Ron Seher, Cameraman, Carpenter, Servant

HEARTS OVERFLOWING: BEFORE THERE WAS DANIEL’S MEN OF VALOR, RON VOLUNTEERED FOR GHM

There at the Beginning

If GHM is filming, then probably Ron Seher is on the camera crew, but he’s been a lot more than a cameraman to this ministry.  When Steve Sharp was still brainstorming through how to accomplish GHM’s goals, he turned to Ron for advice, because Ron had been a television producer/director himself.

The Original Production Desk Ron Built for GHM

In those early days, Steve needed a production desk to use for the taping of programs, so Ron built one for him. Woodworking is another of Ron’s skills which has been helpful to GHM.  At that time, Steve was still serving as music minister at a local church and the desk was used in a production space of the church.

When Steve went full-time as the President/CEO & Founder of GHM, he moved to The Hope Center in Plano, TX and did not have a permanent studio, so Ron’s original desk is currently being stored until the day God sees fit to provide another permanent studio.  We don’t waste anything!

Still With Us

New Mobile Production Desk Stored For Next Shoot

With no permanent studio to call home, we’ve still needed a production desk, but mobility was an important feature to consider.  When we shoot, we may go on location, set up a temporary studio in The Hope Center or rent/borrow someone else’s studio.  When we’re not shooting, the production desk needs to fit into a cubicle of our office.  So, again, we looked to Ron and he did not disappoint.

In addition to mobility, the desk gives us a secure place to store the technical equipment used with Each bin of the cabinet is numbered and all the items inside are inventoried, so we know exactly where our gear is between shoots.   The storage bins make set-up and tear-down a breeze, because it keeps all the components close at hand.

Ron and his desk on the set

But while he enjoys being able to help out with the odd carpentry job, Ron’s favorite task at GHM is cameraman.  He’s been running a camera since 1970 and his degree is in Radio and Television Broadcasting, and he says, “The challenge is finding interesting shots and being on your toes with the talent does something unexpected.”

Ron at his camera

“I love the television production aspect of [this ministry],” Ron told us,”and meeting the people on the programs who have such a  great heart for the Lord and bringing the Good News to their people.  It’s really great to be able to use my God-given talent to further His Word with the skills He gave me.  I’m blessed.”  We think we’re blessed to be able to call on someone like Ron to work with us!

Of our ministry, he says the main thing he wants people to realize about GHM is this, “God gave GHM the capability and opened the doors to be able to deliver the Word of salvation to millions who are repressed from hearing it because of government control…[if] you are so lead [to help] this ministry by [the]contribution of money or or time, you should do so.”

Fulfilling the Great Commission in this generation.

Join Your Heart to Ours

Volunteering your gifts and talents is just one of the ways you can partner with Global Heart Ministries to fulfill The Great Commission in this generation. Together we can bring the light and the truth of Jesus Christ right into the living rooms of every deceived child, every oppressed woman, and every hurting home. This is our message. This is our call.

We invite you to join this vision as a volunteer, a prayer warrior, or a financial donor.  Contact us today by phone or email.  Let us know how you’d like to partner with us as we reach out to the Most Unreached Regions of the World.

 

 

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Farsi, The Persian Heart Language

“Farsi” Written in Persian

HEARTS RIPE FOR HARVEST: MODERN LANGUAGE WITH ANCIENT ROOTS

Multiple Languages in One Nation

Several months ago we told you how the Iran of the Ancient Silk Roads has become a modern day linguistic crossroads for The Middle East and Central Asia.  Representatives from virtually every language of these areas live in Iran and speak their own tongue within its borders.  However, Iranians also have their own language called Farsi and it has ancient Persian roots.

One Language, Ancient Roots and Much Influence

Use of Old Persian, the grandmother of the Farsi used in Iran today, can actually be traced back to Persis, the capital of the Achaemenid Empire, discussed in a previous blog, so it is at least 2500 years old.  What was once the capital city of Persis is in the Fars Province of modern Iran, hence the name “Farsi.”

According to Farsinet.com, Farsi is the most widely spoken of the Iranian branch of the Indo-Iranian languages and Wikipedia says there are about 110 million people around the world who use it.  The primary countries using Farsi are Iran, Afghanistan and Turkmenistan, but it is considered a prestigious cultural language in Western, Central, and South Asia and has influenced neighboring tongues such as Arabic and the Turkic languages.

