Nowruz – Hope for a New Beginning

As I mentioned in a previous post, Persians around the world have been celebrating Nowruz, the Persian New Year.  I explained the Haft Sin Sofreh and the symbolism behind each item.

Today, I thought you might like to see a brief video of our own Haft Sin Sofreh that we have been using to connect the symbolism of this secular holiday to the hope of Christ.  It is actually a very easy thing to do, as you will see.


Charisma Magazine Article

Please take a moment to read the article recently published by Charisma Magazine highlighting my story and the work of the Lord through our ministry into Iran.4A_2014-03_200x263


Persian New Year, Nowruz – Ending & Rebirth

Haft Sin on the Iran Alive Ministries (Network 7) set

Haft Sin on the Iran Alive Ministries (Network 7) set

Thursday March 20th, Iranians rang in the Persian New Year.  Nowruz, meaning “new day,”  always begins on the first day of spring. It represents two ancient symbolic concepts: Ending and Rebirth, or, more specifically, the ending of evil and rebirth of good.

Awaiting arrival of Nowruz, Iranians prepare the haft sin, or the seven ‘S’s. The haft sin sofreh includes seven items starting with the letter S:

  1. sabzeh - sprouts, symbolizing rebirth
  2. samanu -  a sweet pudding made from wheat germ symbolizing affluence
  3. senjed -  the dried fruit of the oleaster tree, symbolizing love
  4. siib -  apple, symbolizing beauty
  5. somaq - sumac, symbolizing sunrise
  6. serkeh - vinegar, symbolizing age and patience
  7. sombol -  hyacinth, to denote the coming of spring

For the remaining thirteen days of the New Year celebration, Iranians gather together and celebrate. Relatives come and visit the older members of the family and in return, the elders pay their respect by visiting them back. On the last day, as is the tradition, Iranians picnic in the suburbs, dance, sing, and play outside until the night forces them back to their homes.

The clerical establishment ruling Iran have long tried to stop Iranians from celebrating their long tradition of Nowruz. Even under though the people of Iran are under constant oppression, they have not given in and continue to be proud of their Persian heritage and cling to the hope of a fresh start.

Lets us pray that with this New Year that love will conquer hate and that the people of Iran will meet the only Source of true hope, Jesus.


Counting the Days

Sometimes simple statements make large impressions.  A few weeks ago, I received a brief email of encouragement from one of our Church 7 viewers inside Iran:

Hello Pastor Hormoz,

Today we participated in Church 7 with a few friends. Thank you so much for everything you do. Here in Iran, we count the days for the live Church broadcast.

Amir

Amir’s comments were short, but very sweet to me and our staff.  With no other option available to 97% of the believers inside of Iran, Satellite TV provides the only source of spiritual nourishment and encouragement for these hungry people.

Join me in praying for Amir and the hundreds of thousands of believers in Iran who live under the constant threat of persecution for their faith in Christ.  May the Lord grant them grace and mercy as they seek to know and follow Him.


From Depression to Hope

Our Counseling Center Ministry recently passed this email from one of our viewers to me.  I was greatly touched, as I know you will be, by the Lord’s great mercy and grace in the life of this young lady.  Here is the message:

Hello,

My name is Elizeh. I have a 16 year-old daughter who suffers from depression has often threatened us with committing suicide. As you can imagine, this has caused a great deal of concern for us.

We always watch the Church7 programs but my daughter would never pay any attention to them. One day, when we were watching the program, my daughter was not staring at the wall like she usually did, but she was actually listening. All of the sudden, she walked to the TV and placed her hand on it and started to cry out loud and said, “God I need you and I want to be your daughter!”  

The whole family was in tears. As Pastor Hormoz was praying the salvation pray, she repeated after him and gave her heart to Christ.

Ever since then, we have seen great joy in her face. God has given her back to us. I want to thank each and every one of you for the love that you show us through Church7. We pray that you will always stand firm in Christ.

Elizeh

May we see millions of Iranians experience the life transforming power that comes only through our Lord.  To Him alone be the glory!

*As with all of my posts, names and faces have been changed to protect the identities of those involved.


Transforming the Masses by Reaching a Few

Without question, Satellite TV is a tremendous vehicle for reaching vast numbers of people with the saving Message of the Gospel.  In Iran, it is the safest, most effective and efficient method of reaching millions of people who are hungry for hope.

We believe that a conservative estimate of viewers of our network to be between 3 million and 6 million people inside Iran at any given time.  When you consider that there are around 1 million believers in Iran, the overwhelming majority of our viewers are Muslims who are seeking and not yet followers of Christ.  Many of these people are high-ranking government officials, top businessmen and key politicians who are looking for hope themselves.

Recently, one of these men called our Counseling Center Ministry to tell of his experience watching our programming.  Watch the video to hear his story and learn more about our 2-fold strategy.


Our God is Not a God of Depression!

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“Our God is not a God of depression, but He is the God of joy!” —Bahar (name changed to protect identity)

Only days ago, we received the following email from a viewer inside Iran.  What struck me deeply, was her proclamation, “Our God is not a God of depression, but He is the God of joy!”  To you and I, this may seem like a sweet, but logical conclusion that any Believer would make.  I want you to know that this is nothing short of miraculous coming from a former Muslim… particularly a woman!

Depression and suicide are pandemic in Iran, especially among women who have virtually no value in an Islamic Theocracy where they are treated with disdain and cruelty.  For Bahar (name changed to protect her identity) to draw this conclusion and embrace the identity of a valued daughter of the living God is one of the most tangible evidences we see of life transformation.

Here is her email:

Hello Dear ones,

I thank God for all of you at Network 7 for walking with the strength of the Lord. There is one thing that gives me a lot strength and it is that all of you always have smiles on your faces and are joyful.

I have decided to walk with the strength and joy of the Lord this week and receive my strength from Him. I want to claim the truth as to what an incredible God I have and what amazing things He is doing for me. I have come to know that our God is not a God of depression, but He is the God of joy and wants His children to live peace and joy! You prayed a prayer a few weeks ago and said that God cares about our tears and collects them with His hands. This strengthened me and made me realize that God is next to me, which I do not take it for granted. I proclaim that my God is a living God and close to me.

I felt like I should email this to you and tell you that I love you guys so much.

May the joy of the Lord be with you.

Bahar

Please join me in praying for Bahar to be joined by millions of other Persian women who will encounter the living hope found only in Christ and find their value in the finished work of the cross for them.


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