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:
sabzeh – sprouts, symbolizing rebirth
samanu – a sweet pudding made from wheat germ symbolizing affluence
senjed – the dried fruit of the oleaster tree, symbolizing love
siib – apple, symbolizing beauty
somaq – sumac, symbolizing sunrise
serkeh – vinegar, symbolizing age and patience
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.
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’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.
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:
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.
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.