This year we have had quite a discussion among staff and some pastors surroundin...
Pars strives to be a robustly Christ-centred Iranian learning community committed to whole person theological training that transforms. Currently, 55% of the 493 students we train are women. This is a statistic that encourages us greatly, particularly because it closely reflects the leadership situation of the church in Iran. Indeed, most of the underground house church networks whose leaders we train report that women comprise about 60% of their leaders.
The self-sacrificial service of many female leaders of the Iranian church, their refusal to hate the oppressive Shi’ite islamists who persecute their people, and their insistence that, in spite of the horrors of persecution, life is glorious and magnificent, make them some of the most extraordinary women of our time.
One such woman is Sara, 42, a believer from a Muslim background who has been studying with Pars since late 2018 as a part-time student. It is a number of years that she has been leading a growing network of house churches.
Sara was arrested in June of 2019 for planting new house churches and thereby “acting against national security”. At her trial a few weeks ago, Sara was issued an 8-year prison sentence. Sara’s husband was sentenced to 3 years imprisonment, fewer years than her because of a recent diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease. They have not yet been asked to begin their sentence, so they are currently at home, waiting.
When our staff asked Sara about how they can pray for her, she said:
“I don’t have any personal prayer requests, but please pray for our dear country so that the love and grace of the Lord would be known here. May we sing new songs for our Lord and may we lift his glorious name in our country. Thank you for being with us every step of the way and for giving me this amazing education. I am so thankful for the divine family that we are in the Lord.”
It was not too long ago when Sara was a young Muslim girl, going about her daily life, when one day she encountered Jesus in a dream. This meeting with Jesus transformed her. Sara then spent the next few years of her life courageously sharing the gospel with other Muslims through affectionate hospitality and the study of God’s word in her home.
It is Jesus – whom she met in a dream and later got to know through the reading of the Bible – that led her to see others, even those who persecute her, as fellow image bearers of God, in need of God’s love and grace. And it is her relationship with Jesus that has enabled her to live such a full and beautiful life in the midst of so much hatred, sorrow and despair.
- Please pray for Sara and her husband as they wait to hear from the prison authorities, that they would know deeply that the Christ who waited in Gethsemane now waits with them.
- Please pray for many other female students like Sara who continue to boldly proclaim the good news of Jesus in Iran, for their on-going protection and resilience in the midst of challenges and hardships.
- Please pray for our team at Pars as we seek to provide the kind of training that raises more servant-leaders like Sara, equipping them for lives of service, sacrifice and solidarity in Iran.
As ever, we are humbled and encouraged by your incredible support, financial and otherwise.
Your brother in Christ,