Missions--Helping the Underground Church Grow
Pastor Ali Abed | Hope of Persia Ministries, Texas
Islam remains one of the greatest challenges the Church is facing today. There are 1.9 billion Muslims in the world as of the start of 2020—about 1/4 of the entire planet’s population! An estimated 3.5 million Muslims live here in America. One does not have to travel far from home to find a mosque, to see women and girls dressed in traditional or modified covering (only faces and hands visible), or to catch snippets of conversation about Allah. While Muslims are evangelizing Americans, the Church remains silent.
At this time, Persians are the most open to the gospel in all the Muslim world. There have been more converts to Christianity in the last 40 years, since the establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran, than in the past 14 centuries—that is, since the inception of Islam!
The spread of Christianity in Iran has been alarming to the draconian Shiite government. Some of the high-ranking officials recently said, “We need to protect our youth from the spread of Christianity. It is affecting a large part of the country.” But the more the authorities persecute Christians, the more the underground church grows.
More than 50% of the underground church leaders are women! In an interview, one female leader said, “My husband and I know that when we walk out of our house, it may be the last time we see each other. If women are captured, our captors will rape, torture, put us in jail, and ultimately kill us. But we have decided to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice to the Lord.”
These remarkably courageous and devout underground church leaders are prepared for the worst, should they be captured. They have prepared a list of about 120 Bible verses and promises that they memorize so if they are ever arrested and have no access to a Bible in jail, they can still recite and meditate on God’s Word.
The Farsi-speaking countries are Iran, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan. An estimated 130 million Farsi-speaking people live in the world today.
According to a report by Operation World, Iran ranks #1 as the “fastest-growing evangelical population in the world, with an estimated annual growth of 19.6 percent.” Afghanistan ranked in eighth place.
The majority of churches in the West do not know how to deal with the challenge of Islam. Many stay away from engaging missions in Islamic countries, mainly due to not knowing how to approach them and also fear.
In fulfilling the Great Commission, every believer should pray for these people who are bound in darkness, and every church should get involved in missions for reaching Muslims for Christ.
Hope of Persia Ministries welcomes any individual or church to partner with us. By Christian satellite TV, social media, church planting, discipling and training leaders, we can evangelize Muslims and help the underground church grow in Christ.