Iran (MNN) — It's a time for new
beginnings in Iran. The Islamic republic
is celebrating the Persian New Year, and U.S. President Barack Obama is making
overtures toward better relations between the two countries.
In a videotaped message marking
Nowruz, the Persian New Year, Obama said, "The promise of opportunity for
our children; security for our families; progress for our communities; and
peace between nations. Those are shared hopes. Those are common dreams."
It's a conciliatory note, and
observers hope it will bring more opportunities for dialogue.
David Harder notes that there also
seems to be a window of opportunity for SAT-7 PARS. "At this time when
many Persians are celebrating the beginning of a new year, it's a time when
people can think about new beginnings. We know that they are looking, and
churches in Iran are there to provide hope for people who come. Through
our broadcasts, we're able to reach millions of people with the good news of
Millions of young people–who
make up the largest demographic group in the country of 70 million people–are
disillusioned with life around them. Many
are turning to drugs and even suicide, but others are searching for the hope
that can be found in Christ.
However, as fast as the church is
growing, life as a believer can be hard in Iran. The
open witness of the Good News is banned, and government spies monitor Christian
groups. Believers are discriminated against in areas of education, employment, and
property ownership and also face arrests, imprisonment, and sometimes even
Harder says, "We need to be praying for the church in
Iran that they will have freedom to worship, that the church leaders will be
protected, and for our programs. People
can be praying that our producers will make the kind of programs that answer questions
that people have and really provide the tools to help Christians living there
be able to walk the way Jesus wants them to walk and live."