Mahsa is 26. The early part of her story is familiar: She grew up in a devoutly Muslim family and was a practicing Muslim herself. But as a teenager, she began asking questions that caused her to doubt Islam.
To Mahsa, Islam portrayed God as wanting us to fear Him. She felt shame and guilt over her sins and believed from her upbringing that she faced punishment for her sins on the Day of Judgment. But when Mahsa sought forgiveness from the God that Islam taught him about, she felt no connection or sense of relationship.
She turned from her religious beliefs and decided to enjoy the days of her youth as much as possible. But as she went about living according to her desires, Mahsa couldn’t stop being fascinated by the world around her. The world was clearly created in an amazing order, she realized. She could not deny the existence of God.
Mahsa was walking to work when she came upon several police officers known for arresting people for not following Islam’s religious mandates, including the requirement that women wear hijabs to cover their heads in public. The police had arrested a woman and were dragging her by her hair toward a police car to take her away. Mahsa tried to intervene on the woman’s behalf, but an officer struck her over the head with a baton, opening a deep wound.
Mahsa was bedridden at home because of the injury. As she lay there, she kept asking a couple of penetrating questions. How could such a horrible law come from God, as Islam taught? How could people like the police officers behave so violently and claim their actions were to please God?
“This is where the case for Islam was completely finished for me,” she said.
A friend came from another city to visit Mahsa while she was bedridden. Mahsa noticed her friend was different than when she had spent time with her before. The friend showed more patience and enjoyed sitting and listening to Mahsa talk. She was kinder with a more forgiving attitude. Mahsa asked why she had changed, and her friend said she had become a Christian—that Christ had transformed her life.
Mahsa’s friend was the first to tell her that Jesus is God.
She also recommended Mahsa watch Iran Alive Ministries’ broadcasts. Mahsa struggled at first to understand what she was learning about Christianity because of the Islamic beliefs she had grown up with. She had been taught that all religions were alike and sought human captivity to please God. Christianity was completely different. Each day, she continued to watch our programming.
Mahsa and her friend discussed Christianity numerous times, and she began compiling a list of questions she needed answering. She contacted someone associated with our ministry who knew her friend, and Mahsa, her friend, and our pastor met in a crowded park. Mahsa asked her questions, and the pastor answered them one by one. Mahsa learned that God did not want anyone to perish. And she learned that God loved us so much that His Son Jesus came to earth to bear the burden of our sins so that we can be saved for eternity.
“Does this include me?” she asked.
“Yes,” the pastor answered. “This God can change your life and change your sinful nature.”
Mahsa began crying. The pastor prayed for her, and among all the people going about their daily routines in the park, Mahsa accepted Christ as her Savior.
“Since that day,” she said, “a new hope has entered my life. Not only do I not feel lonely, but I feel close to my God. Now, I am no longer afraid of death and the Day of Judgment because I believe that our God has promised salvation, and He is faithful to His promises.” Today, Mahsa is involved in discipleship through our online church. She prays that others will come to know the true Jesus as she has. And, in the same park where she received salvation, Mahsa goes out in obedience to the Holy Spirit’s direction, searching for and talking with Christ’s lost sheep.
“I testify,” she said, “that I am one of the shepherds for my Lord, Jesus Christ.”