Because of a long history in literature, Middle Persian (the form before the current language and after the original Achaemenid use) was the first language in the Muslim world to break Arabic’s monopoly on writing, according to Wikipedia.  The literary classics in these countries include many works of Persian authorship.

So What?

Perhaps you are wondering why all of this matters to GHM.  Well, because the use of heart languages is foundational to what we do, that’s why.  Our programming is designed to reach the cultural heart of our viewers and part of that task is accomplished by using native speakers of our heart languages as hosts.  We have produced original Christian programming in Azerbaijani, Uzbek, and Turkmen.

To our delight, these programs are enjoyed throughout The Middle East and Central Asia, regardless of the name of the country, because the geographical boundaries have little influence on the use of heart languages.  Also, Azerbaijani, Uzbek, and Turkmen languages can be understood to a great degree by other people who also speak Turkish-based languages.

Now we want to take it to the next level.  Since Iranians already share the Persian culture our programs target, by lip-synch dubbing them into Farsi, we could multiply exponentially the number of potential viewers.  Remember, Farsi is spoken by 110 million people in the world and the influence of the Persian culture followed the Empire into the Indian subcontinent and throughout the rest of Asia.

Lip-synch dubbing is a translation method which seamlessly transforms the language spoken so well only an expert can tell it has been dubbed.  Imagine all the lost men, women, and children mired in hopelessness who could be freed into the joy of salvation by watching our programs.  So that is our dream, to lip-synch dub all the many programs we have already produced into Farsi.

While lip-synch dubbing a program is inexpensive in comparison to producing a new program, it still takes money.  While money is not something we like to spend much time talking about, it is very necessary to this opportunity the Lord of languages has set before us.  The Lord God confused the languages at the Tower of Babel and now He is leading us to take His message to His children who speak Farsi.

Help Reap the Harvest

Fulfilling the Great Commission in this generation.
Fulfilling the Great Commission in this generation.

You can partner with Global Heart Ministries to fulfill The Great Commission in this generation. Together we can bring the light and the truth of Jesus Christ right into the living rooms of every deceived child, every oppressed woman, and every hurting home. This is our message. This is our call.

We invite you to join this vision as a volunteer, a prayer warrior, or a financial donor. Contact us today by phone or email. Let us know how you’d like to partner with us as we reach out to the Most Unreached Regions of the World.

Happy Novruz!

Novruz Khoncha

HEARTS RIPE FOR HARVEST: CENTRAL ASIANS WELCOME SPRING

Celebrate Novruz!

Did you know that today, the first day of spring is Novruz?  Novruz is a springtime holiday which is enthusiastically celebrated throughout the Middle East and Central Asia.  It’s a holdover from ancient times when  these regions, along with most of the civilized world, were  part of the Persian Empire.  Recently, we’ve explored the history and culture of Persia and its many ties to the Bible.

Today Novruz is merely a popular observance with no ties to any particular religion and everyone, regardless of their religion, loves the holiday.  However, its origins can be traced to pre-historic pagan rituals illustrated in cave paintings.  Around 1000 B.C. the monotheistic Zoroastrian religion, with it’s focus on light order and truth, became the primary religion of the empire and many of its more desirable tenets like a focus on family life, hospitality, generosity and respect for nature, are still a part of Novruz.

Narmin in traditional costume discussing Novruz on Sweet Conversations

Narmin Loves Novruz

Here’s what Narmin, the host of Sweet Conversations has to say about Novruz:

As an Azerbaijani, I love Novruz Bayram. It is one of my most favorite holidays as well as a favorite of the whole nation of Azerbaijan. Novruz has a deep tradition in Zoroastrianism, but we do not celebrate it because of that anymore, especially, we as the believers in Jesus Christ.

This holiday represents and symbolizes the coming of Spring and all that is connected with it. For Novruz we bake Azerbaijani traditional sweets such as pakhlava (Americans call it baklava), shekel bura, gogal. We make khoncha (tray of sweets and dried fruits with candles), we color the eggs (this tradition is very similar to the one at Easter here in States). We grow semeni – sprouted wheat to represent the grass and the spring itself. Youth and children build bonfires and jump over them, which is a lot of fun, but unfortunately is prohibited here is the States.

The mood is festive, people are celebrating at home as well as on the streets. There are a lot of street entertainment to see and to attend. On the day of the Novruz, people are dressed up and visit each other with sweets and presents.

