By Michael Ireland —
Iran Alive Ministries has planted a thriving underground church network in Iran.
Faithful believers have risked their lives to establish and grow house churches, even in the face of unimaginable danger.
In a recent ministry update, Iran Alive Ministries’ Dr. Hormoz Shariat says: “If one church member is arrested, they will face torture and even death because they confess Christ. But, if a leader is arrested, the entire church community is at risk. If they fold under pressure and give up names of others associated with the church, there is no guarantee that any of their lives will be spared.”
“So you can imagine how I felt when I found out that one of our leaders was arrested. I knew that all of their lives were in danger. I knew that the underground house church network that we had worked so hard to establish for several years could be destroyed overnight and people—faithful Christian people—could die.”
Here is the account of the faithful church members who were left behind when their leader was taken by authorities.
Dr. Shariat reached out to them and asked how they were doing. “Are you afraid?” They said: “Thank you for your concern, pastor. All of us are praying and fasting for our captured brother every day. Every night, we gather together in a secure location to pray and encourage one another. After we have a meal together and break our fast, we worship, pray, and take communion together.”
Dr. Shariat was thrilled to see that instead of scattering, they chose to gather together to encourage one another. However, he was puzzled about their daily communion. “Why do you take communion every night?” Their answer revealed a deep reality about communion.
“We take communion daily to remember what Jesus has done for us. He loved us so much that He died for us with joy (Hebrews 12:2). And we are called to partake not only in His Glory, but also in His suffering (Romans 8:17). When we take communion, we remember the words of Jesus, ‘I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.’ (Matthew 26:29, NIV) That word from Jesus greatly encourages us because, as we take communion, we also say: ‘This could be our last communion as well. If it is, we do not worry because we will take the next communion with Jesus in Heaven.’ With a heart of thanksgiving, we remember the fact that He died for us, but we also renew our covenant with Him, professing that we are willing to live and die for Him as well.”
Recalling what they told him that night still brings tears to Dr. Shariat’s eyes even now. “Wow! What courage they have! How deep is their understanding of the Cross and the Christian faith?”
The persecuted church has much to teach us. Shariat said the next time you take communion, remember the testimony above. Communion is more than simply remembering that Jesus died for you, it’s also renewing your covenant with Jesus Himself. Profess along with the persecuted church that you are willing to live for Him.
He continued: “You may not have been called to pay the highest price by giving your life for Christ. You may not be in danger of being arrested, jailed, and tortured for His sake. But you and all of us are called to sacrifice our time, talents, and treasures for the advancement of His kingdom.”
Dr. Shariat concluded: “I want to thank all of you who stand with us and the persecuted church in Iran through your prayers and sacrificial giving. Without you, we could not—and cannot—do this incredible ministry. We and the persecuted church in Iran depend on your prayers and financial gifts to survive.” — ASSIST News
Prayerfully consider partnering with Iran Alive today in order to provide for persecuted Christians in Iran. You can make your contribution securely online at www.IranAlive.org, or send your check to P.O. Box 518 Melissa, TX 75454.
The author of this story, Michael Ireland, is a self-supported media missionary with ANS. Click here to support him as a missionary journalist.