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When your life is on the line, you quickly become aware of how deep and strong your faith in Jesus Christ really is, and that’s what Iranian Hami found out in 2019 as he and two friends (David and Simon) stood in a courtroom on trumped-up charges.

CourtroomThe Courtroom Exchange
Denied a lawyer for their first trial, when they were handed a year’s imprisonment for allegedly threatening national security, the three men faced a second charge of insulting Islam and the prophet Muhammad. A fair trial didn’t exactly seem possible when the judge declared that “all blasphemers should be killed -  they don’t deserve to live”. But God found a way to turn what was meant for evil into miraculous good.

It seemed the men were facing an open and shut case when the judge felt he had heard enough after just 15 minutes but then he asked them why they had converted to Christianity, and a hushed courtroom proved to be the stage for a powerful witness of faith during the following exchange.

Judge: You’re the son of an imam. Why did you convert to Christianity?
Hami: I didn’t convert or change my religion, I found the source of eternal life. This is God, who opened my eyes to see the truth.
Judge: How did God open your eyes?
Hami: Through his word, the Bible.
Judge: Don’t you know that the Bible is corrupted?
Hami: Why, if it has been corrupted, does it say in the Qu’ran that Muhammed and Muslims are to believe in the Bible. When, where, how and by whom has it been corrupted?
Judge: That's enough! Don’t you think that I can give you the death sentence for apostasy and the betrayal of the Muslim community?
Hami, David and Simon in unison stated: You do what you have to do but we are willing to pay the price for following Christ.
The exchange left the judge stunned, so much so that he turned to the prosecutor and stated that he could not find any reason to convict the men of a crime. Dismissing the three men, he then wrote to the prosecutor asking him to provide evidence for the crimes they had allegedly committed. Otherwise the case would have to be dismissed.

The Coronavirus - A Tremendous Blessing
Against all the odds, the men were found to be innocent of all charges. That left them facing imprisonment for a year due to the first sentence of being a threat to national security. But within a couple of months, they were allowed to go home under house arrest due to the outbreak of COVID-19. “Even the coronavirus has turned into a blessing for us,” quipped Hami.

Hamsayeh International has been supporting the three men and their families as best we can over the past few years as they have sought to develop their faith and spread the life-changing message of Jesus within their community.

Their Faith Stories
Hami, 46, came to faith in Christ on the back of one of our satellite television broadcasts into Iran in 2013. From a city in the north of the country, Gorgan, he has a wife, Mary, and three children, Susan, Samira and Hope, who also follow Christ.

Quite literally, their lives are under threat simply because they love Jesus, and Hami’s decision to follow Christ seven years ago shocked members of his family, particularly as his father is an imam. However, it was the emptiness in his life and the corruption he witnessed in the Islamic religion that led to him asking questions and taking an interest in the Hamsayeh International broadcasts.

Having made contact with him, we managed to meet him and a group of other Iranians, who were interested in further teaching, at a place in a nearby country and it was during this period that Hami and his wife Mary made their profession of faith. The impact of the broadcasts was so great that at the end of a 13-week teaching series, around 160 had contacted our call centre and 13 had given their life to Christ.

The path has been far from easy for the family but, by the grace of God and the prayers of his people empowering them, they have stood firm for Christ – even when their home was raided by the state police. As well as Hami being arrested and put in prison, Bibles and computer equipment were also taken away.

His wife Mary explained: “My in-laws are blaming me because I let my husband bring a Bible home and convert to Christianity. They were saying to me that if I hadn’t allowed that to happen he wouldn’t be in prison and warned me that he would most likely be killed and I would be left to bring up three children on my own. They begged me to go to the mosque, see the imam and repent.

“But this was to be expected and I said to them ‘We knew this time would come. We chose to walk in the way where we can’t turn back. We walked in the way of Christ and we knew we’d be persecuted and we are willing to give our life for our faith. We haven’t done anything wrong except follow and show the true God and showing love to our neighbours. They had no answer to that.”

You’re a Dead Man!
While it might have been expected that many within their neighbourhood would have turned against Hami, David and Simon and their families because of their belief in Christ, their brutal arrest has only led to more being intrigued about why they have chosen a different path in life. Indeed, even those who were interrogating them while they were in prison were left astounded by their rock-solid faith in Christ.

One interrogator turned to David and said: “You’re a dead man - the judge has already sentenced you to death!”, to which David, who was blindfolded, replied: “Right let’s go, do you want to hang me or shoot me? I don’t mind either way because I’m ready to see my Saviour!” All the interrogator could say was: “You Christians are crazy!”

Being crazy for Christ seems like a pretty good testimony for any follower and we pray that more and more Iranians will come to have the same fervent passion for Jesus.

**The names of these people have been changed for security reasons**
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