Iran(SAT7/MNN) — Iran is #5 on the Open Doors World Watch List of countries known for their persecution of Christians.
Christians are an anomaly to Iran. Islam is the pervading ideology in Iran, so those who decide to follow Christ are considered apostates. An apostasy conviction is punishable either by death or by imprisonment until repentance.
From evangelism to Bible training to publishing Christian books, most Christian activity is illegal, and, according to Voice of the Martyrs USA, much of it is monitored by the secret police. Since the government closed the Iranian Bible Society 32 years ago, it has become illegal to publish or import Christian literature or Bibles.
It’s fairly clear that Iran does not look kindly on Christians. Persecution has been steadily rising since 2005. Even so, there are estimates that there are around 100,000 Christian Iranian nationals, and more are responding to the Gospel.
That begs the questions: how is the Gospel getting in, who mentors new Christians, and how are those people getting training?
One possible answer to all three is: SAT-7 PARS, the Farsi language Christian satellite TV channel. This year they want to expand their “Seminary of the Air” block of programming specifically for training house church leaders. The series provides discipleship and theological training directly to people in their own homes. They need to raise around $31,000 to fund the making of this series and are asking for help from every corner.
In the Persian culture, friends and family often share meals. Part of Iranian hospitality is to shower guests with abundance. It’s much the same way with the hope of Christ. Once discovered, it’s shared with enthusiasm and abundance. SAT-7 is tying hospitality to the Gospel and a little cultural experimentation, too.
The team suggests it’s a good time to get together with friends over some food while raising money for SAT-7 to extend its teaching programs specifically to help house church leaders in Iran.
They’re calling it “Dish of Hope.” It could be a breakfast, a dinner party, or a coffee morning — or whatever the host wants it to be. Hold the event before morning worship, turn it into afternoon tea, or get together with a small group one evening. It might be fun to try an Iranian menu, too.
SAT-7 has more ideas that they’re offering in a Dish of Hope Fundraising Pack. The pack contains:
– Event checklist to help with the planning of your event
– Poster for publicity
– Videos you can show at your event
– Prayer points
– Middle Eastern menu ideas
– Suggested schedule for your Dish of Hope event
– Ticket template if you wish to hold a ticketed event
– Support for Iran form – for those who attend the event to add their messages of support to the church in Iran
– Poster template – that can be customised to the specifics of your event
“Your channel is one of the main sources helping me to grow in my Christian faith. You are doing a wonderful job during these dark days in Iran when many people are looking for the truth and a Savior.” (from a viewer in Iran)
Thank God that despite the regime’s harsh treatment of Christians, the church is growing. Pray for the funds to provide these programs.