This morning I glanced out the window of our building and saw a billboard advertising a local bank. A sentence at the bottom of the ad caught my eye: “The passion to do more.” This exactly captures my feelings about Words of Hope’s ministry in Iran. I have – not just a hope, or a wish, or a desire – but a passion to do more so that the people of Iran can know of God’s riches in Christ Jesus.
Our last Update newsletter featured a report by Dr. Tim Brown about a discipleship conference for Iranian believers that he and I led last August in a country near Iran. Tim said this about the experience: “This trip confirmed for me just how important the commitment of Words of Hope is to building up the body of Christ . . . The time and energy expended in building up the body of Christ is essential to the flourishing of the body.” We hold conferences like this regularly in order to provide teaching, encouragement, and fellowship for Christian leaders, new believers, and spiritual seekers from Iran. Often participants in these conferences take advantage of the presence of an ordained pastor to ask for special ministry. In this setting I have conducted Christian weddings, prayed for and anointed those with special needs, celebrated the Lord’s Supper, and baptized new believers. In August a young man whom we are calling “Moe” was baptized, and the leader of our Iranian ministry told me his story—
Moe grew up to be a foul-mouthed young man. He did however know one man whose language was even worse: his uncle’s. So he noticed right away the lack of foul talk when his uncle came for a visit. His uncle told him that he had become a Christian and gave Moe a New Testament. Moe read the New Testament from cover to cover in three days. This resulted in many questions which his uncle could not answer, so he introduced Moe to a mature Christian. Moe was quite happy to bombard Brother M with all of his questions and accusations about Christianity. M wisely responded that he did not have all the answers and he invited Moe to study the Bible with him. So every second week Moe traveled the 200 kilometers to Brother M’s home to study the Bible and spend the weekend with the family. After one and a half years of study and observing the lives of this Christian family, Moe became a Christian himself.
God is working in the lives of many in Iran. Some are hearing the gospel through Christian media; Words of Hope broadcasts two hours of Persian programming every night, as well as streaming it over the Internet Some are receiving the gospel through literature; our ministry partners distribute Persian Bibles, hymnbooks and Christian literature (including Persian translations of Words of Hope books) inside the country. Some are responding to the witness of family members and friends; we support a number of house church leaders and evangelists who live and work inside Iran. And as Moe’s story illustrates, the most effective means of evangelism has always been the changed lives of those who have come to know Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Words of Hope’s Iranian discipleship conferences help these Christians grow in their faith, obedience and witness.
By all accounts the church in Iran is growing today as never before. But make no mistake: this is a hard and dangerous place for those who confess Christ. Ministry there is very challenging. We cannot send missionaries into Iran. But we can send the gospel; in fact, we are sending it, every day. Our passion is to do even more. And you can help. Here’s how. We currently have commitments for just 25% of this year’s financial obligation to our partners in Iran. Will you help us make up the difference? A gift of
$15,000 would pay for a week-long discipleship conference for 24 Iranians and three leaders.
$6,100 would supply a mission share in our Persian language ministry.
$3,000-6,000 would help support a Christian worker inside the country for a year.
$2,000 would pay for a week of gospel ministry in Iran.
$300 would pay for a day of gospel ministry in Iran.
$68.50 would cover one day’s air time cost.
$50 would buy a Persian Bible or hymnbook and get it into the country.
Over-and-above support would enable us to complete the new conference center, support more workers, and expand into new media ministries.
In this season of giving thanks I am asking you to do something tangible to express your gratitude for all the Lord’s mercies. Help us share the greatest blessing of all – eternal life in Jesus Christ – with those who have such great spiritual need, and so little opportunity to hear of him.
Now Thank We All Our God!
Click here to download David Bast’s Thanksgiving Letter as a printable PDF