Growing up in Iran, Amin prayed five times a day like all other Muslims, repeating verses in Arabic in an attempt to talk to Allah.
“One day I started to think about, why, if Allah is God, he should know that I am not an Arab – I’m Persian, I’m Iranian, and I speak Farsi, so why would he expect me to talk to him in another language, which is Arabic?” he recalls.
“That moment was a revelation where as I was praying like a Muslim, I said, ‘God, if you are alive, show yourself to me. I want to talk to you from the bottom of my heart and it doesn’t make sense to me anymore to speak to you in another language.’”
For seven days, Amin stopped praying and put thoughts of God aside.
“And on the seventh night, I had a dream of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. He came into my dream and he didn’t come to only my dream – he came to my sister and my mother and myself in the same night. He had long clothes and long hair, white in colour. He called my mum by her name and he said, ‘Mariam,’ which in English is Mary. He said, ‘Mariam, this is Jesus Christ’ in Farsi. He said ‘I want to give you two white papers and pass them to Amin and Elham.’ My name is Amin and my sister’s name is Elham. We were behind my mum and she passed the papers to us. And when she turned back, I woke up. I checked the time. It was 5 am in the morning.”
As Amin was wondering about his dream, he heard his mother and sister crying in the other bedroom. He went to them and asked what was going on.
“They said ‘We had a dream of Jesus Christ. A few minutes ago we woke up.’ I said, ‘I had a dream from Jesus Christ too – please share it with me.’ And they shared it with me and I just bowed my knees and I started to cry with them. I was sure God wants to do something and I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit in the room. I didn’t know about it, but I felt something is moving in the house.”
“When my mum shared the dream, he just burst out crying very loud.”
Five hours later, at 10am, a family friend knocked at the door and when he came into the house, he put a New Testament on the table and said “I want to talk to you about Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is not only a prophet. He’s the son of God. He died on cross and he rose on the third day.’
“My mum said, ‘Stop. Why you are sharing the gospel with us? Why you are talking about Jesus today? Why you didn’t tell us before? We had a dream last night from Jesus Christ.’ And he said, ‘Please share your dream.’ When my mum shared the dream, he just burst out crying very loud and we said, ‘What’s wrong with you? What’s going on?’ He said, ‘You said 5 am in the morning you had that dream, and at 5 am this morning, I heard the voice of the Lord Jesus Christ, with my physical ear. He said, ‘Get up my son, take my word and go to Amin’s house. They’re ready to hear my word.’”
This friend, a Christian, had wanted to bring a Bible to the family for a long time but had felt a wall between him and the door of their house, but now he felt bold enough to share the gospel with them.
As he gave them the life-changing news, they felt filled with the Holy Spirit even though they didn’t know who that was at the time.
“We couldn’t deny it, you know? It was very hard to forget about what has happened. We all gave our heart to the Lord Jesus Christ, and we accepted him as our God and our Saviour.”
For many years, their spiritual hunger led them to dig into that single New Testament, which they had to share among ten people.
“We had to borrow it from each other. We couldn’t have it for maybe five weeks, for four weeks, for three weeks. That’s why we were digging into the New Testament and reading about Jesus, and I felt fed with the Holy Spirit, something that I can’t see, but I really feel it.”
“We experienced casting out demons, healing – amazing things like in the book of Acts.”
The friend who shared the gospel with them connected the family to American Iranian pastors who were running teaching courses via satellite, and they started to learn. This US group put them in touch with a couple from Tehran, who would travel nearly 1000km once a month to pastor them for two hours.
“I remember my pastor when he started to come, he got us Bibles and we started to learn and we felt really blessed and we started to worship. They brought a projector and put worship songs on the wall, with the lights off and praying and worship. And we experienced casting out demons, healing – amazing things like in the book of Acts.”
However, they were not allowed to take notes for fear of the Iranian Religious Police and had to remove the battery of their mobile, leave it in one room and put the body of the mobile in a pot in the kitchen with a lid on. “Because even if the battery is turned off, they still can hear. And Iranian Religious Police are really, really strong. And if you talk about Jesus Christ or salvation, about the cross of Jesus, his death and resurrection, the Holy Spirit, if you talked about that, they can hear your voice.”
But Amin says he wasn’t afraid.
“I can’t remember in those days having the fear of man, but we had fear of God and love of God. God left heaven – this is not a small thing to forget about.
“So we started underground churches, once a month and we started to grow, sharing the gospel with our relatives and friends. And a lot of things happened, healing the sick. I went to the university and shared the gospel with my friends. A few of them came to Christ, some argued with me and even wanted to punch me and hit me because of the demons.
“Later on, I got a job in IDC, the National Iranian Drilling Company, as a petroleum engineer, and I started to share the gospel with my colleagues and workmates.”
Unfortunately, one of Amin’s workmates took a photograph of Amin’s Bible and showed it to his boss, who forced him to resign or be reported to the Oil Ministry.
