31-year-old Iranian, Ebrahim Firouzi, who had converted to Christianity, has managed to sneak a message of encouragement for other Christians in the country.
Pastor Firouzi is currently detained Rajai Shahr Prison in Iran’s Karaj. In his message he insisted upon the Christians to keep proclaiming Christ to the nation. “If you are courageous in God’s way, God’s grace will be with you. Do not fear what you are doing, and raise the banner of Jesus in the name of God.”
“If you want to do good to others, who can harm you? … Keep your conscience clean so that people will be ashamed if they cause you harm. If it is God’s will that you should suffer, it is better to suffer for doing good.”
Pastor Firouzi, is currently serving a five-year sentence in an Iranian prison. He was sentenced to imprisonment in April last year, as the authorities convicted him “actions against national security, being present at an illegal gathering and collusion with foreign entities.”
“I ask you to pray for the reopening of the churches in Iran that the government has closed by force, so that the sound of worship and the praise can be heard in the buildings again,” he stated while urging Christians to pray for the churches shut by the authorities.
Pastor Firouzi’s message has emerged at a time which marks a dim time for the Christianity in Iran; yet despite increased persecution house churches are growing. As a result of the Iranian regime’s anti-Christianity campaign; only a hardly any local language (Farsi) churches are still operating. It is primarily because of this fact that Christians are compelled to hold worship meetings in houses; which is under heavy persecution.
Presenting a factual reason of an increase in house churches in the country Regional Manager of Middle East Concern (MEC) – Rob Duncan says, “Now that the ‘official’ (government-allowed) churches have been closed, there is nowhere they can go to that they can freely worship the Lord, and this is something that has affected a lot of people. The Persian speakers are being forced into house churches; they have no practical alternative.”
Pastor Firouzi, in his message to the Iranian Christians, said that he yearns for freedom but wanted to be a testimony bearer for Christ in the prison. “We are trying to preach the gospel, and Jesus is our example; the Savior who came among us to be crucified and save us. We sometimes have to sacrifice our freedom to live in God’s love, so I can’t only think about myself when there are so many believers and churches suffering persecution.”