TestimonyWorld News

A cry for help from Iran to S4C

iran persecution

“My name is Armin and my Christian name is Paul. I am an Iranian person and I need your help!”

This was the first line of a shocking message S4C received from an Iranian man who suffers greatly because of his Christian faith. He wrote to us through social media and after we exchanged several messages with him and the people who helped him to convert to Christianity we decided to publish his story. We have edited his messages, changed his name and altered some elements of the story so that he cannot be identified as he is in danger of being arrested, imprisoned and tortured for his Christian faith. Here is Armin Paul’s message to S4C, and the world.

“I converted from Islam to Christianity; I am now a baptised Catholic.  I live under lots of pressure and persecution. I have lost everything I had, my job, my family. I beg you and your country to use your power to help me; to save me and protect my life. I ask you to help me.

Dear Sir or Madam, help me to get rid of this awful condition and help me so that the world may hear my voice. I am stuck in Iran. Help me I beg you.

As a Catholic, I have been pushed away from my family and almost excluded from society. I cannot marry, I cannot find any job, I can’t go to the Church, I have to hide my faith. I need help to get rid of this terrible situation.

I am an educated, young person. I am a human; I would like to make a family, I would like to pray and go to the church with other brothers and sisters. I would like to continue my education. Today the police arrested twelve persons because they are Christians and new believers. I live in fear.”

This is my story:

I was born in Iran to a Muslim family. As you know over 98% of Iranian people are Muslim and Shia.

When I was in middle school, I had a teacher who spat out if you asked him about other religions. Also in high school, I had another teacher who beat you if you asked him about other religions.

When I first had the chance to vote, I voted for Mr Khatami (who became a president, was a reformist politician and wanted greater freedoms in Iran –  editor’s note).  At the university I had lots of problems with some professors because of my political views: I supported openness towards Western countries; they did not. Because of the conflicts I had with these extremist professors I finally was forced out of university so I could not study for my master’s degree.

It was during these times that I participated in a protest with many other people.

Police arrested me, and I was under extreme torture for nearly three weeks. I lost 12 kgs. in weight. I had a stomach bleed and lost one of my teeth because of the beatings. I did not know where I was, but they beat me a lot and put me under lots of psychological pressure. Finally, they told me they had decided to execute me. They told me to get ready, then they took me out of prison and left me outside the city.

…I was under lots of treatment with my tooth infection, and stomach bleeding. During that time I met an old friend of mine. His mother was Christian and his father had died. He invited me to come and meet his mother.

From childhood, my parents told me that people from other religions are nasty so I should not make a close relationship with them.

So this was the first time that I shook hands with a Christian woman. She was so relaxed and cooked lovely cookies and tea. She also prayed for people who suffer, so that they can be delivered from their awful situation. We continued to meet each other and I asked her and my friend to give me their book to read.

It was the Bible, and that has changed my life. I liked that book because the words were and are so strong without ’should and should not’.

One of our family members had an accident and was in a coma for seven months. I went to my Christian’s home to ask them to pray for him but they had moved to another place, where  I did not know and do not know yet.

Then I said to our Lord Jesus Christ: if you are alive and if you are so powerful then prove it and save him. And if you do this, I will follow you and I will tell others what you did and how much power you have.

The person that was in the hospital was cured after one year and is left with only minor disabilities.

Now it was my turn to prove my honesty. I could speak English fluently and after some time I decided to make a connection with the Church to learn more and about becoming a real Christian person.

I went abroad and before I came back to my country I miraculously met two persons: a university professor from the United States called Thomas and an Italian priest, Fr. Giorgio.

We talked for 20 minutes, then they gave me their e-mails and phone numbers. Since then we have started to send e-mails to each other, and they began to teach me lessons about Christianity. We began with RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults). They had some classes for Iranians before and they were amazed that compared to them how much more I knew about Christianity, that I had an English Bible and that I studied it through by myself. So we had the classes via internet and phone, and later on, we had the chance to meet again several times.

Then, after two years that I proved that I am really eager to stay on this path so I got baptised by Father Giorgio.

When my family understood that I converted from Islam to Christianity, they kicked me out of the house. I could not tell anyone that I am a Christian because nobody would hire me, and people would be afraid of being with me.

Finally, I have lost everything that I had. My money, my job, my family, but I got something that for many years I was searching for. I mean peace and our Lord Jesus Christ.

I say the Rosary every day; also Thomas gave me a book of Lauds and Vespers as a gift to pray.

Now I am living under lots of pressure, and fear. I can’t  work legally because when I am hired I have to fill out a form with a field about  my religion… And once I fill it, the job is gone… So I work as a cleaner and I earn very little – about a hundred US dollars a month.

Sometimes I have to sleep in the park, sometimes in a motel, or inn. I can only see my mother in secret. My father does not want to see me.

Recently the government started to put lots of pressure on new believers. I do not have any information about one of my best friends, also a convert. Probably he was arrested. 

Any moment they can arrest me too and put me in jail and force me to come back to Islam but I will not.

My father threatened to kill me if he’d meet me again. He told me to get out of his house and he also struck me. Also, one of my best friends was arrested and he had his cell phone seized with all the numbers so I do not know what will happen to me.

These events have happened to me only because of my faith. But I believe in what Psalm 23 says: The Lord is my Shepherd.

Now I would like to live like a human, I would like to go to the Church and pray with other Christians, I would like to continue my education, pray without fear, preach the gospel to others, get married, have a family with a Christian woman, live without fear, learn more about Christianity and help others and guide others to become Christians.

I am a Christian person and proud to choose this way. But you need to know that every day we can hear that many new believers are arrested and put in jail. I have to be courageous, writing to you and telling my story is a risk. But now I am so tired I need someone to help me.

I am living like a ghost. I am afraid of going home because my mother told me that my father wanted to call the police and tell them that I converted. It can happen to me at any time that they will arrest me.

Please help me.

I finish my text with these parts of the Bible: Job 42, 5-6 Isaiah 45, Malakai 3,10-15 Paul 14, 12-14, Psalm 22 and 23. In conclusion, I am so happy to be a Christian person, I am so glad that our Lord Jesus Christ has chosen me to be one of his followers. I have tried to teach others that they have their hearts open to coming to this way.

I have been living under huge amounts of pressure but I would never leave my Faith and I wish one day I can live, pray like a normal Christian person in the Church with others.

I hope s4c.news will publish my story and show the world all the sadness and pain I have to endure only because of my faith in Christ in Iran.

Please help me to find calm and freedom for the rest of my life.

God bless you, Amen.

Armin Paul”

Photo credit: BosNewsLfe.com

Leave a reply