Iranian Christian survivor of war calls on Western Churches to combat 'spirit of the antichrist' in Iran

Lily Meschi
Lily Meschi | The Christian Post

NASHVILLE — An Iranian woman who embraced Christianity after surviving an abusive marriage and the oppression of Islam is challenging Christians in the West to “rise up” and pray for the “spirit of the antichrist” to be removed from the Middle Eastern country. 

In an interview with The Christian Post, Lily Meschi, director of partner relations at Iran Alive Ministries, challenged Christians in the West to amplify the voice of Christianity to support Iranian seekers of Jesus amid a complex socio-political landscape.

“As Christians, we need to rise up and truly pray for the spirit of opposition, the anti-Christ spirit, to be removed from that country so that they can freely receive the virtuous faith that ultimately gives them true freedom,” she said. 

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“We all know that true freedom relies on virtue, and virtue comes from the deep heart conviction that comes from faith. This is what Iran needs. We need to make the message of Christ so much bolder than ever before. This is a historic time. We all need to rally together to bring Christ into Iran.”

Meschi knows firsthand the freedom that comes from a relationship with the God of the Bible. 

Born during the brutal Iran-Iraq War, her earliest memories were marked by fear and displacement. "I was a baby in war," she recalled, describing the incessant bombings and the constant search for safety.

Growing up in a Muslim household under the strict Islamic regime, Meschi faced not only the external threats of war but also the pervasive culture of shame that dominated her society. Women were routinely shamed by the morality police for minor infractions, such as failing to adequately cover their heads, embedding a deep sense of fear and oppression in her formative years.

“My view of God was very much like the patriarchy, the male dominance, that I felt in Iran,” she said. “In that culture, there’s an angry persona of God. He’s just sitting on his throne, wanting to punish us, he wants us to make mistakes and have mishaps so that he can punish us. That was the type of worldview, the type of belief system that I was fed by the culture that I grew up in Iran.”

The economic downfall of her father's business when she was 16 instigated another drastic shift in her life. With little warning, her family moved to Germany, trading their comfortable life in Tehran for cramped quarters in a relative's small apartment.

“It was very difficult. It really created an enormous amount of insecurities in me, emotionally and mentally,” she said.

For Meschi, the turning point came after moving to the United States, where she found herself trapped in an abusive and forced marriage.

“The marriage ended up becoming very toxic, very abusive on all fronts, verbally, emotionally, physically, sexually,” she said. “It was very dark. Two years into our marriage, I found myself at the bottom of the pit. It was dark, and I did not see the light at the end of the tunnel. I thought that my life was wasted. I am trapped with this guy that is only abusing me.”

During her darkest moments, feeling completely lost and devoid of hope, Meschi, now a mother of a young daughter, encountered Christianity through friends in Oklahoma.

"They shared the Gospel with me," she said. Watching the “Jesus” film and listening to passages from the Bible, she felt a profound spiritual awakening.

"Before I knew it, tears were rolling down my cheeks," she said, and almost instantaneously, declared Jesus as her Lord and Savior. 

“I had no prior knowledge about Christianity or Jesus,” she said. “The only thing that I was taught in Iran was that Jesus was one of the greatest prophets who had performed many miracles. So the whole concept of Trinity, the whole deity of Christ, was foreign to me. But at that moment, the Holy Spirit poured into me the knowledge that I needed to declare that He is my Lord and Savior. … I had the Holy Spirit and encounter and I knew that Jesus was the Son of God, Jesus was my Lord and Savior, Jesus was God.”

This newfound faith became her beacon of hope and healing, guiding her out of the despair of her abusive marriage. Mentored by a dedicated Christian, she learned to navigate her past traumas through prayer and Scripture, gradually healing from the cumulative scars of her early life and toxic marriage.

“The Lord set me free from that toxic relationship after 14 years, and He gave me and my daughter peace that is beyond understanding, peace that His word talks about. I'm so grateful that I found Jesus. It’s one of the best decisions in my life that I have ever made.”

Now remarried, Meschi uses her traumatic past to bring hope and healing to other Iranian women who, like her, feel trapped in their circumstances.

She works with Iran Alive Ministries, an organization dedicated to spreading Christianity among Iranians who still live under oppressive conditions. The ministry’s 24/7 broadcasts and a 24/7 helpline for Iranians are currently serving as a lifeline at a time when many Iranians are fighting for their basic human rights and feeling cut off from the rest of the world. 

“This is our opportunity to share the Gospel with Iranians,” she said. “When they hear the Gospel, that’s the hook to bring them in, disciple them, truly show them what Christianity is.”

Many Iranians, she explained, have grown skeptical of religious structures, associating them with political oppression. "They sort of tie politics and religion together as one unity," Meschi said, highlighting a significant barrier to religious outreach in the region.

Part of the ministry’s strategy involves redefining Christianity for the Iranian people, emphasizing its nature as a relationship rather than a set of prescriptive rules. 

"Christianity is not yet another religion," she asserted, describing it instead as a "deep heart conviction," distinct from the controlling mandates of Islam under the Iranian regime.

She urged Western believers to engage more deeply through prayer and actively participate in ministries that focus on Iran. Supporting initiatives like Iran Alive Ministries, she said, can help amplify the message of Christianity as a relationship, not a religion, providing a new perspective on faith that is crucial for people living under oppressive regimes.

“We need to make the message of Christ a lot bolder than what it is,” she stressed. “We need to have a stronger voice so that all the other spiritualities out there would be subdued and Christianity would rise above. We need other Christians to pray that Iranians' minds and hearts would open up to understand who Jesus is and what He has done so that they would have the same Holy Spirit encounter that I had as a Muslim girl.”

Meschi added that as Iran stands at a crossroads of cultural and religious identity, the support from global Christian communities will be instrumental in shaping a future where freedom of belief is embraced.

“The Lord is doing great work among Iranians, they already are seeing visions and dreams of Christ and connecting them to our underground churches,” she said. “We need to make our message, our reach even stronger than ever before, because this is a historic time for Iran.”

Learn more about Iran Alive Ministries here.

Leah M. Klett is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at:

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