George and Barb Zarris Prayer Letter: A New Life!Isolated. Outcast. That’s how Abed and his family felt while living in poverty in a rural village in Iran. Abed had no dream for a better future, but he did wish for something to take his mind off of the harsh realities of his meager existence. When he saw satellite television for the first time, he was smitten. If I owned a dish, I would be somebody, and my life would not be so empty, Abed thought. With much sacrifice and travail, Abed bought a satellite dish, but he never dreamed how his life would change.

Almost immediately, Abed found Channel 7 television (Iran Alive). His entire family was mesmerized by the programs and so encouraged by the messages about someone called Jesus, Who offered them hope and forgiveness of sins, that they could not resist watching. “We learned that God does not make a difference between rural and urban, peasant and modern, between tribes and nations or races. We are all accepted by God. Week by week, our hearts grew softer. When the preacher encouraged us to pray for salvation during a Channel 7 service, we gave our hearts to Jesus.”

Now Abed began to dream. To have a Bible of my own—it is impossible! If I would go anywhere to ask for one, I would get in trouble, but God came to me when I was a rejected rural person, where no evangelist could come, so God can probably do anything! Thirsty to get his hands on a Bible, Abed started praying. In response, Channel 7 offered to send one.

“I’ll never forget that day,” Abed recalled. “It was raining heavily as I walked to the rendezvous spot where my Bible was hidden in a bush under a lamppost on the road to our village. When I picked it up, I felt as if I was hugged by Christ. When I started to read it, it was like I got a new life!”

“I am grateful to God for Channel 7. With God’s love in our hearts, my village and I are not left out; instead, we are accepted and blessed. I wanted a satellite dish so I could feel better about myself,” Abed explained, “but God wanted to give me a new life!”

Editor’s Note: Iran Alive is the Persian Christian ministry that oversees Channel 7—a Persian satellite television station, which broadcasts a Persian program on this station.

Christianity is persecuted in Iran, and all church gatherings are forbidden. The Internet is controlled, forcing the populace to seek truth from unrestricted satellite television networks. Despite severe persecution, Iran has the largest percentage of conversions of any country in the world.

Radio Station License Granted

Missionary Gregg Schoof and Burundi Pastor Rama Appolinaire have partnered together to secure a Christian radio station license for the former capital city of Bujumbura (population 1.1 million). In March 2023, Bro. Schoof plans to erect a tower on the property of the Grace Gospel Baptist Church, pastored by Manirakiza Trésor.

Burundi ranks as the poorest country on earth, with a per capita GDP of $221. Since its independence from Belgium in 1962, the country has experienced constant political upheaval through coups, massacres, and assassinations, which resulted in a long civil war between the Hutu and the Tutsi ethnic groups. An estimated 300,000 people died.

Afghan Refugees Saved

CRI Persian-speaking broadcaster M___ has traveled to a Central Asian country to disciple 15 recently saved Afghan refugees who have fled persecution from the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. Please pray for their safety and for these new believers to grow in the Lord.

Imam Saved

Pastor M___ and the N___ T___ B___ C___ in Baghdad recently held the 3rd Annual Bible Conference for the Middle East. Fourteen new believers were baptized, including an imam, who is boldly declaring his faith in Jesus Christ.

Church Growth

A converted imam from a restricted Muslim country was recently ordained despite the threat of brutal persecution or possible death. He is the pastor of a growing underground church. Please pray for faithfulness and courage in this dangerous situation.

George Zarris
Christian Radio International