Persians Finding God's Word and Jesus in South America

Categories: Stories

By Randy Southwell

Picture1 Article2 March2021

The increased mobility of the world’s population has led to great opportunities to share the gospel with people groups from areas of the world to which missionaries have very limited access. One of the places this is happening is in South America. JL is a missionary in one of the capital cities of South America. For a number of years now he has been doing evangelistic Bible studies with internationals in this multicultural metropolis. He uses Bibles and The Story of Hope in multiple languages, sharing God’s redemptive plan with them even though many times he does not speak their native language.

One of the people groups that JL developed a real burden for were the Persians he has met in South America. In the fall of 2019, JL was able to procure a Farsi Bible and using a beta version of The Message of Hope (adapted specifically for the Muslim worldview) in the same language shared the gospel with one of these contacts. This person than shared with a friend that he had been able to receive a Bible and hear about Jesus in his own language. This friend, in turn, shared with another friend and soon several Persians were showing up at the church JL ministers at asking for a Bible in their own language and wanting to know about this Jesus. Later that fall, a man from Persia flew to South America for his “vacation” time, because he had heard that someone was giving away Bibles in his language. JL was able to spend several hours that week explaining God’s redemptive plan of salvation for mankind. As the man was leaving the country to head back home, he sent this simple, yet life-changing message: “I read the Bible, decide to born again.”

JL set out trying to obtain as many Farsi Bibles as he could. One young man, who was a follower of Jesus Christ and seeing a copy of God’s Word in his language for the first time, reacted by raising it up in triumph, kissing it, then embracing it close to his heart. Christmas that year allowed JL to share the story of Emmanuel with several Persians, including a group of university students, who were able to experience reading about it in “God’s Book” for the very first time.

The year of 2020 continued to bring more opportunities to share the good news of Jesus. A young lady arrived from Persia and the first thing she asked her friends was how to get a Bible in her language. She was not disappointed. A young man met JL at a coffee shop. “Can you tell me about God?” he asked, “I would like to know about God!” Persian immigrants continued to seek JL out for a Farsi Bible and to ask questions about Jesus.

When COVID hit, the South American country JL works in went into a very strict lockdown. In July, JL along with a Persian pastor in the U.S., started an online Zoom meeting and Bible study with a group of Persians there in the capital city. Week after week they met faithfully and week after week the number of participants grew. As they began to understand the truths of God’s story of redemption, Persian men, women, and families began to trust Jesus as their Lord and Savior. As the country slowly opened up, more studies were started. Over the past few months, JL has seen Persians make faith responses to the gospel almost weekly. Many of them have acknowledged their faith to family and friends and some have taken the bold step of being publicly baptized.

The group of Persians who have become followers of Jesus are now interested in starting a church. Each week sees new people attending the Bible studies, some having just arrived in country. In December, JL was able to speak to over 200 Christian workers throughout Latin America and challenge them with the opportunities to minister to people of Middle Eastern descent in his country. Pray that this harvest might continue. Pray for these Persian believers to have strength and courage as they share their faith with others. Pray for some of them who have returned to their country of origin and are facing persecution for their faith.

The Message of Hope in Farsi is nearing completing. Pray that we will be able to publish it soon. JL is awaiting the opportunity to give it to all those who have trusted in Jesus Christ and to those who continue to seek to know this one called Jesus.

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