Anyone who has known me for more than a week knows that I have a thing for Iranians. Since meeting a group of Iranians on my first trip to Turkey, I was hooked. The language, the history, the culture. It was all beautiful to me. As an American it is difficult to travel to Iran, so Noelle and I moved to a neighboring country a few years ago to serve there as English teachers.
While we were there I heard that thousands of Iranians would be in the city we were living in to celebrate their Spring New Year holiday. I decided I need to go meet some of these great people. I was feeling extra bold because I heard of how open Iranians were to the Gospel and talking about spiritual things. I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to communicate very well with them so I printed off 20 copies of Psalm 23 in Farsi (Persian) to give out as I met people. I was hoping that they would be excited to meet an American and thankful for a small gift from the Holy Book of David (as they would call it).
I ventured out to the busiest part of the city looking for Iranians. I have an eye for them. The men often wear stylish rectangle glasses, the women have a specific type of headscarf and the men carry little camera bags to hold all of their things. Also, I knew they were going to be in large family groups and look like tourists. I was right. They stood out almost as much as I did
Anyways, I walked around and met different families. I was careful to avoid the appearance of someone handing out advertisements or tracts which both quickly attract the attention of the police.
Then, I met one beautiful family who were from the northwestern part of Iran and spoke the same Turkish language I was learning. I gave them the gift and they read it. Then with a look of excitement, the father asked, “Is the entire Holy Book (Bible) in my language!?” I said, “Yes! Do you want one?” He said, “Yes!” So we exchanged phone numbers and planned to meet the next day.
The next morning I called his number multiple times but the call would never go through. I was so bummed. I thought that there would be no way for me to find this man in a city of 8.25 million. I decided to go out again looking for more Iranians to talk to, but guess who I saw? The first Iranian family I saw that morning was my friend from the night before! I praised God to myself and went and greeted them. I gave them the Holy Book, but was nervous as the Police were about 20 feet away staring at us! Aaaahhhh! I prayed to myself and surely enough, God answered my prayer. They never came over. So after talking for a bit we parted ways again.
Then the next day, Noelle and I were walking around the city and once again saw this family!
I write this story to encourage people to be bold and meet new people. We often pray for opportunities, but forget that there are 30 of them living on our street! I have many stories where all I did was say hello and God did the rest. Remember, our job is not to convert anyone, but simply to love them through prayer, service and friendship as being led by the Holy Spirit.
Walk in Love my Friends,