According to Operation World, there were only about 500 Muslim Background Believers (MBBs – people who converted to Christianity from Islam) in 1979, when the Islamic revolution swept to power in Iran. Now, Operation World estimates that there are at least 100,000 MBBs in Iran, with some sources even placing the number as high as 1 million (figures impossible to verify). How could Muslims turn their backs on the faith they have grown with? What’s happening in Iran?
Mark Howard of Elam Ministries explained the phenomenon to CBN News in a recent interview. He said two main factors are involved: dissatisfaction with the harsh Islamic regime coupled with disillusionment with Islam in general and the bold outreach by Christians inside the country. “I think first and foremost we have to acknowledge that many people have been praying for Iran for a long time and that the Lord is doing something special in that region,” he said. Elam Ministries, was founded with the main objective of strengthening the Iranian church both inside the country and among the diaspora living in the Middle East and Europe. Writing in a blog on The Gospel Coalition web page, Howard said Iranians from diverse backgrounds have come out with compelling testimonies on how they found Christ.
One of those is Fatemah, a young Muslim girl who had been sexually abused by her brothers. When she was 11 years old, her family sold her into marriage, but soon her husband divorced her and sent her back to her family. Facing the prospect of more sexual abuse from her own kin, Fatemah ran away and began living on the streets. It was there she heard about Jesus and she readily gave her life to Him. She eventually married a Christian man. Then Fatemah sensed the Lord telling her to go back and minister to her family. Despite misgivings from her husband, she returned. To her surprise, her family listened to her Gospel message. Even more surprisingly, her parents and siblings all followed her and embraced Christ, too! Howard said, “The Lord saves us, but the Gospel’s also full of the power to redeem and the power to restore and bring reconciliation…” Fatemah now runs a house church in her family home.
Source: Elam Ministries
Bible Study: Psalm 20:5-9
NOVEMBER Praise God that He lifted Fatemah out of the most abject despair and gave her a completely new life in Christ.
PRAY DEEPER for the power of God to touch and change many despairing lives in Iran.