Iran (MNN) – Issues that led to a revolution in Iran 40 years ago still resonate. Chief among them: unemployment and economic inequality.
Over half of the population is aged between 15 and 29, according to a report from the United States Institute of Peace. What that means now is ‘brain drain’, or a substantial group of unemployed or underemployed young people leaving the country.
A new nationalism formed to try to encourage them to stay, but the incorporation of religious ideology and the political identity of the state didn’t appeal to them. Instead, what emerged from the revolution was a culture of fear that limited open dialogue.
The marketplace of ideas went behind closed doors for fear of government retaliation. At the same time, technology created a window to the world. The contrast served to increase the sense of isolation and led to despair over the lost opportunity.
Searching for hope in Iran
Heart 4 Iran’s Mike Ansari explains it this way: “Iranian Millennials are online and using social media to connect with, and socialize with the outside world. The governmental restrictions forced on Iranians has further fueled the appetite of this young demographic to find meaningful answers beyond Iranian borders.”
As the younger generations question the conservative religious sentiment, they’ve found an engaging platform with Heart 4 Iran. Ansari says, “Our ministry is experiencing a surge in the number of chats and online engagements with Iranian seekers. The e-learning platform is designed to engage Iranian seekers, isolated Christians, and online churches to take them through a process-driven interest-to-influence experience.
Because it’s e-learning, when asked if their program supplements an educational platform, he clarified, “Heart4Iran is reaching Iranians via 24-7 satellite TV called Mohabat TV, social media, and various online platforms including our e-learning platform called Masihiat.com. This platform is not an academic setting – it solely exists as a hub to engage Iranian Millennials to convert them into leads.”
Given the Christian worldview and the biblical content it provides, the site has already been the target of government suppression, says Ansari. “Masihiat.com was launched in 2018 as a beta. Eight months inside our beta launch the site was blocked inside Iran.”
However, that was short-lived. “The site was re-launched again and is now accessible inside Iran. The long-term vision is to provide a hub to engage anyone who wants to know more about Christianity and its application to their lives.”
More specifically, the program focuses on engagement and creates relationships with the help of e-coaches. It provides a “process-driven online experience to equip, train, disciple and activate the formation of online and underground house churches. The content is provided by dozens of ministry partners to target a variety of social and spiritual needs. At the very core of the site is the Gospel message of love, forgiveness, and grace for all the viewers.”
Partnering for hope
Finally, Heart 4 Iran launched this project as a way to respond to the issues faced by Iran’s Millennial generation and beyond. They’re offering hope where the future appears bleak. It’s not an economic answer, nor one that addresses the political challenges, however, it tackles the spirit of the heart.
To that end, he urges us, “First and foremost please pray for God’s amazing work among Iranians to continue to flourish. Please pray for God’s favor over this strategy and platform. There are several hundred attempts per day to hack our online activities. Also, pray for wisdom and anointing for us to make the right decisions.”
Headline photo courtesy World Watch Monitor)