Silently but effectively, Jesus Christ is doing wonders in Iran, drawing more and more people to follow Him.
Just recently, more than 200 Iranians and Afghans were baptised in a location just outside Iran, the Elam Ministries reported. The service was attended by people from eight different Persian-speaking churches, the group said.
During the event, the newly baptised Christians shared testimonies on how Jesus has changed their lives. One man said he had been suicidal, but Jesus intervened and brought him new hope.
Another new believer shared: "I never thought I would find freedom from my past, but Jesus has set me free."
The growth of Christianity in Iran has been described as spectacular. In fact, several statisticians noted that the Iranian church may be the fastest growing church in the world, according to God Reports.
"Twenty years ago, everyone thought there were 2,000-5,000 believers in Iran," says Elam Ministries' Mark Howard.
But now, he said "the conservative estimate" is 300,000 to 400,000 Muslim-background believers in Iran, with others saying that the number could be as high as one million.
"The word that a lot of our senior leadership team has been using recently is momentum, the Lord is really doing something," Howard said.
"We see incredible opportunity," he said, "reaching Persian speaking refugees in Europe, planting churches in Iran — people are so open right now."
"Every day we have many coming to the Lord. If you give a starving person food and water they will want to share it. That's what they find in Jesus. They are so hungry and thirsty for the truth. They are experiencing it in a powerful way. When they do they want to share it with others," Howard said.
He cited several factors that are spurring the growth of the church in Iran. "There is disillusionment with the Iranian regime and with Islam," Howard noted. "Life has not improved in the last few years, particularly with the sanctions. People are also disillusioned by violence carried out in the name of Islam."
Moreover, Iranians have special affection for Jesus who they view as a revered prophet. In fact, Howard said, some well-known Iranian poets have written about Jesus.
"They [Iranians] are spiritual people. As many search for truth and hunger for the truth, it is natural to look for that in Jesus. When someone tells them about Jesus they are eager," Howard said.