“I call them silent heroes. Because knowing all the consequences and yet deciding to follow Christ and staying inside the country and staying firm in their faith, it’s inspiring.”
A great revival is going on inside Iran despite harsh persecution of Christians in this Islamic Republic.
An interactive satellite television program is giving a platform to Iran’s “secret” Christians to share their stories of hope with the outside world as the underground church in the Islamic Republic continues to grow.
For the last year-and-a-half, the global Christian satellite network SAT-7, which operates in 25 countries across the Middle East and North Africa, has aired the weekly interactive news talk show “Signal” on its Farsi-speaking channel, SAT-7 PARS.
“Signal” is the first interactive program of its kind giving a voice to Iran’s “secret church” at a time when many Christian converts in the country live under the constant threat of arrest and persecution. The show has been viewed in homes across Iran and the rest of the Middle East, according to The Christian Post.
“For quite some time before we started producing and broadcasting the program, we were always trying to find a unique approach for the Christians, especially those residing inside the country, for being their voice,” said Reza Jafari, host of the show, to The Christian Post.
“Most of the Christian TV programs [available on Satellite TV in Iran] are either teaching programs or theological programs that are sort of like a monologue.”
So Jafari, who converted to Christianity in 2003, wanted to introduce a new way to encourage Christians living in the Middle East and created a platform a year and a half ago to allow Christians to share their testimonies through “Signal.”
The people of Iran are disillusioned with Islam and they are looking for answers to life. They are not finding answers in the traditional forms of state religion or the faith of their ancestors. They are looking for new answers, they are not happy and satisfied where they are spiritually. A large number of these people are actually having dreams and visions about a shining man dressed in white far before we are out there telling them about Jesus.
This may come as a surprise to many, but Christianity is growing faster in the Islamic Republic of Iran than in any other country in the world. Tens of thousands in this overwhelmingly Muslim nation are abandoning the Islamic faith and turning to Jesus Christ.
The program broadcasts to 25 countries across the Middle East and North Africa on its Farsi-speaking channel, SAT-7 PARS. Jafari and his co-host Niloufar Raisi talk to believers through Skype calls, pre-recorded interviews, or live calls. Many of these Christians are Muslim converts outside of Iran or believers who still live in the country.
“One outstanding story and testimony of someone that we had on the show was a pre-recorded testimony from an Afghan convert,” Jafari shared. “He was part of a Taliban militia group in Afghanistan. His job was to murder people or go to war. His story and journey of transformation that he was sharing in our program was really inspiring.
“Whether it comes out in a very simple way or with simple words, it is inspiring for us. A lot of times when I talk with my colleagues or with the producer of the program, I call these people—like Muslim converts that decided to follow Jesus—I call them silent heroes. Because knowing all the consequences and yet deciding to follow Christ and staying inside the country and staying firm in their faith, it’s inspiring.”
Jafari himself converted to Christianity before he left Iran for Cyprus in 2003.
Iran ranks 9th on Christian support organization Open Doors 2020 World Watch list of the 50 countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian, but this does not stop the rate at which Jesus Christ is winning the heart of the people unto Himsef.
Throughout the past decade, Iran became the fastest and biggest growing home church in the world.
“[Christians in Iran] are encouraged to know that they are not the only people going through difficult times. There are similar people in a similar situation,” Jafari said. “But they rest in a living hope that God is behind them and God is with them.”