One of my favorite memories as a child was to put a hat by the neighbors door, knock at the door or ring a bell and run away. Traditionally people would put the sweets in your hat from their table or khoncha, so the kids can enjoy them later. Neighborhood kids did it for us and we did to them and everyone loved it. During the Soviet Era this holiday was officially banned, but we still celebrated it and now it is a public holiday in Azerbaijan.

Uzbeks Gather to Enjoy Sumalak

Umida Loves Sumalak

In Uzbekistan  the celebrations are focused on a dish called Sumalak, a wheat bran pudding that is cooked in communal pots shared by all the families in a neighborhood.  The dish looks similar to chocolate pudding, but tastes very different.  Most Uzbeks love any opportunity to gather with friends and family to enjoy food.  These communal cooking pots provide a marvelous excuse to do just that and the celebrations include dancing.

Several legends are put forth as the genesis of the Sumalak tradition, but all of them point to the importance of sharing, especially with those in need.  There is also a tradition that if you eat from seven different pots during the celebration you will have a good year, so visiting others outside your immediate neighborhood is encouraged.

GHM Uses Traditions to Touch Hearts

One of the unique aspects of GHM’s programming is that we discuss traditions like Novruz on our episodes, to touch the cultural heart of people in the Middle East and Central Asia, then once we have earned their attention and trust, we introduce spiritual truth.  We have found this to be a very effective way to reach the lost in these areas.

Help Reap the Harvest

Fulfilling the Great Commission in this generation.
Fulfilling the Great Commission in this generation.

You can partner with Global Heart Ministries to fulfill The Great Commission in this generation. Together we can bring the light and the truth of Jesus Christ right into the living rooms of every deceived child, every oppressed woman, and every hurting home. This is our message. This is our call.

We invite you to join this vision as a volunteer, a prayer warrior, or a financial donor. Contact us today by phone or email. Let us know how you’d like to partner with us as we reach out to the Most Unreached Regions of the World.

 

Volunteers Made a Difference at GHM

Dana Wilkin and her family

HEARTS OVERFLOWING: A VOLUNTEER’S STORY

Dana Wilkin, GHM Volunteer

Dana Wilkin volunteers her graphic art skills for GHM and we are very grateful for her invaluable help.  Recently she shared the story of her journey to partner with us as a volunteer.  We were amazed at the way God used a job move, an act of terror, a dream, and a coincidental meeting to bring Dana to us.

In 2014 Dana and her family moved to Texas from Washington state for her husband’s job, but they were completely without connections in their new home. As they went about the task of plugging into their new surroundings, the world was erupting into violence.  On February 15, 2015 she was shocked by the news that twenty-one Egyptian Christians had been beheaded.  She was sad, but not moved to action.

A Dream from God

“Then,” she explained, “God got involved. One night after the story aired, I had an extremely vivid dream in which I was helping people escape from ISIS and Islam. The image I remember mostly clearly was grabbing a woman’s hand and bringing her with me into safety…I had no doubt that the Lord had given me that dream,” even though He had never chosen to communicate with her in that way before .

She continues, “So there I was, hurting with a passion for a group of people and had no idea what to do to help. My husband and I talked about giving money but didn’t really know to who or to what and I just felt there was something more I was to do. There was not a possibility of personally going because I have three very small children. I waited, I prayed, I questioned, what do you want me to do God?”

Gaylynne and Steve Sharp

A “Coincidental” Meeting

Here at GHM, we’re not surprised when God uses dreams to touch hearts.  It happens all the time in the Middle East and Central Asia.  However, God wasn’t through.  He’d inspired her to action, but he needed to introduce her to us.

Through a series of divine coincidences, Dana met Gaylynne Sharp, the wife of our President/CEO & Founder, Steve Sharp.  The occasion was a play date Dana’s kids enjoyed with their grandfather.  When Gaylynne shared the story of GHM Dana says, “My heart started racing. I started thinking in my head, do I tell this person I just met about a dream I think God gave me? My normal answer would be no way! Once again, God gave me a little push and I shared with her about what God had placed on my heart.”

Gaylynne took down Dana’s contact information, making notes about her previous graphic arts work for a youth ministry back in Washington.  Soon Dana “got an email about whether I would consider doing graphic work for the organization…. At this point I got really excited, this was something I could do here in Texas, still having my little kids running around but having some part in reaching the Middle East and Central Asia for Jesus. I respond with a big yes.”

