Maryam – From captive to freedom


Before I gave my heart to Jesus, I was a very religious person with an obsessive compulsive disorder. Each time I wanted to pray, I had to change all my clothes because I thought if they weren't clean, my prayers wouldn’t be acceptable to God. Despite having a happy marriage and a good life, I had a deep depression. My husband and two beautiful sons aged three and seven could not fill the emptiness inside me. 

At that time I was secretly taking medication, and inwardly I blamed everybody around me for it. I knew I couldn’t feel happy even if I had every desire in my heart. 

 

'I came to understand more and more about God’s love; that God IS love, and His love for us is so vast that He gave His only son for us.'

 

One day, as I was flicking channels on the TV, I came across a programme I’d never seen before. The channel was called ‘Mohabat’ and the presenters were two kind and noble-looking men with warm smiles, talking about God's love towards us. At first I was totally confused, I had never heard anything about Christianity and thought Islam to be the last and best religion. But that day I heard something very different.

From then on I started watching the channel every day at the appointed time. I came to understand more and more about God’s love; that God IS love, and His love for us is so vast that He gave His only son for us so that we can be saved. This new message was amazing to me and changed my life forever. My desire to know this God of love was increasing daily. One day I knelt down and repeated the repentance prayer with pastor Hormoz and gave my heart to Jesus forever.

I have never been the same since that day. Every day I learn more and more about His love, and one day, in a vision, God laid His hand on me and healed me from all my physical pains and emotional wounds, including depression and OCD. The joy was so incredible I couldn’t keep it to myself, but shared everything with my husband. He had noticed that I had changed a lot and said, ‘I don't know Jesus, but there must be a truth in Him that you could change this much’ and advised me not to turn back to my old self. But we both knew I had to be careful, as his father was a high positioned mullah in the town and my husband thought that it would be disrespectful to his dad if people found out about my conversion. I kept it a secret for a long time.

I was very thankful to channel Mohabat, which was available 24 hours a day, so I could learn so much about Christianity and the Good News of Jesus. I started telling some of my relatives about Jesus, but they rejected me completely because of my new-found faith. During those days I never felt lonely, His presence and the love He lavished on me made me thirstier for His words.

 

'We were all shocked and terrified. It was a big price we were paying for our faith. Our future was a total mystery.'

 

I contacted channel Mohabat and over time I was connected to a sister in Christ who was very kind. Her name was Sima and she has been ministering to me since then. Through Sima I was invited to a 222 Ministries conference in Armenia, where I was baptised and heard many teachings that developed my spiritual walk. In 2013, three days after coming back from a conference, the intelligence agents came to my house and took all my belongings including my PC, books, passport, ID cards and mobile phone, and took me and my son to their office. While I was there I saw so many other believers and we were being interrogated individually. They let my son go home after badly beating him up and sent me to the ladies prison. We were all shocked and terrified. It was a big price we were paying for our faith. Our future was a total mystery. 

We were questioned on a daily basis and asked to sign a blank paper every day before transferring us to a freezing cold room. As a mother the most difficult time for me was when I was being questioned and I could hear my son screaming with pain in the next room. 

After a month I was freed with a 50 million tomans bail. They took me to court twice, I was convicted and sentenced to four years imprisonment. My crime was evangelism and activities against the government and national security. I found enough time to gather my things and leave Iran. I could not bear four years imprisonment simply for being a Christian. At this time my father-in-law insisted on our divorce.

Before doing anything I consulted Sima and 222 Ministries became involved through her. With their help and support my husband and I, with our two sons, illicitly left Iran for Turkey.

Today is about one and a half years since we left Iran. For the first eight days we were living with a family of believers, but then 222 Ministries rented us some accommodation and now we are safe. Now I can go to church and worship God in freedom. My prayers are for everybody in Iran to have the same freedom, and that one day we all can go back to Iran and rebuild our churches there. Against all odds and difficulties here we are blessed and our spirits are sealed for Jesus. 

 

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