| Recently, Stacy Harp of PersecutionBlog.com in conjunction with Voice of the Martyrs offered a free copy of VOM's new book Iran, desperate for God to members of the VOM Blogosphere. VOM is a ministry I enjoy supporting, so I agreed.
After some issues receiving the book (it sat in my inbox for several weeks before I realized I had actually received my pdf!), I printed it and began reading it.
Before I get too far, I wanted to give everyone the stats on the book:
This was one fast read! I read fast usually; however, the better the book, the easier the read. I printed the book on a Friday and started reading Saturday. By Sunday evening, I was finished! I couldn't put it down. Anyway, enough about me reading the book…let's get to the meat of the review.
At first, I didn't know what to expect. Was this going to be a book about Iranian history? Was this book going to be missionaries to Iran? Would it deal with Muslim/Christian conflict? In short, the answer is yes; however, a better description of the book is found on the VOM website:
An oppressive Islamic state drives its people into the arms of God! Despite the tremendous oppression in Iran, an intense spiritual hunger is breaking out across the country.
The salvation of Jesus Christ is sweeping through one of the most oppressive terrorist nations on earth. How can it be? Read seven testimonies of Muslims who found true freedom.
Iran, Despereate for God tells the complete stories of seven Muslim Background Believers (MBB). The stories where told by these MBBs in their native language then compiled for the book. Each story is unique; however, they all have one thing in common: the people in the story were pushed to accept Jesus as their Savior by the oppressive Islamic goverment in Iran. In addition, these stories should serve to prod us in America to action. Not only do we have brothers and sisters in Iran, we have ACTIVE brothers and sisters in Iran!
Below is just enough about the stories to whet your appetite for more:
Introduction: The six-year-old evangelist
A six-year old wants to witness to his teacher about Jesus, but how? This bold youngster takes Bibles and videos about Jesus to school and broaches the subject with his teacher.
Chapter 1: Searching for the Source of Power
As a fifth grader, a youngster buys a collection of 50 books about history (this was prerevolution). Later on, he received a tract about Jesus. As time goes on, he reads communist literature, Islamic literature, and Christian literature. He searches for answers from these books as well as from Mullahs. As he searches, he finds the answers he is seeking with Jesus. Christianity is more than blind faith!
Chapter 2: Padina in the House of Seinab
As a child and youth, a girl seeks comfort and approval from Allah in rituals. While watching a Christian TV program, she seeks answers. After trying to kill herself with sleeping pills, she accepts Christ.
Chapter 3: Who is Jesus?
This chapter tells the story of a young girl who doesn't grow up in a "good" home. Post revolution, she begins asking questions about rules she has to follow:
"When I was nine years old, because of the Islamic revolution, they forced me not to paint my fingernails or wear any makeup. I thought, Why are they doing this to me? What does this have to do with God–not painting my nails, or having to cover my hear and wear the big blak robe? What kind of help is this to me? What kind of relationship is this to God?"
She was later saved after watching the "Jesus film."
Chapter 4: Waiting for the Promised Mahdi
"Each week I would ride five hours in a taxi to a mosque, almost 160 kilometers (100 miles)…. I went every Tuesday for almost ten months…. Behind the mosque is a well. People who have requests for Mahdi or some prayers write them on a piece of paper, along with a verse from the Koran, and throw the paper to the bottom of the well…. Once or twice I wrote my request and put it in the well. But I still didn't get an answer. Maybe Mahdi didn't have time to read it."
This brother later got saved. Today he tries "…to grow more in His Word to prepare in case I am persecuted." Even though he goes on to state that people get angry towards them when they try to witness and even though the cell groups cannot sing with a loud voice because of the potential for problems, this brother doesn't think he is persecuted!
Chapter 5: Two Lights in the Desert
This is the story of a doctor and his wife. They and their family are Christian and suffering for Him. The doctor gets poor assignments, and his family suffers their own persecution. He has even been taken in my the police for questioning. In spite of all that, he is strong in serving the Lord!
"Although there are interrogations and warnings, we have an expression in Farsi: 'When you are drowning, it doesn't matter how much the water goes up, one inch or one meter….' Living in Iran, my security is in Jesus Christ."
Chapter 6: Hiding the Dish
Everywhere this lady went, everything pointed her to God. Her sister had become a Christian, and she noticed the difference. At work, coworkers witnessed to her. Her husband encouraged her. Eventually, she became a believer.
Chapter 7: The Fanatic
At a young age, this girl became a baseige (one who is totally devoted to Islam). This means she participated in more rituals and did extra (and special) duty. All along, all she ever wanted was to get closer to Allah. She was even involved in a play where her character wondered why she was there. All the time, she was questioning: "Really–why am I here?" In the end, it was a movie based on the Gospel of Luke. While that was on, she repented and accepted Christ!
Today, as she moves through the country, she caries two things: her Bible and "Jesus video." As she witnesses, persecution causes her to move around the country. In her words, "…persecution … pushed us out into new areas."
In conclusion, this book is awesome! Not only does it tell stories of our brothers and sisters in Christ, it should provide encuragement to everyone else. I would highly reccommend this book to anyone!