Large numbers of people are coming to believe in Jesus in the Middle East, according to a Christian radio station, despite the persecution and violence they are facing each day.
“There are thousands upon thousands coming to Christ. We are in regular contact with our FM stations in Iraq and have talked with many people who have family in the middle East,” the radio station Voice of the Martyrs Canada told BosNewsLife. “Some of our Middle Eastern broadcasters have shared testimonies [about many turning to Christ] with us, which they hear directly from listeners when visiting there…”
Iran and much of the countries in the Middle East have been undergoing violence and instability in recent years, particularly due to the influence and activity of extremist groups such as ISIS. Religious minorities in particular, including Christians, have faced added dangers as they have been the target of many acts of violence and have been forced to convert or pay a tax to remain in their homes.
However, reports from groups such as Voice of the Martyrs and others say that Christianity has been growing despite the persecution. Elam Ministries, a U.S.-based non-profit that focuses on sharing the gospel in Iran and surrounding countries, reported on Monday that over 1,200 attended a single church’s Christmas service in a country near Iran, and that “a few hundred had to be turned away.”
“Such was the desire to learn more about Jesus,” Elam Ministries stated.
The ministry added that "at least 100 Iranians gave their lives to the Lord” in various churches during Christmas services in the Iran region.
“Church leaders believe that millions can be added to the church in the next few years — such is the spiritual hunger that exists and the disillusionment with the Islamic regime,” said Elam Ministries. “If we remain faithful to our calling, our conviction is that it is possible to see the nation transformed within our lifetime. Because Iran is a strategic gateway nation, the growing church in Iran will impact Muslim nations across the Islamic world.”
Meanwhile, there have also been reports of Muslim refugees converting to Christianity after fleeing from their homes. The Independent reported in December that churches in Germany have experienced growing numbers of conversions among Muslim refugees. Also in December, Breitbart referred to a German newspaper report saying many Iranian migrants have converted to Christianity.
“A massive amount of Iranians convert,” the report quoted a local pastor in Heidelberg saying. “Mostly they are between 20 and 35 years old and come from the educated class.”
However, some express concern that refugees may say they have converted to Christianity simply in order to secure refugee status.