“Yes,” Grandma responded. “You must practice Islam. I will teach you a prayer, which you must repeat 17 times at each of the 5 daily calls to prayer. To prepare, you must wash yourself, face exactly toward Mecca, bow to the earth, and pronounce each Arabic syllable correctly, or your prayers will not count.”
“But I speak Persian, not Arabic!” Michael protested.
“It does not matter,” Grandma countered. “Allah only understands Arabic! Also, you must fast, give to the poor, weep in the mosque, mourn the deaths of ancient imams, and afflict yourself during Ashura. If you do everything correctly, when you die, you will be able to cross over the fires of Hell to reach Heaven by walking on a bridge made of one thin hair.”
“Grandma, that is impossible!” Michael’s logical mind deduced.
“Not if you are good enough,” Grandma affirmed.
So began a 23-year journey of dead works and an empty heart. While Michael’s list of rote prayers and zealous “good deeds” grew, his assurance of Heaven did not. After college, when his construction business failed, Michael hit bottom. Life in Iran was impossible! Sharia law was strangling the country. Then, unexpectedly, Michael was granted a three-year visa to Australia, where work was abundant and life was free—too free!
“I worked hard and made money, but I lived like an Aussie,” Michael recounted. “I was hopelessly full of sin, and I knew it!”
When a colleague encouraged Michael to “become a Christian” so that he could gain religious refugee status and stay in Australia, Michael—who previously would have nothing to do with infidels (Christians), but who had not practiced Islam in five years—agreed to go to church. Amazed at the kindness and joy of the Christian believers, Michael accepted the gift of a Bible and proceeded to read it through in one month. Then Pastor Keith Piper of Liberty Baptist Church in Sydney, Australia, spent five hours explaining the Gospel, and Michael accepted Jesus as his Saviour.
Everything changed! For the past nine years, under Pastor Piper’s mentorship, Michael has spent every available evening and weekend studying at Sydney Baptist Bible College, soul winning, or engaging in ministry outreach for his church. He personally led more than 500 Iranians to the Lord, started an Iranian church, and wrote three Farsi doctrinal books, which he uses to train his converts.
When CRI offered to finance a Farsi-speaking satellite television program, Michael was well prepared to take the helm. In the last three years, while broadcasting weekly across the Muslim world, Michael has spent many hours every week mentoring several dozen converts over the internet. At the same time, Michael has earned a master’s degree in Bible translation from Baptist College of Ministry in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin; he has launched a Farsi online Bible college to train Iranian and Afghan men to be pastors; he has begun translating the book of Genesis into Farsi; and he has just moved to a restricted Muslim country for three months to assist a convert in the planting of a house church.
Michael, have you done enough good works to earn your way to Heaven?
“I’ll never have to worry about walking above the flames of Hell on one thin hair and hoping my good works will get me into Heaven, because the blood of Jesus has paid for my sin, and His blood is a bridge—the only bridge I’ll ever need.”
TURKEY, EGYPT, YEMEN
Testimony – CRI Partner Dr. Edgar Feghaly
December 2021 has been extremely productive.
• We opened up two countries – Turkey and Yemen.
• We dedicated two churches in Egypt.
• We ordained one pastor from Sudan and one pastor from Yemen (an extremely radical Muslim country).
• We saw 120 saved and 8 baptized.
Testimony – Missionary Tom Sloan
Compassion Broadcasting International (CBI) is now a network of 10 stations, reaching parts of 4 countries—Mexico, Guatemala, Peru, and Ecuador—a total of 15 million people. Our mission is to preach to hungry sinners about Christ’s once-for-all sufficient sacrifice. Everything else is just a religious circus. Most of our listeners are extremely religious and morally upright, but they are weary of religion and don’t know JESUS. The messages on our station give them the courage to break with religious tradition and be truly born again.
Testimony – Broadcaster Michael Germi
Several months ago, R___ watched Besharat (Michael Germi’s weekly Farsi Gospel program on Iranian satellite television). Seeking answers, he enrolled in the Farsi online Bible college and joined Michael’s live class. One month later, R___ received Christ as his Saviour. His wife followed shortly after. R___ wants to leave his lucrative position making missiles to destroy the “Big Satan” (America) and the “Little Satan” (Israel) and study at Baptist College of Ministry in Wisconsin. Please pray for them to receive visas.
Christian Radio International