Amid persecution and a travel ban, Iran’s youth want community and transformation from within.
When I first met Hormoz Shariat in 2016, I expected the president and founder of Iran Alive Ministries to be a larger-than-life figure who matched the legendary stories of his sacrificial and protective love for Iran’s underground church. I was instead greeted with warmth and humility by him and the staff of his prominent television and evangelism ministry. Though Shariat is constantly in danger, his eyes sparkled with excitement as we talked.
As recent US foreign policy decisions about Iran made news headlines, I caught up with Shariat by email to hear his thoughts about this year’s travel bans, Iran’s next generation of Christian leaders, and the work of Iran Alive.
The Iranian church is seeing explosive growth, despite every effort to silence it. How is this?
There is a very special grace on Iranian Christians living inside Iran. Through satellite TV, we teach them to love their enemies and pray for them. We not only help persecuted and isolated Christians grow strong in faith and action, but we also teach them to share the gospel with their persecutors.
I have many stories about how persecuted Iranian Christians love their persecutors. Many experience the presence and power of Jesus while in jail or when tortured. Our best underground house church leaders are women who were formerly oppressed and desperate but are now attracted to Christianity, where women are respected.
What has been the response to President Donald Trump’s temporary travel bans?
Feelings were mixed. Some were directly affected and were not happy. Iranians both in America and outside America were concerned that they wouldn’t be able to see their loved ones. Those who were hoping to immigrate to America lost hope. Iranians love …