It is not everyday that Ohalei Rachmim hosts a guest speaker from Iran but on the evening of June 7th, we welcomed a brother who was once a Shia Muslim dedicated to the cause of Islam. Reza Safa grew up an ardent Muslim. His father was an eminent Islamic scholar, who used to take his young son to secret meetings with Ayatollahs, the same Ayatollahs that staged the Islamic revolution and rule Iran today.
|Reza Safa, Iranian preacher encouraging Israelis|
Reza had been a dedicated Muslim. He took extreme measures to demonstrate his devotion; he would travel eighteen hours to the gravesite of an Imam to ensure his prayers would be answered. After six months of reading the New Covenant scriptures he could find no fault with Yeshua but was struggling with making the final transition to faith. Like many others before him, Reza called out to the Savior in desperation, "Yeshua, if you are the Messiah show yourself to me!"
Reza had never heard an answer at the dead Imam's tomb but after he called out to Yeshua he heard a gentle voice speaking to his heart: "Reza you don't need to pray this way anymore, your sins have been forgiven."
Reza found joy in the Messiah but also loneliness as his family completely rejected him and his Western Christian friends didn't understand him. He went through a painful three year process where the Spirit of God completely stripped away his old Muslim mindset and gave him a new biblical foundation of understanding.
God had called Reza to be one of His sent ones, especially to Reza's own Iranian people. Fifteen years ago, the Spirit spoke to Reza that there would be a great revival among the Muslim people and he began to pray in earnest for the salvation of Muslims. Five years ago the Lord told Reza to purchase TV production equipment. He began taping shows with no way to air them. He wondered if he had heard the Spirit correctly but within a year, satellite stations were launched to beam programming into Iran and Reza's TV ministry, "Roz-e-nejat" (day of salvation) was born.
The response has been overwhelming. Iranians have responded dramatically to the simple Gospel presentation. Reza explained that many Muslims are hungry for God. What we see as radical militarism is many times a sincere (albeit misguided) effort to please God by people who have great zeal without the knowledge of God's love for them in Yeshua. "Roz-e-nejat" has a call center to respond to viewers and after each broadcast the phones are ringing off the hook with viewers giving testimony of how Yeshua revealed Himself to them. According to Reza, this is unprecedented. Even ten years ago the Gospel made seeming little impact on Iranian society; now Reza told us many thousands are coming to faith.
Reza gave one amazing testimony of a new believer in Iran. This man had been a drug addict for nineteen years. In a dream, a man appeared to him with a cell phone and asked him if he wanted to speak with Yeshua on the phone. Placing the phone next to his ear, he said hello but received no answer. Still in his dream, he looked at the cell phone and saw on the screen the phone number for Reza's TV program's office. The man woke up remembering the phone number, dialed Reza's office and explained his dream to one of Reza's staff members. After hearing the Gospel, this man received salvation and deliverance!
|Avishalom translating for Reza Safa|
Reza's definition of faith is being sure of God's will. When the disciples feared for their life as the storm threatened to sink their boat, Yeshua rebuked them. Reza explained, "Yeshua had told them to head out on the water because He needed to continue His ministry on the other side of the lake. Storm or no storm, boat or no boat, if Yeshua said they were going to the other side, then they were going to the other side. If we know what the Bible says about Israel, then we shouldn't worry."
This is not the first time that a ruler in Persia has threatened to destroy the Jewish people. If the story of Esther tells us anything, it tells us that God is in control and no one can thwart His will. Reza encouraged us to reject fear and instead, reach out to Iranians and other Muslim people with love. "Pray for the salvation of the Iranian people!" he pleaded with us.
As I listened to Reza and heard his amazing testimony, I marveled at the transforming power of the Gospel. This man, raised to hate us, now loves us. This man, who naturally speaking should be my enemy, is my brother. There is no other power in the heavens or on earth that can make such a complete and dramatic transformation. Truly, the Love of God never fails.
Editor's Note: RE Cottage Industries, Oasis
Magazine, June 2007
Tikkun International and the Tents of Mercy network do not endorse the doctrinal positions contained in "The Way of The Upright" website. We apologize for any confusion caused by referencing this site in last month's magazine.
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Also in this issue of the newsletter:
|Dan Juster: Judeo-Christian Values|
|Eitan Shishkoff: Fire on the Mountain|
|Youval Yanay: Sensation in Scandinavia|
|David & Orit Shishkoff: Train Up Your Children|