Being a mother can be challenging in the best of circumstances. Katayun*, a believer in Christ, has deep concerns for her daughter and the young people of Iran.
“I am a mother and I love my country,” she writes to SAT-7. “Every day I witness the ruin of our young sons and daughters who are the same age as my own daughter. The children of this land are like my own. Their pain is my pain, their destruction is the destruction of the flower of our country.”
Katayun struggles with physical pain. She lives with diabetes and sight-loss. Yet she says, “I suffer more seeing the flower of youth wither before it has had a chance to blossom. They are trapped by addiction to traditional and man-made substances.”
SAT-7 is acknowledging these issues through programs that speak on the topic of addiction. With drug production being high in Afghanistan and drug trades happening in neighboring countries like Iran, the Middle East as a whole is an area heavily susceptible to drug use, but the Lord can still meet people in the midst of these deeply rooted problems.
About 90% of the world’s heroin is produced from opium grown in Afghanistan, of which around 60% passes through Iran on its way to Europe and beyond, including the United States. Many Iranians fall prey to addiction to opium, heroin and other drugs.
Katayun witnesses to the pain parents experience watching their children becoming trapped. “My daughter and her friends have been defiled and ruined,” she says. “I pray day and night and haven’t lost hope because Jesus heals. I have faith but I am struggling.”
ONE OF MANY PROBLEMS
Despite the growth in the number of Christians in Iran, the ongoing drug problem is one of many major social issues, perhaps too big for the Iranian Church to effectively deal with alone.
Katayun has asked other believers to join her in prayer, but they are often unable to do so and she feels discouraged and helpless seeing the challenges young Iranians face.
She asks everyone to pray “for the salvation of these young people who are being devoured by wolves. Pray for the hungry, for those with no one to protect them. My heart aches seeing that no one heeds the cries of the helpless.”
Katayun notices that many young people have become resistant to religion and are completely put off by anything resembling faith in God. They confuse false and failed “religion” with the real Sovereign God.
Katayun explains, “The teenagers say ‘Auntie, you’re telling us religious tales.’ I tell them about Christ and they say, ‘We’ve had religion and saw no benefit and now you tell us about Jesus.’ They mock me and say, ‘Maybe you have managed to deceive yourself but we don’t believe or trust anything.’
“Their temple is drugs. Young girls get into bad relationships and end up having abortions. They carry knives with them. I have my own young one who is being consumed before my very eyes. I have reached a dead-end, along with thousands of other mothers.
“Please pray ceaselessly. I am waiting to see the mercy of God and witness the salvation of my child and the children of my land. Day and night I weep and pray.”
HOPE FOR YOUNG PEOPLE
SAT-7 PARS is addressing the problems of addiction through programs such as Swamp, a 13-episode social drama that considers the cost of addiction in society. Another program, The Sound of Hope, is a live program which focuses on tackling addiction. The show is led by Iranian pastor Rev. Miltan Danil, who wants to help people overcome challenges similar to what he went through himself. The producers behind these programs are driven by a need to bring these often-ignored topics out into the open. And beyond just showing the programs on a television screen, viewer support teams are always on stand-by to offer compassionate advice and prayer as well as vital follow-up support.
For young people who are disillusioned with life, hearing about the God who loves them, no matter what mistakes they’ve made in life, can be a powerful message for them with the power to transform lives from the inside out. One Iranian viewer named Hamid* came across a testimony on the live show Principles of Faith where a pastor opened up about his addiction to drugs, sharing how he found freedom through Jesus. Hamid was touched by the story and found himself relating with the struggles he was going through. “Pastor Miltan said to pray with him during the program and Jesus Christ would help me,” Hamid recalls. “I knelt and prayed. Something beautiful happened. Since then, I stopped using alcohol and drugs after an eighteen-year addiction!”
Together, we are bringing hope to the oppressed, strengthening families caught in difficult situations, and bringing fellowship to the isolated. SAT-7 makes the Gospel available to potentially half a billion people in the Middle East and North Africa. Learn more here.
*Names and photos are for illustrative purposes only.