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The Story of Sara - Iran

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I was born in Tehran/Iran in the 1950s. I was raised in an educated and wealthy Shiite family. My father was a very devote Muslim man who loved to please God. He was very spiritually sensitive and used to always talk about faith, love, and obedience. He had previously lived on the wild side, but in his mid 30s after 3-4 kids he had settled down and had turned to God. He tried to know Allah with all of his might, and what Islam was able to give him. He also studied other religions some in order to know if there is more to religion than what Islam offered. Unfortunately his studies did not go deep enough into Christianity. There was not a Christian who wanted to share deeply his life in Christ with him. My father was trained by the US military, so he lived in USA many times, for 3-18 months at a time. But as far as I know, no one ever witnessed to him.

I loved my Dad, he was a great man. As his youngest child I looked up to him as my hero. Even though I was a girl in a Muslim country, he always gave me the type of opportunities that only male children received in that culture. When I was a teenager he sent me to America to continue my education and become a doctor one day. I was a very good student and he wanted me to achieve the most I could in my life. When I came here, I was surprised with the culture. It was a bit wild, that was in the 70s, and some high school girls were very loose. I always had male friends, but could not date when I was in Iran . This open dating was very new to me. I did not join the dating scene until I started attending college. Of course my parents were not aware of this side of my life. They would have never approved of it. I met many American guys, since I was a popular student in college I got to go out on a lot of dates. But after the guys found out that the good-night kiss was even a bit too much for me, needless to say they would not ask me out for a second date. While I attended college, I lived with an American family who attended church every Sunday. I even went with them, the Gospel was even preached, but it had no affect on me. I believe that the Holy Spirit opens our ears and eyes when it is our time to hear His message.

I knew Alex from my high school years. He was very popular, a soccer jock, great looking, a nice guy, who all the popular girls had dated. I met up with him 2 years later. We started going out together. He knew that I was a Muslim, nominal one at this point, he too was a nominal Catholic. We began to date exclusively, he was patient enough not to push me into a type of relationship other men sought. I fell in love with him, and after dating each other for 3-4 months we decided to get married. We were not even 20 years old yet. We chose not to tell our parents about our decision. His parents when they found out took it a bit hard, but they knew me and liked me. Their faith was not very strong so it did not bother them that their son had married a Muslim.

Even though I was not a practicing Muslim I had told Alex that I would never change my religion for him. I was very proud of my heritage and my religion. He did not have any problems with that, because he did not have any more conviction in Jesus Christ than I had at that point.

When my parents found out that I had gotten married to a young high school graduate, from a Spanish heritage, a catholic, they went crazy. My father disowned me and my mother was so angry with me that she could not even talk to me over the phone. I was so devastated, I could not cope with separation from them. What was I thinking when I married Alex? This could not work. I told Alex that if my parents don't forgive me, I would have to leave him. It was a difficult time for us. We loved each other, but my family had to come first.

I got a phone call from my Dad, yes my Dad, 3 weeks later. He and Mom were coming to USA to meet my husband. I was so happy and scared at the same time. So was Alex. When they arrived and spend some time with Alex they realized why I had married him. He was a whole lot like my Dad. My Dad spent many hours telling Alex about Islam. His goal in life was to convert my husband. Alex was very challenged spiritually and was very impressed with my father's knowledge and zeal toward his faith. Believe it or not, God used my Muslim father to get Alex interested in searching his faith, and finding out if Christianity had this much interesting facts about it and what did it really mean to him. Why does he call himself a Christian?

After 5 years of marriage, Alex was transferred to far east with the military. I could not go with him, and I was finishing up college. I was all alone and did not have family or any close friends near by. Alex was making new friends at his new station, and they had asked him to start attending their church. He truly was searching to find the real meaning of his faith, and once and for all make a decision what he was going to do about it. Thousands of miles away, God started working in my life too. He started to surround me with Christians. I met Mary in one of my classes. She had a big smile on her face always, and showed allot of interest in the foreign students. She and I became very good friends, and she become my sister. She had been a Catholic until recently that she had surrendered her heart to Jesus Christ and had joined an evangelical church. For the first time in my life, I began to see what Jesus Christ can do in a person's life. She was always there for me. She never hit me over the head with her Bible, but she shared many beautiful passages from it. She was there when I needed a shoulder to cry on when I missed my husband. She was there to study with me when we were preparing for a final, she was there when I read Alex's letters when he explained to me his journey to find Christ. She would get so excited for him, even though she had never met him before.

