"The Lord saves us, but the Gospel's also full of the power to redeem and the power to restore and to bring reconciliation and her testimony really speaks to that and shows it in a very powerful, tangible way." Mark Howard, Elam Ministries
(Iran)- [CBN News] Christians in Iran face imprisonment, beatings, and even death. But the Church continues to grow at a rapid rate.In 1979, when the Islamic revolution swept to power there were only about 500 Muslim Background Believers, according to the reference book Operation World. It estimates that today there are at least 100,000 MBB's and some place the number as high as 1 million.
Dissatisfaction with the harsh Islamic regime and disillusionment with Islam in general are part of the shift, but the main reason is bold outreach by Christians inside the country, Mark Howard of Elam Ministries told CBN News.
Elam Ministries works to strengthen the Iranian church both inside the country and among the diaspora living in the Middle East and Europe.
"I think first and foremost we have to acknowledge that many people have been praying for Iran for a long time and that the Lord is doing something special in that region," he said.
Powerful testimonies of people from all walks of life -- including hardened criminals, Muslims imams, and abused women -- finding faith in Christ are pouring out of Iran, Howard wrote in a blog on The Gospel Coalition web page.
He told the story of Fatemah, a young Muslim girl who was sexually abused by her brothers from a young age. When she was 11 years old her family sold her into marriage, but soon her husband divorced her and sent her back. Facing the prospect of more sexual abuse, Fatemah ran away and began living on the streets.
It was there that she heard about Jesus and gave her life to Him. She began attending church and married a Christian man. As she and her husband attended a ministry training session hosted by Elam Ministries, Fatemah sensed the Lord telling her to go back and minister to her family.
Her husband struggled with the decision, Howard said.
"He told the Lord, 'I can't love these people after what they've done to my wife, but give me Your love for them.'"
When they returned, the family listened to the Gospel message and they all turned to Christ. Today, their home is a house church and Fatemah is one of the leaders.
Fatemah's story "speaks to the tragic beauty...of so many testimonies that come out of that region," Howard said.
It demonstrates not just the saving power of the Gospel, but its transforming power, as well.
"The Lord saves us, but the Gospel's also full of the power to redeem and the power to restore and to bring reconciliation and her testimony really speaks to that and shows it in a very powerful, tangible way," he said.
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