“My father had just retired from NIC, which is the National Iranian Oil Company, and I was working for IDC, which is the National Iranian Drilling Company, so we came under the same Oil Ministry. But my dad said you need to leave Iran as soon as possible because they will report you to the authorities. They have to explain why they sacked you.”
Amin and his wife were faced with the choice of two countries – Austria and Australia, and the Lord led them to Australia on a small fishing boat in 2013.
“But we were told lies by the people we gave 20,000 American dollars to get out of Iran. I got to Dubai and Dubai to Jakarta and from Jakarta to Christmas Island in Australia. We didn’t know about it and they told us it’s safe and we didn’t have time to decide – we were fleeing from Iran. And the following week after I left Iran, the Religious Police came with two officers and a paper, asking for me from my dad. And the paper said there was something that Amin has done against the Islamic Republic of Iran’s regime. If you have a different faith than Islam, they counted it as rebelling.”
On Christmas Island, Amin started praying for a Farsi Bible because his own Bible had been destroyed by the rain on the boat.
“After I prayed, I saw a man and wife coming into our detention centre and I felt something different towards them and I walked toward them and I said, ‘How are you?’ And they said, ‘We are well, how about you?’ And I said, ‘Are you Christian?’ And they said, ‘Yes, we are. How did you know that?’ And I said, ‘I am Christian too.’ I wanted to cry. And we hugged each other, we cried – they were the first Christian people I met in Australia. They were chaplains and their names are Keith and Norma Briggs. Norma passed away a few months ago, and she’s with the Lord, but Keith is still alive and continues to love God. He led many, many Muslim people, many Sikhs and many Buddhist people to Christ through their chaplain ministry in Christmas Island, Darwin, Nauru, and Manus Island.
“I said, ‘I want a Persian Bible.’ They said ‘We got just one Persian Bible left in our bag,’ and they opened the bag and gave me a Persian Bible in a plastic cover, brand new. And they said, ‘You were praying for a Persian Bible. We were praying for an Iranian Christian to be able to share the good news with Iranian Muslim background people.’ And we saw how amazingly God had brought us together. He’s a good God.”
Amin shared stories about God’s goodness in a Bible study with four people, a group that grew to 40 and then 50 people who came to Christ on Christmas Island. Once freed, many of these people continue to bring people to the Kingdom of God.
“We moved to Darwin and after a few months, they gave us a bridging visa to Brisbane. And then, we started the first Persian church. The Lord gave me a dream of seven churches. I studied at the Bible College, got a degree, and now I’m an accredited pastor in Australia. I planted the Grace Persian Church in Brisbane and we planted churches in Melbourne and Sydney and Adelaide. Our main calling is to make disciples for the Lord Jesus Christ and bring as many Muslims as we can to the Kingdom of God, to the Kingdom of lightness,” he says.
Before COVID-19 hit, he says, there were 150 people in the Brisbane church, 50 to 60 in Melbourne, 70 in Sydney and 50 to 60 and Adelaide. Unfortunately, they lost a lot of people during the pandemic and right now there are around 50 to 60 people in Brisbane, 30 to 40 in Sydney and Melbourne and 20-30 in Adelaide.
“Iran is in a very tough season right now. And Iran is the fastest-growing church in the whole world right now,” he says.
“Mum and my dad are in Christ and they’re fighting for their faith and they’re quiet. They have to be careful. I want us to pray for them, and pray for the doors of Iran to be open so I can go back at least for a few months so I can serve them, I can help them. I’ve been almost ten years in Australia. I don’t have permanent residency. But Jesus Christ has not promised this world to us. We’ve got a destiny – we are passengers here.”
“Ask the politicians to raise the voice, be our voice for Iran. Iran needs a partnership of believers of Christ Jesus to stand for it.”
As well as prayer for Iran, Amin would love Australians to write emails to the Foreign Affairs Minister and Prime Minister about the situation in Iran, where protests are continuing after the death of a young woman whose hair was showing from her hijab.
“People started to protest after that and they said, ‘If Islam says wearing a hijab will cause ladies to go to heaven, we don’t want that kind of heaven. We don’t want you to force our women to wear the hijab.’ And they killed around 100 teenagers and ladies on the road and they’re shooting people on the road right now. So please pray for Iran. For the regime to be gone in Jesus’ name and for God to rise and take over the government.
“I would love you guys to take a moment and write an email to the Foreign Affairs Minister and the Prime Minister, and inform them what’s going on in Iran and ask the politicians to raise the voice, be our voice for Iran. Iran needs a partnership of believers of Christ Jesus to stand for it.”
On a personal level, Amin asks for prayer for spiritual attacks on his roofing business.
“I’m not a paid pastor – I do that as a volunteer. And the business that I have is under attack as well. You know, it’s Satan. He doesn’t like it when we bring money to the Kingdom of God. I had a fine of $10,000 for my roofing business. I would love you to pray for my family. I’ve got three boys as well. And I would appreciate the Lord to lead me to do his will in Jesus’ name.”
Amin is giving a series of talks called The Man in White for Open Doors. The last event is on Saturday in Sydney. For tickets, click here.