Growing up as a strict Muslim in Iran, Taher often questioned his Islamic faith. When his daughter, Farah, became deathly ill, God used the prayers of a group of Christians to heal her. Shortly after, he gave his life to Jesus. But this was no small decision for a Muslim in Iran, where it’s illegal to convert.
Before the Muslim extremist group attacked, we lived in peace. We heard rumors of extremists and when they came to our town, they destroyed the villages, burned down the churches, ransacked homes and killed many of us. Our people fled. After several months the extremists left, and I returned. There were very few of us.
Kirti, a young woman from India, heard the gospel at a church gathering. During the service, God miraculously healed Kirti from a debilitating disease and she decided to follow Jesus. When Kirti returned to her rural village, it only took a week for word to spread — Kirti rejected the Hindu gods, and now she follows Jesus.
Sometime later, Taher received an urgent call while he was at work. “Taher, you need to come home, now!” It was the secret police. They were in his home. When Taher walked into the house, the authorities put him in handcuffs, wrapped a blindfold around his head and took him to prison.
When Boko Haram attacked, everyone’s heart was frightened. We were all full of trauma. When we came back, some of the churches had blood on the walls. Anyone who saw it or heard about it didn’t want to go to church anymore. The attack put a lot of fear in our hearts. People thought if they went to church, they might get attacked too.
The village elders threatened Kirti and told her to stop meeting with other Christians. When she refused, a group of men broke into her house during a small church gathering. They burned her Bible, dragged the Christians out of the house and began beating them. "This is what you get for following Jesus," they said.
In his cell, authorities interrogated and tortured Taher. But in the quiet moments he would lean against the cold block wall and sing the hymn his family often sang in their secret house church. The sound bounced off the walls; each word empowering Taher in his faith: ALL TO JESUS I SURRENDER, ALL TO HIM I FREELY GIVE.
But still, the Word of God kept reminding me that anyone who puts their trust in God won’t be forsaken. I began to visit the church members in their homes, but still only four members agreed to come to church. And that was how we began to worship again. Today, the church is full.
One night, a group of men carrying ropes rushed into Kirti’s home and grabbed her husband by force. The men killed Kirti's husband for his faith. There were no arrests. Yet, through this suffering and loss, Kirti's faith remained unshakeable. "I have committed everything into the hands of Jesus," Kirti says.