Printing and Distributing Bibles in Iran
Name of Partnership: Printing and Distribution of Bibles in Iran
Name of Ministry: Elam Ministry
Type of Project: Evangelism/Discipleship
Country/Region: Iran/Middle East
Elam Ministries’ vision is to see all the people of the Iran region have the opportunity to come to know the Lord Jesus Christ and follow Him as a disciple, and that they would be instrumental in taking the gospel to other Muslims. A major component of implementing that vision is the distribution of Scriptures. Elam Ministries is on the forefront of the printing and distribution of the most up-to-date translation of the Bible in the Persian (Farsi) language for the people of Iran today. Global Opportunities for Christ wants to partner with Elam ministries to help fund the printing and distribution of at least 5,000 New Testaments at a cost of $6 each.
Operation World identifies the church in Iran as the fastest growing church in the world. Though numbers cannot be verified, the results of Christian satellite TV and wide-scale Scripture distribution over the past decade have helped to spawn a house church movement where new churches are popping up like popcorn—replicating, multiplying, and new groups starting from existing ones about every six to twelve months. Elam Ministries has been responsible for distributing more than a million copies of Scriptures to Iranians since 2003, including 200,000 copies with Psalms and Proverbs. Their goal for 2016 was to print and distribute 200,000 more.
Iran: Closed Land, Open Hearts:
Since the 1979 Islamic revolution, Iranians have become increasingly disillusioned with Islam. The political, economic, and spiritual situation in Iran has resulted in a deep spiritual hunger for truth. Iran may be a closed land, but the people have open hearts. Iranians today are seen as the most open Muslim people to the Gospel in the world. More have become Christians since the revolution than the previous 1,300 years put together.
In 1979, there were less than 500 known Christians from a Muslim background in Iran. Today the most conservative estimate is that there are at least 360,000 believers in the nation, and even more moderate estimates place the number of believers as well over one million. 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.
Despite the persecution, Iranians Christians are showing great courage in preaching Christ. Hundreds who have received training through Elam are sharing the gospel across the region and distributing the Scriptures. While the government tries to restrict the church, general society is not hostile to Christians. In fact, because of the disillusionment with Islam, the normal expectation is that if someone comes to Christ, other members of their family will soon follow.
Iran is a regional superpower with unparalleled influence in the Islamic world. Missiologists agree that Iran is a strategic “gateway” nation that has the potential to reach the people of the entire region because of its strong historical, cultural, and linguistic ties with its neighbors Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, the Gulf States, Iraq, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.
This is harvest time in Iran. Now is the time to fuel partnerships where God is clearly at work and make the Scriptures available to the fastest growing church in the world.
Global Opportunities for Christ has enjoyed a longstanding partnership with Elam Ministries since 1998, which has involved helping to fund training initiatives, Bible and literature distribution, and support for house church leaders.
Sam Yeghnazar, born in Tehran in 1944 to a devoted Christian family and coming to know Christ at an early age, is the founder of Elam Ministries. He came to know the Lord at a young age. As a young church leader, his love for the Word grew and he traveled to India to complete his theological training. Sam then returned to his country and joined the Bible Society of Iran in 1968. His passion to spread the Word of God took him to every town in Iran.
Throughout the 1970s Sam held various positions for the United Bible Society (UBS) offices in Asia and the Middle East. In 1983, Sam relocated to England to be the Consultant for Europe and the Middle East for UBS. The next year, while still with UBS, Sam became the pastor of a small Iranian fellowship in London, The Iranian Christian Fellowship, which has now grown to be one of the largest congregations of Iranian Muslim converts outside of Iran. Sam left the UBS in 1986 to dedicate his life to ministry among Iranians. He then established Elam Ministries in 1988 with the vision of reaching Iran and the Persian world for Christ.
In 2014 David Yeghnazar (Sam’s son), who had served for a number of years as director of Elam’s operations in the USA, moved back to London to assume the position of Executive Director of Elam.
President of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries
“I wholeheartedly endorse the work of Elam Ministries and the unique work to which God has called them to.”
George Verwer, Founder of Operation Mobilization
“The Iranians represent one of the most unreached people in the world. I just praise God for the work of Sam Yeghnazar and all of his co-workers. I trust more of God’s people will become partners with them.”
Patrick Johnstone, WEC International, Author of ‘Operation World”
“For some years I have followed the efforts to proclaim the gospel to the Persian-speaking world and related areas of the Middle East. I have rejoiced in the victories and wept over the suffering and setbacks of the Christians in the area. The developing work of Elam Ministries and the burden of its founder, my friend Sam Yeghnazar, I see as one of the keys for future progress for Christ’s Kingdom among the diverse peoples of this strategic part of the world. I commend this unique ministry as worthy of the support of Christians around the world.”
Project Budget: $30,000
(This will fund the printing and distribution of 5,000 Bibles)
Global Opportunities for Christ