It has been six years since Yasmin* was last in her home country of Iran. After she came to faith in Christ, she boldly shared the gospel and became involved in a network of house churches. Though the churches were careful, eventually Iranian authorities arrested Yasmin and several other members of the house churches. Because of the persecution she faced, Yasmin fled Iran.
Radical had the opportunity to talk with Yasmin about her conversion and her ministry to people inside of Iran. Here's that conversation:
What was your life like before you became a Christian?
I was born into a Muslim family. They taught me everything about Islam, and I learned to do my duty and my prayers as a Muslim. I loved God very much and wanted to please him, so I would always do my prayers. I really wanted to have a relationship with God, and I looked all my life. I wanted to feel his presence and his peace in my life, but I could never find it. Finally, I decided to stop my prayers as a Muslim, and I started partying, drinking, and smoking.
How did you come to faith in Christ?
One of my cousins invited me to church one day. When I found out she had become a Christian, I was so upset with her. But I wanted to know what Christian people do and what church was like, so I went with her. There I felt the presence of God. It was something I had been looking for all my life. But I said to God, “I am a Muslim. I will remain a Muslim, but I love this relationship that people have with you.”
I kept going to church every week, and finally after eight months, I gave my heart to Jesus.
What was life like for you when you decided to follow Jesus?
At the beginning when I told my family, they weren’t happy. They told me I could not talk about it. I wanted to take my brother to church, but they would not allow it. However, soon they saw that I had changed. They began to want to know more about this.
I couldn’t talk to many people except secretly. I shared with my close friends and family about my new faith in Jesus. I started going to a house church in secret because I found out that the authorities follow people who go to the public churches.
I didn’t know how hard it would be at the beginning. Later I learned about persecution in Iran and heard of more and more people getting arrested. It’s hard. It’s not something you can do easily in our country.
What was your ministry like inside of Iran?
We started sharing the gospel secretly with people in our city—in parks, on the streets, etc. We always had a New Testament with us. We would start different conversations with different subjects and lead them to discuss our faith. After we knew we could trust someone we would add them to our house churches. It was hard to trust people, but it was really interesting to see how people were thirsty to know about Jesus. Most of the people I shared with wanted to have the New Testament and wanted to know more about Jesus.
Our churches grew, and we had to split up into different places in the city. We could see how God was moving in Iran. We would hear from friends about how God was touching people. We saw people become thirsty and passionate for Jesus.
How did you feel to see people coming to faith in Iran?
For me it was unbelievable to see how God is moving. I had the experience to share the gospel with many people, and I can hardly remember someone saying no.
What happened to cause you to leave Iran?
On the day after Christmas, I found out the authorities arrested many of my friends, and they were looking for me as well. The next day they found me and took me to prison for about 37 days. Our churches had to stop meeting for some time. They met in secret places to pray together. Many of us couldn’t stay in Iran. I have been out of Iran for six years.
During Secret Church 17 we will be praying for the persecuted church in Iran.
*Name changed for security purposes