Some of you may remember that in 1978 at the age of 13, I lived in Iran. My dad took a job there and my mother and I moved to join him a few months later. But the 1.5 year assignment was cut dramatically short by the sudden spark of a revolution. It was a very intense time that culminated in our sudden departure, when my father’s company first sent back the families, and then the employees, shortly before the Shah fell and everything went dark.
But despite what was happening politically and in the media, when I returned home, I had a very different view of the Iranian people than my friends. They said they hated them because of what they saw on TV. However, the exposure and experience I had was to a people of high character, ethics, kindness and compassion. And they were just normal people trying to earn a living and make it through life the best they could, like the rest of us. The short time I spent in Iran was deeply impactful and implanted so many life lessons in my young, impressionable mind. I never forgot my experiences there.
Fast forward to less than a decade ago, when I began to hear stories that despite the darkness that had overshadowed Iran (or maybe even because of it), the good news and hope found in Jesus was spreading throughout the nation. And over the years the reports have continued to swell. The statistics say that more Iranians have come to faith in Christ in the past 20 years, than in the previous 1400 since Islam came to Iran. What’s happening there is nothing short of supernatural! But that’s only part of the story…
The real story is not only their salvations, but the incredible FAITH that is being manifest in these new believers. They are radically changed and passionately obedient disciples of Jesus, who have truly counted the cost of following Him. “They do not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.” (Revelations 12:11) They have no buildings, no programs, no curriculum, no worship leaders – nothing that characterizes the Western version of Christianity. And despite the fact that they risk their very lives to share what they have come to know, they are replicating themselves and transforming their world. I challenge you to take a few hours to peek outside your Western window and watch this documentary movie (featuring Joel Richardson) about what God is doing behind the scenes in the nation of Iran – where the fields truly are “white unto harvest.” I guarantee it will stir, inspire, humble and challenge you in your faith: