“I never prayed for my release” – A former Iranian house church leader

“I never prayed for my release” – A former Iranian house church leader

God works in mysterious ways—that’s what former Iranian house church leader Mojtaba Hosseini found out when he was in prison for his faith. He shares about God opening doors to spread His love in prison and an imam helping with distribution of Bibles.

Mojtaba Hosseini is 30-years-old. He was imprisoned in 2012 for three years. He tells his story with a deep passion for serving Christ. He tells us, “I Corinthians 1:29 says that ‘God did all this so that no one may boast before him.’”  It’s a central theme in his prison story: “It’s all about God, not about me.”

Prayer

When all certainties were taken away from him during imprisonment, Mojtaba once again realized his dependency on God. “So, I prayed; that was all I could do. At first, they were prayers of repentance. I thought God was punishing me for my mistakes by putting me into prison.”

Then the Lord spoke to him. “He said: ‘Stop being selfish Mojtaba, it’s not about you, it’s about Me. Look around you.” For the first time Mojtaba started looking around with God’s eyes. “I saw people who felt so alone. And God spoke again to me, saying: ‘It is time that you share My word with them, that you share Me with them.’”

Mojtaba smiles: “It would have been impossible for us to pass the big gates of prison to bring the gospel to those who needed him so badly inside. But God just placed me and other Christians inside the prison, to shine His light.”

Bible

Mojtaba started sharing the gospel with his fellow prisoners. Some came to faith, others were just very happy he wanted to pray with them in Jesus’ name. “Something really strange happened. The prison imam, who came in every day to pray with the Muslim prisoners, offered to help us. He was impressed by our commitment to our God.

Bringing in a real Bible is impossible, but the imam brought in printouts of the Bible in English as an English lesson. Soon it became known among the prisoners that Bible verses were being circulated. “People were asking us for more. And the best thing was that prisoners were giving their lives to the Jesus of the Bible.”

Release

“I never prayed for God to release me from prison,” Mojtaba says, reflecting on his time behind bars. “It doesn’t matter what situation I’m in, I can work in God’s kingdom wherever God places me. And at that time, God placed me among the prisoners.”

In 2015, Mojtaba was released. He urges us to pray for his country and for those who are in prison for their faith now. “My prayer for all Iranians is that they hear the good message of Christ. And for the Christians who are under pressure, I hope and pray that they felt what I felt –  an inner peace and joy because they know Jesus.”

Recently Mojtaba participated in a trauma care conference for ex-prisoners that was organized by a partner organization and partly supported by Open Doors.