What follows is a series of testimonies given during the At the Crossroads gatherings in April by different Christian workers serving along the Isaiah 19 highway.
A group of pastors and leaders, all involved in ministering on the Isaiah 19 Highway met in Yerevan, Armenia on April 13-18 for the 100th commemoration of the Armenian Genocide (1915). It was striking that many, if not most, of the participants were refugees: an Armenian Christian who grew up in Iran, but had to flee to Turkey; a Yezidi Kurd taking refuge in Armenia; a German Jew, whose father fled to the US, now living in Israel; a pastor in Cyprus housing in their church Palestinians fleeing from Yarmuk, Syria.
The meeting in Yerevan was especially poignant because it was our Turkish brothers who had asked to meet in Armenia in order to seek forgiveness for what their fathers had done to the Armenian people. After morning reports about what God is doing around the region (and worship in 5 languages), we visited different churches. Our Turkish brothers asked for forgiveness at different congregations and in one church washed the feet of an Armenian pastor.
We are the servants of God. And He the Father of all nations! We give all glory to God who is doing great things. I come from Iran. You know, when God wanted to punish His people Israel, he sent them to Assyria. When He wanted to bless them He used Iran. I believe Iran is the key for the evangelisation in the Middle East. God has used the Persian people before to rebuild and I believe it’s the same today.
Before the 1979 Revolution there were many missions, schools, hospital – but there were few Muslims coming to the Lord. After the Revolution – after the missionaries pulled out and the schools, churches, Bible Societies were closed – there are many more believers in Jesus! Because of Islam hundreds and thousands of Iranians are coming to Christ. Missionaries couldn’t do it, money couldn’t do it – But God’s love can! So for our brothers in the West – I pray for persecution!
The Islamic leaders are shaking – they’re afraid. Two years ago they closed the Farsi speaking churches because they don’t want Muslims coming to Faith. But it’s happening. When they try to force people to Islam, it backfires. So I praise God for the Ayatollah and for the Revolution!
Our God is a chess player. He knows where and how to place people and things. He’s in control. Remember how God prepared Esther. He doesn’t wait for governments to repent – but He does wait for the church to wake up! We are under His government and He will show us the next step. But we must be ready and willing to move when and where He calls.
I’ve been in prison many times – the last time was in 2013. Then I was called in and given 3 choices: 15 years in prison; become an informant; or leave the country. So I now live in Yerevan. How many Christians are there in Iran? Only God knows. People are coming to the Lord, but the churches are being led by new believers. We need to train our leaders for this big moment. So let’s pray for Iran – but we had better be ready!
Palestinian/Syrian refugees fleeing from Yarmuk, Syria, are stranded in Cyprus after their boat sunk. They are now being housed and cared for in our church building.
A donation from churches and congregations in Israel sponsored 15 Syrian Kurdish refugees (Muslim background believers) to attend a study centre to learn about the Father Heart of God and to experience inner healing.
See below one of the responses when they learned their costs were supplied by a gift from Israel:
I want to thank you very much.
<3 I hope to come to [Jerusalem]
<3 Thank you
From Armenia to Azerbaijan
My focus is Armenia and Azerbaijan. Most Armenians see themselves as the protector of Christianity against Islam and that the conflict with Azerbaijan is part of the Armenian Genocide. But we see God changing things. We are reaching out – not just talking about God – but about conflict. Everyone in the Middle East knows about “the Genocide” and when they hear about Armenians reaching out, it’s powerful. God said, “Blessed are the peacemakers” so we’re bringing in the Peacemaker.
We are ministering to the poor and to drug addicts, and after 2 years we have 60 people in our church. God has taught us something – if a leader knows not to pray, he can’t lead the people. So we are praying. I know that what is happening today is because of the prayers of the people before us. PRAYER opens doors. Even if Muslim countries are closed, the nations are spread around the world and we can reach out to them there. The nations are all around us!