IRAN – Mojtaba Hosseini was arrested for being a threat to the national security of his home country of Iran. His crime was being a leader of a house church group. When he was originally arrested, he was placed on probation and warned to cease his church activities.
I wonder what I would have done were I in his situation.
This is what Mojtaba Hosseini did. He and his fellow believers chose to continue the work they believed the Lord had called them to do.
Mojtaba recalls that “we felt that the Lord wanted us to continue. We knew this would mean we could get arrested at any moment.” He was right.
The second time he and his Christian friends were arrested they were sentenced to three years in prison. It was not where they wanted to be. It was a place filled with drug dealers, thieves, and murderers. He was deeply concerned about his situation. It would not be unfair to say that he was afraid.
The Psalmist said, “Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You.” (Psalm 56:3) That is exactly what Mojtaba did.
Initially, his prayers were of repentance. “I thought God was punishing me . . . by putting me in prison.”
The Lord made it clear that Mojtaba misunderstood what was happening and impressed upon him that “It’s not about you; it’s about Me. Look around you.” It was somewhat reminiscent of John chapter 4 when Jesus told His disciples to look around and recognize that the fields were ready for harvest.
That is when everything changed. He began to see his fellow prisoners through Jesus’ eyes. They were a captive audience confined to a place where no one could reach them with the Good News. So He sent someone to reach them. Mojtaba Hosseini was the one He chose to send.
He didn’t have a Bible, but he was able to share his testimony and to pray for the prison mates who desperately needed to know Jesus. Men began to repent and come to faith the Lord in faith and Mojtaba began to see why the Lord had placed him there. The prison had become his mission field.
One obstacle remained. He still prayed for a Bible to help his ministry. Once again, the Lord answered his prayers through an unlikely source – the prison imam.
For whatever inexplicable reason, the Imam showed compassion on Mojtaba and his faithful friends. Page by page, he smuggled Scripture into the prison. The imprisoned Christians translated to pages into Farsi and made copies for the other inmates. As Bible verses began to circulate, prisoners began to put their faith in Jesus.
The Lord has a way of taking us to unexpected places to reach the unreached. Sometimes, those are places we would rather not be. But it’s not about us. It’s about Him.
Mojtaba explains, “My prayer for all Iranians is that they hear the good message of Christ. And for the Christians who are under pressure, I hope and pray they can experience the big contrast I felt. They might not be in a good situation, but I pray they feel an inner peace and joy because they know Jesus.”
- CBN News, ‘Prisoners Were Giving Their Lives to the Jesus of the Bible’: Former Jailed Iranian Pastor Tells of God’s Power
- Open Doors, ‘In an Iranian Prison, God Used Me—And a Muslim Imam—To Bring Others to Him’
- By Sathyan Velumani [CC BY-SA 3.0], from Wikimedia Commons