The pastor of an online church in Iran was able to lead a young Muslim drug addict and his mother to Jesus, and it all started with a phone call.
Pastor Kouroush wasn't even the one who made the first call that eventually led to the redemption of the troubled young man and his mother in a land where Christian converts face extreme persecution.
In an article on its website, Open Doors USA said the phone call was initiated by the mother of Payam, one of the many young drug addicts in Iran.
Kouroush, who ministers to believers via the internet, said Payam's mother called him to seek his help regarding her 21-year-old son's drug addiction. "I don't know what to do anymore," she told the pastor over the phone. "Can you please talk to him?"
Kouroush said he started praying for Payam, and then called him on the phone. At first he wasn't eager to talk. But days later, he emailed the pastor seeking his help.
Payam told Kouroush that he was in trouble as he had just stabbed someone and that the police were out to get him.
"Please pray for me, pray to Jesus to keep me out of prison," he told the pastor.
Kouroush urged him to report to the police and started praying for him.
Later, the pastor found out from Payam that he followed his advice and went to the police station to submit himself. Payam said he had prayed to Jesus while waiting for the person he stabbed to come and file a case against him. To his utter surprise, when the person arrived at the police station, he told him, "I don't know why, but I want to forgive you."
Kouroush then advised Payam to read the Bible to know more about Jesus, the One who just intervened to prevent him from going to prison.
Although at first hesitant, Payam eventually began reading the Bible.
One day, Payam surprised the pastor when he emailed him, saying, "I want to give my life to Jesus."
Later, Kouroush received a phone call from Payam's mother, thanking him profusely for helping free her son from his addiction.
Payam and his mother eventually both gave their hearts to Jesus.
More Muslims are converting to Christianity in Iran despite the Islamic oppression of Christian converts. The mission group Elam Ministries estimates that there are now 360,000 believers in Iran – up from only 500 in 1979.
Open Doors USA reports an even bigger estimated number of Christians in Iran—800,000 out of the country's total population of 80.9 million. The Christian persecution watchdog ranks Iran as the eighth worst country for Christians to live in on its 2017 World Watch List.
Despite the heightening persecution of Christians in Iran and other Muslim-majority countries in the world, particularly in the Middle East, thousands of Muslims are turning to Jesus Christ, according to Voice Of the Martyrs Canada (VOMC).
The group said the new believers view Christianity as the "religion of freedom" amid the pervading "spiritual hunger" in the Muslim world.
"There are thousands upon thousands coming to Christ," VOMC said.
This article was originally published on The Christian Post.