I came to United States as a refugee almost two years ago. However, getting to this land was not easy at all. I spent 3 years in Turkey waiting for an age-long process to be approved by the United Nation and other American humanitarian agencies as someone who is eligible to enter to America. Coming to this land was not a goal for me, but I left my country because of the persecution over Christian believers. I have been serving as a worship leader in a church which was closed by the Iranian security forces after years of persecution and intimidation. We tried to resist and keep the church open to people but however the government wanted something else. Even after the Islamic government closed the church to people, I received threats and intimidations from the so-called Islamic intelligence service. Finally, I decided to flee from all the stressful life situation and seek asylum in Turkey. In the beginning it was really hard for me to adjust myself to the new environment, but God didn’t leave me alone and He planned for me to serve Iranian people in a neighbor country which has many cultural and linguistic similarities.
The waves of persecution have pushed the Iranian Christian out of their own land to a neighbor country and this situation has provided a great opportunity for the churches to serve Christian refugees and also Muslim refugees in Turkey, Georgia, and Armenia. I was one of the lucky servants who had this awesome opportunity to serve refugees. During those three years many people added to the church, and still many other churches were established in other cities. In fact, there are many thousands of refugees in these countries which the majority of them are Christians and got stuck there in a suspended situation. They cannot go back to Iran and neither they can move forward to another land for a better situation. They only have to stay there and wait until a country accepts them as refugees. In this frustrating status, churches can play a vital role to support these people spiritually and bring hope to many desperate lives. However, there are not many healthy churches in these cities of refuge who can treat people with a healthy spiritual food. Here is one of the goals of the Persian Leadership Development (in the GTI): to train leaders for the churches who are lacking decent and experienced leaders. Currently, I am working for this initiative in the GTI and my aim is to teach Iranian believers and train leaders for the Persian churches all around the world.
In Iran, the Islamic government has closed all of the churches and there are just underground churches, and they are experiencing a tough time of persecution in the recent years. However, the more persecution, the bigger the church becomes. There has been a massive response to the message of the Bible in my country in recent years and every day many people come to Christ, but however they need leaders and pastors to help them to grow and become a true disciple.
This ancient land consists of different people and language group with their own customs and many unique cultural aspects. Iran has 95 people groups and almost 89% of the 82 million population is unreached, but however it has one of the fastest growing Evangelical Christianity in the world, which is 19.6% annually (Joshua Project). The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.
For me, the refugee status is over now, since I have found my community here at Southeastern. However, after two years of living in this huge country, I can say I have relatively adjusted to the lifestyle here in America, though I have had a really hard time in the first year. I praise God that I am here to be trained and equipped for the bright future of my home land, when many people can get together and worship Jesus.