like an Internet church."

He says a great revival is underway within the Islamic Republic of Iran.

"Right now you can see the results of the Holy Spirit," he said. "From 1994, there were about 100,000 believers. Right now, there are 3 million. You can see what the Holy Spirit is doing with the people."

Many other refugees residing within Turkey have with similar stories, and equate their experience to coming out of "darkness."

"It is like coming out of darkness and into the light," said a woman named Samira, who fled Iran along with her family. "We are so thankful to be able to freely praise our Lord."

Iranian Christian Afshin has also experienced oppression at the hands of the Iranian military police firsthand. Several years ago, he attended the church led by American pastor Saeed Abedini, who was arrested in 2012 and is still suffering in an Iranian prison. After the church disbanded, Afshin was forced to flee the country.

"As a result, I came out of Iran because day by day it was more difficult and it was more risky for me also," he explained.

"I had to change our home because I was sure that one day they would realize my home as an underground house church," he continued. "They would recognize it; the intelligence services would recognize it."

Now, Afshin rejoices that he is able to worship freely with his brothers and sisters in Christ.

"[It's] totally different from Iran," he told the Associated Press. "I can privilege [speak about] God's Word to other guys. I can freely praise the Lord. I can easily go to church. It's completely different."

Despite the immense hardship they have experienced, these believers exude joy and love for Christ. They encourage believers in the West to pray for the Church in Iran-which, they believe, will soon experience a revival.

"And I'm just begging, really, from the other believers, from other sisters and brothers from all over the world, to pray for Iran and to all the people of Iran to find new God and be familiar with God, with Jesus Christ," said Afshin.

"God is moving," added Samira. "Not even Satan's strongest army can crush the faith of Christians in our country."