A few months later for my graduation, Alex returned home. He was a new man. He had been baptized at his church and had been "born again". That I did not understand. Wasn't he a Christian before? Mary and Alex when they met acted like they knew each other for many years. That was odd! Alex and I took off after my graduation and took a long trip back home, so I could settle there when he returned back to the far east.

During this long road trip, Alex shared with me his new found faith. He truly was changed. He was very much at ease, had a peace that I could not explain. He was very confident, and very caring. He was a changed man. He told me that he would love for me to know God through Jesus Christ. I got very angry about this. I reminded him that I had vowed to stay a Muslim until I die. He was very much saddened about my comment, but he never brought up this question again. He went to God on his knees and gave me to Him. He knew that I was too hard of a task for him. I was very stubborn and would never give into his desire. He did challenge me to at least live out my faith.

So after he returned to the far east and I got my first job and settled down, I began to pray everyday, and read the Quran. I was searching for the peace he had found. After all we worshipped the same God, He must offer the same benefits in Islam as He has done in Christianity. While I was searching in Islam for this God of love and peace, God did not stop his work in my life. The first guy I met at my new job, happened to be a "born again" ex-catholic! How can I get away from these people? He too was very zealous in his faith, and did not hesitate to share the four spiritual laws with me. I told him to back off, because I knew what he believed and I was NOT interested. He now knew that God was really working on me. He was so kind, he helped me when I had car troubles. He was always there to lend me a hand in our projects. When I was in error, he would take the blame for it. He was again very loving and had a peace that I could not explain. I had witnessed Mary, Alex, and now Matt. There are a lot of commonality between these folks, and they did not even know each other! Allah show me how I can be like them in Islam.

The answer never came. I finished the Quran and could not identify the same God. Could he be different? If Islam is right then Christianity can not be right. Some one is telling a lie here! I would pray to God every night to show me the truth. I was suspicious of Islam now, with all of the hate, judgment, wrath, lies, ungodly life of the prophet, etc. I could not believe the Christian message that I needed a savior, and that was Jesus Christ; God himself! What a strange message. God please show me which one is the truth?

Eighteen months had passed since my husband had asked me to consider Christ. I was more confused and more defensive now than ever before. He had returned home for good and he found himself well challenged by me. I truly made his life miserable. There was a spiritual war in our home. I went to church with him, but did not participate in any prayers nor hymn singing with the congregation. I did not believe what they were saying, so I would not take a part in those activities.

I could not be convince of the fact that Jesus was God himself. That was blasphemy! Not only it did not make sense, but it made the hair on my back stand straight. How could these people believe all of this?

After we had attended this church for 4-5 months, I went to a service by myself because my husband was out of town. Since I knew the pastor and many other young couples, they were our friends now, I felt comfortable to go by myself. That day during the alter call, I caught myself singing "Amazing Grace." I could not believe it. I stopped in the middle and would not sing anymore. The pastor asked the congregation if you feel that the Holy Spirit is calling to come forward don't hesitate. No way I was going forward. I was emotional at that point, my husband wasn't even there, and I still did NOT believe that Jesus was God himself. He waited and no one went forth. That evening when Alex came home, I did not say anything to him. The next morning, Oct, 2 1983, I woke up my husband and told him that I believed Jesus to be God himself, and that I needed him to forgive me for my sins, and become my savior. Alex was so shocked that he cried like a baby. He could not believe that God was had changed my hardened heart toward himself. He had done the work, with the witnesses that my friends and husband had brought to me. What a joy, I was now BORN AGAIN. Now I knew what that really meant. I had died with Christ and He had given me a new life because of his shed blood. I was a new creature filled with His Holy Spirit. I knew that I was a new person.

My father had passed away a year before my conversion. My Mom was not a very devout Muslim but when I told her about my conversion, she and my brother turned against me. She pretended that I was really dead. This time I was not willing to give up my faith to have my family back. God is my father now, and He has surrounded my life with many sisters and brothers. We all have a common goal to live for Him, and glorify Him for ever. He is the source of life for me. He made me new. He gave me the desire to have children. He has blessed me and has used me many times to give back the love that was demonstrated me when I did NOT know him. What changed my mind, you may ask? God did. That is the answer. HE IS THE ANSWER AND THE TRUTH.

Please feel free to contact me at sara@watchman.com .

Sara

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