A letter from Azizollah Sadaghiani and Sadegh Sepehri in Germany
The Iranian Presbyterian Church in Berlin
Praise The Lord who is giving hope when there is no hope
and when there is quite dark He shines and gives light.
On October 16 we had a wonderful worship service in which 11 people were baptized after eight months of a Bible course especially for inquirers. The church was full and there was no more space; many were just standing. One by one the 11 gave their testimony before baptizing. They were full of joy. It should be mentioned that they are all asylum seekers.
When I saw them the first time there was no hope for their faith. They have heard that these days everyone who changes his or her religion will have a good chance to be accepted as a refugee, so they want to change. But they were told that you cannot be baptized before knowing who Jesus is, and you should come to our worship services to know other Christian members and to learn how to worship and pray, and then you should take part in a special course. There was no other way, so they agreed to come, and little by little they became interested and attended classes with joy. Finally they passed the course and they were ready to receive baptism, not for getting refugee status, but for salvation and for reconciliation with God.
Mrs. Zahra J., one the 11, gave her testimony first: When I came I had no interest in Christianity, but I was coming just for my asylum case. But when I began to know about the Word of God and to learn how these Christians are like brothers and sisters and how they have joy especially through the Bible preaching every Sunday, my heart was touched by the Word of God. Now I am happy to be baptized and be a follower of Jesus. I am completely changed and am a new person. Now I have hope for the future. I am sure the Lord is with me and I am giving my life into His hand.
Mr. Hamed N. said: I was very alone, had no friend and felt very sad and hopeless. I heard there is an Iranian church. One day I came to the Iranian church and found it very friendly—all speaking Farsi, which is my mother language. And more important, I heard the Word of God when the pastor preached. The Word touched my heart, and I had a positive thinking, feeling that I am not so alone. During the Bible study classes I learned more and more about Jesus. Today I am very happy to receive baptism and be a Christian.
Mr. Hossein L. said: I was in a Muslim family but not happy, so I started to learn about other religions—but I found that not one of them was a right one that satisfied my spirit. Most of them are a kind of philosophy and not a way to God. When I came to Iranian church of Berlin and attended baptism classes and worship services little by little I got to know that here is the true religion and here is the way I was looking for. Yes, now I am proud to say Jesus in my Savior and He is the only way to God,
On November 17 a new course will start and so far 10 people are registered for these classes. At that time some more will attend.
Please remember these new believers and their situation. Because they cannot go far, more than 30 km, we try to get special permission from the police and take them out of the city. And also we plan to have a weekend conference for them, but unfortunately we have a budget problem. We pray and hope that God will touch the heart of those Christians who have sympathy for new believers to generously donate to this program.
The 2011 Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 197
The 2012 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 275