A new SAT-7 PARS initiative is gaining momentum among Persian believers in need of Bible-based support and encouragement. Bible teaching sessions hosted on Zoom, held weekly, are proving invaluable to individuals who struggle to find biblical community or discipleship elsewhere.
I am really grateful for the excellent teaching sessions which have refreshed me and given me new strength,” shares Afarin,* a session attendee from Iran. “You don’t know how much you have blessed and encouraged me.”
With the aim of helping each person move forward in their faith and go deeper in their relationship with the Lord, the sessions begin with sung worship before moving onto a discussion topic. These have included praying and fasting, spiritual maturity, and faith in action. Sessions are designed to impact daily life and always center around a Bible passage.
Attendees – who range from new believers to those who have been following Jesus for a few years – have felt encouraged to read God’s Word for themselves and ask honest questions. The subsequent discussions have made various positive impacts: some attendees have requested counseling; some have told friends about the sessions; one woman even committed her life to Jesus!
The group is run by Farshid and Marjan, a married Iranian couple currently living in Türkiye. Arrested for their Christian faith in Iran, they moved to Türkiye to continue ministering as teachers with different Persian-speaking churches there. Attendees to SAT-7 PARS’ Bible teaching sessions have connected deeply with Marjan and Farshid and have given plenty of encouraging feedback.
“Sister Marjan, ever since I have started attending the teaching sessions, I am better able to pray,” said Farimah, an Iranian woman who recently started attending the sessions. “I have more enthusiasm for the Lord and my relationship with my husband has improved. I am grateful. May God bless you for the excellent teaching.”
Fereydoun, an Iranian man, has been part of the initiative for months now and is vocal about how much he enjoys its communal aspect. “Thank you for your beneficial sessions,” he said. “This is the only church that I am able to attend. In the sessions, I sense unity, the sweetness of worship, and the faith that goes with it. I am able to receive teaching from the Word of God. We are able to be alongside one another as long as we have these sessions.”
As well as providing a much-needed sense of community, the sessions offer rich teaching about the nature of God. Dalir, a regular attendee from Afghanistan, recently wrote to us to say, “I was very blessed by your teaching on the Trinity – it was excellent. Many of the questions that I had have been answered.”
There have been several obstacles to overcome for the organizers and the attendees alike. Due to poor internet access in Iran, only a fraction of the original list of attendees have been able to join the sessions. There is hope that this will improve, but in the meantime, creative workarounds have been devised, such as sending audio recordings from the sessions to those who are unable to join live.
However, social pressure is one of the biggest barriers facing Persian-speaking Christians who want to grow in their faith. Believers must keep their faith private – or face the consequences. Prison time, violent attacks, unemployment, and family ostracism are real risks for any brave followers of Jesus who want to share the Gospel and live out their faith publicly.
But despite these obstacles, those in the group like Dalir are thankful for the persistence and passion of the SAT-7 PARS team. He states, “You are God’s plan to bring the Gospel to the world. You make the Church grow.”
*Names changed for security reasons.