I saw the change in my husband when he started reading the Bible, my heart was touched. And I gave my life to Jesus.”
The phones are constantly busy at a Christian Iranian broadcasting center, where a team is always available for calls coming from over 6,000 miles away. Iran is a country in economic, humanitarian, civil, and spiritual distress. The country is eager for options and freedom of conscience. The center is ready for those looking to explore the Gospel message.
Saba is one such individual. “I started memorizing the Quran at age 9. But at the age of 14, I hated Islam,” she explained to the broadcasting center. “Islam had taught me that when I suffer, Allah is pleased. In fact, he likes it. And when I wear covering during the most hot summer days, he enjoys it. I thought that the more I suffer, the closer I get to God.”
Suffering is everywhere in Iran. Women have no rights. Drug addiction is rampant. The government dictates every aspect of social and family life. Saba struggled with this kind of oppression.
“The way women are treated in Islam bothered me,” she said. “My Islamic teacher told me, ‘If a man sees one strand of your hair, then you will die. Allah will hang you from that hair.’ I was told, ‘If men are sexually aroused by looking at you, you have sinned, and you must be punished.’”
“I always thought that Allah treats women like this since sin came to the world because of a woman. I saw that Allah is a friend of men, but the enemy of women. He thinks of women as just merchandise in the hands of men,” continued Saba.
Saba’s experience with men seemed to further prove this belief. She found herself in an abusive marriage, where her husband would often return home late at night, drunk. She was beaten many times, but there was no recourse for Saba. Iran is an Islamic country, and the Quran allows husbands to beat their wives. For nine years, she suffered at his hands. But then one day, everything changed.
Her husband was crying. He never cried.
“I was shocked,” said Saba. “He told me that he was watching your (Christian) satellite channel, and that his heart was deeply touched, and that is why he was crying.”
“Soon, my husband started reading the Bible, and he started changing. Now, he paid attention to me, showed kindness, and a great supernatural love toward me.”
Given Iran’s heavy restrictions on the practice of Christianity and the government’s censorship of media, satellite channels are often the only way for Iranians to hear the Gospel. For many, it is the first time they are exposed to a message of peace and love. They are hungry to learn more about Christianity.
“Soon, my husband started reading the Bible, and he started changing. Now, he paid attention to me, showed kindness, and a great supernatural love toward me,” remembered Saba.
Broadcasting the Gospel into Iran is simply the first step. Iranians are given the opportunity to call Christians living thousands of miles away. These call centers provide spiritual counseling and help new believers grow in their faith. Iranians can also contact these centers through social media. Because these call centers are often staffed by Iranians who fled their homes because of persecution, they can empathize deeply with their callers.
“Meet Yusuf,” said one call center employee. “He is on our ministry team and responds to viewers who contact us through social media. Often, we see him stepping out of his office with tears in his eyes to tell us how one precious Muslim soul was just saved, or how Jesus miraculously just healed someone who was sick. One reason for his serving with such zeal is that he himself was once one of them.”
This dedicated ministry ultimately changed Saba’s life. She watched as her husband became stronger in his new Christian faith, and how he began to treat her with humanity. It was something she never thought possible. It made her curious to learn more about this God who had so transformed her husband.
“I started reading the Bible for myself. I learned that the God of the Bible sees men and women as equally important. I saw that when a man and a woman marry, they become one. Not like Islam, when after marriage the woman becomes a possession of the man,” she said.
Saba continued, “So, when I saw the change in my husband, and after reading the Bible, my heart was touched. And I gave my life to Jesus.”
It was a life-transforming miracle for Saba and her husband. Their conversion, if discovered by the government, could mean a lengthy jail sentence under harsh conditions. It is a frightening thought, but they remain stalwart in their faith. Together, they continue to interact with Christian broadcasting and the call center.
Saba’s story is one of thousands. For years, Satellite TV and call centers broadcast the Gospel into Iran. As the government increases its suppression of human rights, the people are ever more eager to learn about the world outside. Broadcasting the Gospel becomes increasingly important as Iranians seek opportunities to learn about the freedom that Christianity offers thereby choosing for themselves.