Elam Ministries reports that 246 people were baptised as Christians at a service on April 17.
Those baptised included 228 Iranians, 17 Afghans and one person from Pakistan. The service took place in a swimming pool at a secret location in a country bordering Iran to avoid interference from the Iranian authorities.
Elam, whose mission is to strengthen and expand the church in the Iran region, says that this was an historic event in that it is probably the largest number of Iranians baptised on one day since the fourth century. It was certainly historic in that never before had so many Iranians from a Muslim background made public profession of their conversion to Christ through the waters of baptism.
Every one of those baptised had a story to tell of how the Lord Jesus Christ had come into their lives.
From the brink of divorce
Ali and Ida told of how their marriage had turned sour and they were living separate lives. Then someone from a nearby church gave them a New Testament. Ali looked upon himself as an atheist and refused to read the book. The misery of their lives continued, their days shrouded in a cloud of depression, drink and talking about getting divorced.
But the divorce did not happen. Two days before they were due to sign the documents, Ali and Ida said they both heard an audible voice urging them to change their minds and not go to the lawyer. They did not go. Instead they went to the church which had given them the New Testament. Through what they heard and experienced there they repented and gave their lives to Christ. Their marriage was restored. The relationship with the rest of their family was rebuilt too. This husband and wife were baptised together.
By the swimming pool one story after another showed how the glorious gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is at work among the Iranian people. The face of a woman named Haja shone brightly as she told of her broken past and how she had come to love the Lord Jesus. The tears flowed down his face as Hassan told how the words of Jesus had moved his heart. A man named Hussein publicly thanked the Lord for saving him from a life of addiction. Maryam gave glory to God for her healing. The stories of God’s goodness went on and on.
Elam says that the testimonies were powerful and they will be very persuasive for nonbelievers. That is why this one historic day will not be forgotten but will continue to bear fruit as those who were baptised tell other Iranian people about the Lord Jesus Christ.
Appetite for the Word
In mid-June, the Reformist backed Muslim cleric, Hassan Rouhani, won Iran’s presidential election, securing over 50% of the vote. By some this is looked upon as a victory of moderation over the extremism of the current president, Mr. Ahmadinejad. But there remains much pressure on the church and many arrests. Mr. Rouhani’s position is due to be ratified by Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Kahmenei, on August 3.
Meanwhile, there is a tremendous hunger for the Bible in Iran which is ongoing. At the headquarters of Elam Ministries a team worked on translating the Bible into modern Persian. The New Testament was completed in 2003 and 10,000 copies were printed. Those 10,000 were soon distributed and every year since then more and more have been printed. The one millionth New Testament in modern Persian was published in 2012. Elam is keeping up the good work and hoping it will not be too long before they can report having distributed the two millionth copy. The church in Iran is suffering but growing.
This article was first published in the August 2013 issue of Evangelicals Now. For more news, artciles or reviews, subscribe to EN or contact us for more information.
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