Human trafficking is a big business in Iran. Because of poverty, many poor families are willing to sell their children—even their babies—to the highest bidder. Even worse, because of greed and corruption, many government officials play a role in it. As a result, there is no serious government intervention to stop human trafficking. We want to share the story of Zara, a 20-year-old mother whose husband wanted to sell their newborn baby girl.
Zara was forced into a marriage at the age of 15. Soon after, her husband died. As a widow, she was deemed unwanted as a bride since she was not a virgin. Unable to survive on her own and faced with the burden of providing for her mother, she had no choice other than to become a temporary wife.
As you may know, according to the Islamic law in Iran, there is a temporary marriage available to men—both single and married men. This is no different than sanctioned religious prostitution where a man can marry a woman for a fixed amount of money and for a specific period of time ranging from a few days to a few months. Furthermore,
in addition to having four wives, a man can have as many temporary wives as he wants.
Since Zara was a little girl, she had longed to be a mother, so she was thrilled when she learned that she was pregnant by her temporary husband. However, her temporary husband insisted that she abort the baby.
Zara refused to terminate her pregnancy, which enraged her husband and caused him to leave her to fend for herself. Once the child was born and her husband discovered that it was a girl, he became even more enraged. He returned to Zara, insisting that after their temporary marriage is over, this baby will be raised without a father, was destined to become a prostitute, and must be gotten rid of immediately.
In a matter of days, Zara’s temporary husband found an Arab buyer who was willing to pay $6,000 for their daughter and was on his way to take the baby away.
Terrified, Zara fled into hiding with her infant daughter. While in hiding, Zara found herself watching our live satellite TV broadcast and felt compelled to call us. After our counselor answered her questions, she prayed and by God’s beautiful grace, received Christ. It was then that she shared the details of her tragic story. She was grateful that the counselor had kindly and gently answered all her questions, but now she had one unanswered question:
“My husband wants to sell our 11-day-old daughter to an Arab… what do I do?”
She also shared how she is using torn pieces of her own garment to make clothing for her baby and is struggling to produce enough breast milk, since she herself was malnourished.
We are so proud of our counseling team because after leading Zara to the Lord, they connected her to our church community who helped her financially, emotionally, and most of all spiritually.
They also sent her a Bible in Farsi, which was made possible by your support of our Bible Project.
Thankfully, this is not the end of Zara’s story.
Six months later, Zara’s husband, Amir, found her and their daughter. Paralyzed with fear that he would take her baby away, she braced herself for the worst. Then, a miracle happened. By God’s grace, Zara was able to share the love and care she experienced through Iran Alive Ministries. Zara was able to convince her husband to watch one of our live programs with her. Praise God!
In her own words, Zara shared with us “After watching your programs, he changed. One day, he melted in front of me and called your Counseling Center to say ‘thank you for helping my family. But why did you do all of this for her?’ Your counselor answered, ‘it was because God loves her, loves your daughter, and He loves you.’ That day, filled with gratitude and overcome with joy, Amir, who only months before wanted to sell our daughter into a life of certain abuse and misery, gave his life to Christ.”
Several months later, we received an update that Zara and Amir were officially married in a Christian ceremony under the covenant of God. They now live in Northern Iran with their 1-year-old daughter, deeply in love with each other, and growing daily in Christ.
When I talk about the vision of our ministry being “Transforming Iran into a Christian nation one soul at a time,” this is what I am referring to. This is the transformation that comes only through the power of the gospel for all who believe (Romans 1:16).
Time and time again, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the gifted, Godly, and committed team of staff and volunteers that make up our Counseling Center Ministry. All our counselors are indigenous, native Farsi speakers who go through extensive training in order to be effective ministers of the Gospel.
Since the Channel7—Shabakeh7 Satellite TV ministry began in 2001, our Counseling Center Ministry has led tens of thousands to the Lord. Just a few weeks ago, we celebrated our 100,000 registered salvation—and that number is growing daily! This is something that couldn’t be done without you.
Satellite TV, in many ways, functions as the doorway to our ministry, while the Counseling Center Ministry is the reception room where people are greeted, helped, and directed to our plethora of ministries such as small groups, classes, youth ministry, children’s ministry, and 4:12 Ministry Training School.
May I ask you to join us in prayer and give today to ensure that our counselors can continue to minister to all the people who, like Zara and Amir, contact us daily?
Thank you for taking the time to make a donation using the enclosed card. To give, you may also scan the QR code on the last page or go to www.IranAlive. org/Donate page. I am so thankful to be laboring at your side to transform Iran. What we do together in Iran will impact the whole Middle East and even the world.
With a heart for Persia,
Dr. Hormoz Shariat
Iran Alive Ministries
P.S. Unlike any other moment in history, Iran is ready for the Gospel. We are on the precipice of seeing an entire nation transformed for Christ and released to the rest of the Middle East and uttermost parts of the world. Thanks for your partnership in keeping our Counseling Center Ministry fully funded and profoundly effective.
Prayer for Zara and her daughter’s safety: Pray for God’s protection over Zara and her 1-year-old daughter as they continue to live in Northern Iran. Ask for God’s guidance and provision for their physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.
Prayer for Zara’s husband, Amir: Pray for Amir’s continued transformation and growth in his newfound faith. Ask God to strengthen his commitment to Christ and help him become a loving and supportive husband and father.
Prayer for the fight against human trafficking: Pray for an end to human trafficking in Iran and other parts of the world. Ask God to raise up leaders and organizations dedicated to combating this injustice, bringing freedom to those who are exploited and holding the perpetrators accountable.
Prayer for the Iran Alive Ministries team: Pray for the counselors, staff, and volunteers of Iran Alive Ministries. Ask God to give them wisdom, strength, and discernment as they minister to individuals like Zara and Amir. Pray for their safety, encouragement, and continued effectiveness in sharing the Gospel.
Prayer for the spread of the Gospel in Iran: Pray for the continued transformation of Iran through the power of the Gospel. Ask God to open hearts, soften opposition, and draw many more people to Himself. Pray for the resources, support, and unity needed to advance the Kingdom of God in Iran and beyond.