George and Barb Zarris Prayer Letter: Meet for the Master's UseNOT IN VAIN

Dean Senning was searching. He had spent his youth in a rural Methodist church in Grundy Center, Iowa, but by age 20, he knew something was missing! The Gospel message at his great-grandmother’s funeral and the words of Jesus in Matthew 5:6—“Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.”—haunted him. He was not filled! He was not satisfied! He must not be a Christian!

Two years of struggling ended one desperate Sunday night in 1962, when Dean, age 22, gave up trying to save himself. In his hopeless, unrighteous state, he cried out, “Lord, You will have to do it!” Immediately, something happened inside, and an inexplicable joy filled his soul. God answered his prayer to be saved!

For the next three years, while Dean finished an agricultural degree at Iowa State, he was discipled by the Navigators, who taught him to pray, memorize Scripture, and witness to his college mates. When Dean met Rahim, a Muslim from Afghanistan, Dean knew that God wanted him to introduce Rahim to Jesus. After months of praying for Rahim, he miraculously got saved. However, the jubilation ended when Dean realized the staggering cost that Rahim must pay if he openly followed Christ—not just the loss of his government scholarship that paid for his education, but the shameful return to his homeland to face persecution and probable martyrdom. In that sobering moment, God used Rahim’s courage to open Dean’s eyes to reach Muslims.

God spent six more years molding Dean into a vessel “meet for the master’s use.” Bible college, farming, Candidate School, marriage, and deputation were the framework of his life, but ministry was always the goal. When Dean and Lois, Dean’s wife who was the daughter of missionaries to Chile, finally reached Iran in 1971, they had no idea that God would knit their hearts to the Persian people. They spent thousands of hours witnessing on the streets of Tehran and Isfahan, passing out tracts, following up on correspondence students (40,000 enrolled), delivering Bibles, discipling seekers, counseling converts, and building the kingdom of God. After the Iranian Revolution in 1979, the Sennings moved to Los Angeles, continued Persian studies, and sought to establish a Persian church. The work was always slow, hard, difficult, and time-consuming, with little to show for their endeavors.

Almost 50 years have passed. Dean and Lois still faithfully pray, witness, and disciple new converts. They still envision a church plant for Iranians in Los Angeles, and they still trust God for “fruit that remains” in the worldwide Persian community.

Several months ago, the Sennings asked prayer for Habib, a male college student from Afghanistan who accepted Christ through the teaching of a CRI satellite television preacher. Despite a distance of 7,151 miles, Dean has been discipling the young man on Skype by dictating verses to him in Persian, which Habib would memorize. Partnering with another Christian organization, Dean was able to help Habib flee the Taliban nightmare in Afghanistan and reach Europe safely. The following is the most recent message from Habib:

Thank you from our Lord Jesus Christ. Oh, God, I praise Thee. Thank you for delivering me from the bondage and darkness so that I am free within and without. It is my portion, oh, God. I thank you that you showed me the new life and delivered me out of Afghanistan. I thought I could not get out of my country. I thought it would be impossible, but for God, it was easy. With my prayers and the prayers of many friends and brothers from different churches, especially Mr. Senning, it was easy. I’m in ___ with a church and thankful for them. I am thankful for you and many others that prayed for me.

Dean turned 81 this year. Messages like this one remind him and Lois that their 50 years of labor are not in vain in the Lord. One day in Heaven, God will pull back the curtain and reveal the thousands of people who have been brought to the Saviour because of His faithfulness.

Note: Since this message, all Skype communication has been lost with Habib. Please pray for him to be baptized and to continue his spiritual growth wherever he is.


Moyamba Junction
Update from Missionary Aaron McCullough

Praise the Lord! The Quonset hut (pictured), constructed through the combined efforts of a dozen African nationals, two African pastors, and several American volunteers, will house the local Baptist church, a Christian radio station, and a future airplane hangar. A 160-foot radio tower is on its way. Please pray for us!


Testimony from Missionary Scott Christiansen

God brought it all together to get our FM radio station on the air. Pastor Oliver Curato in Davao City donated an 80-foot tower. The men of our church, including college students, poured concrete, erected the tower, and constructed the transmitter shed. Gene Sharp and Andy Chafa put it all together. DYAH 101.7 FM is on the air 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It is so exciting to travel around town and hear our station playing in businesses and homes.


Update from Missionary Greg Schoof

The tower is finished, and we are putting the roof on the two-story studio building. The deadline for beginning broadcasting is December 31, 2023. Thank you, CRI, for providing money to build the studio and for the technical equipment from Rwanda that we will reuse in Burundi.

George Zarris
Christian Radio International