Email: Mehdi Abhari
Mehdi Abhari completed his mission service with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) on October 31, 2009. He currently lives in California and is available to speak as his schedule and time permit.
Email Mehdi Abhari to invite him to speak to you church.
After serving two terms as a mission co-worker, on January 1, 2008, Mehdi Abhari became a long-term volunteer. He will continue to work with the Iranian church in diaspora.
After “retiring” in January 2001 from the Worldwide Ministries Division of the PC(USA) where he was coordinator of finances, Mehdi was commissioned as a PC(USA) mission worker at the 213th General Assembly in Louisville in June of the same year.
“From the day that I came to know Christ personally,” says Mehdi, “I felt that I was committed to make Christ known to the people of my country. The Jesus I came to know was not only my own personal savior but He was reaching out to the people of Iran. I felt in a very special way that I was commissioned to do His work. That someone with a background like mine — I’m from a small village in Iran — would be converted is very unusual, and I think that’s why I have no doubt that God has a plan for me. Unfortunately, the financial realities of life did not allow me fulfill my dream of working full-time in ministry. In Iran, the church could not afford to pay me. Even in the U.S. my passion for the ministry wasn’t enough to bring bread to my table, pay the rent, send my children to college, and take care of the bills.”
In the spring of 2001 Mehdi traveled to Iran for the first time since the Islamic revolution of 1979. “Honestly, I had a very positive experience,” he reported, “and I am hopeful about the future. There is a new generation of leadership in the church that is open, energetic, well educated, and aware of the world.”
In Iran, Mehdi will be a liaison with evangelical Presbyterian churches, which have asked for his help in organizing training courses for church leaders. He will encourage the synod to identify and send qualified persons for further theological training to the Near East School of Theology (in Beirut) or other seminaries outside of Iran. He’ll assist the synod in its efforts to repair and renovate old church buildings, including the “Garden of Evangelism,” a Bible school, so that the government will not confiscate them as condemned buildings. In addition to these duties, Mehdi will also provide counseling and pastoral ministries in Iran during times of conflict.
In Europe, Mehdi supervises and cooperates with mission personnel in their outreach and evangelism among Farsi-speaking immigrants. He visits Iranian Christian groups in Britain, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden to assist in organizing training seminars and conferences. He corresponds with individual Iranian Christians in other parts of Europe and those in Turkey on their way to the West.
In the United States, Mehdi works with the Association of Iranian Evangelical Presbyterian Churches in North America, serving as the group’s moderator. He sees his role that as helping push the group to greater evangelical, educational and social ministries among Iranians in the United States and Canada. He travels and visits all the fellowships and churches related to the association and accepts preaching, teaching and counseling invitations from the churches and fellowships. He also attempts to reach various denominations of Iranian Christians in the United States with the hopes of forming strong bonds so that when the groups return to their home country, they will already have achieved a degree of Christian unity.
Mehdi is the pastor of a small Presbyterian Fellowship in the city of Los Angeles.
Prior to his “retirement,” Mehdi served from 1988 to 2000 as coordinator for finances for PC(USA)’s Worldwide Ministries Division in Louisville, Kentucky. He was business manager of the Stony Point Conference Center, a conference center of the PC(USA) in Stony Point, New York, from 1982 to 1988. He worked as a tentmaking minister of the Evangelical Presbyterian of Tehran, Iran, from 1967-1979, during which time he was the administrator and financial officer of a government office. He had to leave Iran in 1979 after the Islamic revolution.
Mehdi holds a bachelor’s degree in English literature from the Faculty of Letters in Meshed, Iran. He has a Master of Divinity degree from the United Theological College in Bangalore, South India. He completed a master’s degree in business administration from the Iran Center for Management Studies, which is an extension of the Harvard School of Business in Tehran, Iran. He holds a master’s degree in theology from Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, New Jersey. He was ordained to the ministry of Word and Sacrament in the spring of 1968 at the Presbyterian Church of Rasht, Iran.
Mehdi is a minister member of the Presbytery of Hudson River. He attends the Iranian Presbyterian Church of Los Angeles, where he teaches, preaches and performs pastoral work.
Mehdi and his wife, Tamara, are the parents of two adult children, a daughter, Roya, and a son, Ramin. Both live in the United States. They are the grandparents of three children.
Mehdi - December 11
Tamara - May 31