One of the on-the-ground components of our ministry to the Persian-speaking world is a strong devotion to the discipleship of believers. Tony, our Persian ministry coordinator, and his team work with people who live in countries where professing faith in Christ can be very dangerous. TWR Canada sees the need for discipleship so that these believers will be able to withstand the persecution and hardship that will inevitably come their way.
This means that in addition to broadcasting hope over the radio, we are also ministering to families that are experiencing trials because of their faith. Tony is counselling many believers, including families who have had to flee their country as refugees. These believers don’t have jobs or a community when they arrive in their new country. Many spend most of their time crammed in little apartments, and the frustration and sadness of their circumstances cause tension within their families.
Our on-the-ground ministry leaders find that it’s hard for Christian marriages to survive in areas where persecution is so high. This is devastating, especially because of how important it is for believers to have the spiritual and emotional support of their spouse when that person is their only source of Christian fellowship. However, we are seeing how God is bringing restoration and peace to marriages that were experiencing relational brokenness because of persecution; for this we are so grateful.
Our discipleship ministry to the persecuted doesn’t stop at families or marriages. Many believers in the Persian-speaking world are sent to jail for living out their faith in Christ. Tony is committed to counselling believers as they return from jail having experienced unimaginable trauma and suffering. We are grateful for the opportunity to work with leaders who are willing to sacrifice their own security and comfort to bring spiritual comfort to persecuted believers.
One listener who Tony disciples wrote to him, “And now you have written so many letters to me in your own hand … I get tears in my eyes when I read the letters. I save every letter to read again. Today it is a joy and honour that our pastor wrote and asked, ‘How are you? How is your faith?’ I have no words to thank you for caring so much about my faith and physical being.”
Praise God that he is using TWR Canada’s Persian-speaking ministry to encourage and draw his children near to him!
One of the families Tony disciples has a daughter who is currently dreaming of going to university. She just graduated high school and is one of the top students in the country. The problem is that universities in her country are run by the government, and applicants are required to profess Islam in order to be accepted.
This family loves God, and they are committed to staying true to their faith. Tony is currently trying to help them figure out other ways they can support their daughter as she pursues her dream of education. This has been challenging because the family has very little money, so sending their daughter to university in another country probably won’t be feasible for them.
Tony acknowledges that it can be challenging to walk with other believers through hardships, but he knows it’s what he’s called to do: “When you are making disciples, you take all their burdens and challenges as they are. You have to be part of it.”
Please pray for Tony as he continues to carry the emotional and spiritual burdens of persecuted individuals and families in the Persian-speaking world. Pray also that God would make a way for this young girl who is eager to study at university.