Monday, June 05, 2006

"A" 's story

My name is " A" . I'm 28 years old, and I from Tehran, Iran. I am married and I have a one and a half year old son. I've lived outside Iran for almost 7 years. I was in Turkey for 6 years. I have been in Greece now for almost 7 months.

4 years ago I returned to Iran to get married, then I returned to Turkey with my wife. After 2 years, God gave us our son. I gave him as a gift to God to use him anywhere. Because of the economic problems in Turkey, I sent my wife and son back to Iran 9 months ago. I came to Greece by myself.

I grew up in a strict Muslim house. When I was 16 years old, I started work as a tailor in a shop that employed 40 people. The owner of the shop was an Armenian Christian. One day he came to visit the shop. He came up to me-it was a Thursday, the last day of the Muslim week, when my week's work was already over-and I was just sewing a pair of trousers for myself. When he saw my job, he asked if I would like to work with him privately. Two weeks later, I quit that job and started working for him in his house. His customers were Armenian as well. His house was far from our house, so my employer decided to let me sleep at his house and I would go home on weekends. When I told my parents, they didn't want to let me go because they believed that my employer's family was unclean (because they were not Muslims), that I should not eat with them, and that I shouldn't even accept their money. But I told my parents, "I know them, and they are really polite, and I love them." My employer had 2 children. His son was 4 years younger than me, and his daughter was 6 years younger, so we became exactly like brothers and sisters. His wife loved me like her children. She didn't let me wash my own clothes but would do my laundry herself. I worked for them for 5 years, and during that whole time, they would talk about Jesus. His wife was a wonderful believer. She wanted to make sure that I knew that Jesus was the Son of God and He is the only way to salvation.

When I got older, I was had to go into the army. I became friends with my fellow soldiers and became more like them. I can say that, before, when I was in my employer's house, I didn't sin, but in the two years I was with my fellow soldiers, I sinned enough to send me straight to hell. After a couple of months, I was reassigned in the army to the religious police division, where I was taught how to interrogate and brainwash people. There was a mullah (Islamic religious leader) there who encouraged us to engage in Sighe, a sort of "short" marriage, blessed by a mullah, that only lasts between a man and woman for a certain period of time (from two months to one year). [The orphanages in Iran are mostly filled with children from these kinds of "marriages."] So I did. But after a couple of these Sighe, something inside me told me, "Don't you know anything about Jesus? Why are you doing this?" So I decided to walk separately from my friends. It was difficult because I was in the army.

When I got out of the army, I went to Turkey. I didn't know there was an Iranian church in Turkey. I'd never been to church because my employer was afraid to bring me to a church back in Iran. [It is forbidden for Muslims to enter a church or for Christians to speak about their faith to Muslims.] After I had been in Turkey for 4 years, I was walking in the open-air market with my wife when I saw a man and a woman approaching us. They had heard us speaking Farsi. They gave us a book called What Is Christianity?and invited us to the church. I had talked to my wife prior to that about Christianity and my employer, and she was interested in Christianity too, but she didn't know anything about it. So we were so glad to find the church in Istanbul. We went to the church and Sister Gity from England was there. That was our first day in church. We were so impressed. After ten months, we saw the fruit of Jesus in our lives. We also saw a lot of miracles in our child's birth. So we decided to give our lives to Jesus and ask Him to use us and live in us. Last year, we got baptized.

I want to share some of the things that have happened since I've believed in Jesus. Recently, my wife was sick because she was alone because we had been separated for so long. She was so depressed that she couldn't move half of her body. She couldn't sleep at all for a whole week. It was during the First Timothy Project, and Brother Themis asked us to all pray for each other. Brother Sam prayed for me. Two days later, when I came back to Athens from attending the Project, I called Iran. It was 10 o'clock at night, and I woke my wife. She told me that she had been able to sleep for two days, from exactly the time that Sam prayed for her. I thank God for that.

I believe that all of our problems can be taken to God by faith. I wish for all the believers to refresh their spirits with faith and prayers. And I pray for unbelievers to open their hearts to have Jesus' love and peace inside. The Grace of our God, Jesus Christ, be with you forever.

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