About her valuable work for us, Dana says, “God has a plan and I am just grateful I get to be a part of it in any small way.”  Are you someone with a heart like Dana’s?  You’ve heard about the awful acts of terror in the Middle East and Central Asia, but you don’t know how you can do anything about it?  Rest assured, whatever gift God has given to you, we can use it here at GHM.

Join Your Heart to Ours

Volunteering your gifts and talents is just one of the ways you can partner with Global Heart Ministries to fulfill The Great Commission in this generation. Together we can bring the light and the truth of Jesus Christ right into the living rooms of every deceived child, every oppressed woman, and every hurting home. This is our message. This is our call.

We invite you to join this vision as a volunteer, a prayer warrior, or a financial donor.  Contact us today by phone or email.  Let us know how you’d like to partner with us as we reach out to the Most Unreached Regions of the World.

 

Daniel’s Men of Valor

Is this the Darius who fasted for Daniel in the Lion’s Den?

HEARTS OVERFLOWING: ANOTHER PERSIAN LINK

Ripped from the Pages of History

This month we’ve been taking a look at Ancient Persia, tracing its links to the Bible and to modern day culture.  Last week we explored the story of Queen Esther and how situations in her life inspired our women’s volunteer organization.  Well, there’s another GHM tie to Ancient Persia we want to share.

Daniel in the Lion’s Den is one of those stories many of us heard first in Sunday School or Vacation Bible School.  The exciting tale follows Daniel into a den of hungry lions where he is forced to spend the night.  God protects Daniel from harm and we were taught He can do the same for us.

While Daniel was alone with God in the Lion’s den, he was not alone in his daily walk.  When Daniel was brought to Babylon as a captive, other young men from Israel were also taken away in exile at the same time and trained alongside Daniel to serve in the court of Nebuchadnezzar.  These men stood together faithfully to face the challenges of life in a foreign court.  The rules of law, fiery furnaces, and hungry lions couldn’t convince them to abandon their faith.  Their influence was so great that even the king himself honored Daniel’s God.

But Nebuchadnezzar’s son Belshazzar (Nabonidus) did not follow his father in honoring the Israelite God and chose to insult Daniel’s God by using captured Temple treasures at one of his banquets.  In the Bible, it is at this moment that God allowed the Persians to take over the kingdom, and Darius the Mede, later known as Darius I, became ruler of Babylon.

We do not know if this Darius was the same general who later became Darius the Great, but history does tell us Cyrus, who carried the title King of Kings, installed Medo-Persians to rule conquered lands alongside the trustworthy men who were already governing the nations.  History also tells us that rather than using battering rams and a siege to conquer Babylon, Cyrus used propaganda to influence the citizens who over threw their own king. Perhaps Belshazzar/Nabonidus was that king.  It makes sense for Cyrus to install one of his lieutenants to be in charge of Babylon and oversee his benevolent practices of rule, which included freedom of religion. 

Just like King Nebuchadnezzar, King Darius recognized the talents and gifts of Daniel and kept him among his advisers and officials.  And just as the evil Haman set a trap for Mordecai in the story of Queen Esther which, if successful, would have wiped out the Jewish race, jealous courtiers also sat a trap for Daniel.  In Daniel’s case, God sent angels to hold the mouths of the lions closed and in the morning was able to share the testimony of it with the king.  Just as Darius had predicted, “Your God whom you constantly serve will Himself deliver you,” Daniel 6:16.

Daniels Men of Valor

Can you imagine the prayer meeting that was held as Daniel spent the night in the Lion’s Den?  Do you think Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were still alive at the time, lifting up the name of Daniel before the throne of God or do you think it was their sons? Even King Darius spent the night fasting.  If this King of Babylon was the general who became Darius the Great, then imagine what an influence this miracle would have had on him.

Little is accomplished in the Kingdom of God by one person alone and it’s the same way at GHM.  President/CEO, Steve Sharp travels  around the world engaging organizations and foundations to support our work, but he is able to do that because so many wonderful volunteers and prayer warriors are standing with him–our own Shadrachs, Meshachs, and Abednigos.

In honor of the men who stood beside Daniel in Babylon, we call the gentlemen who stand beside GHM Daniel’s Men of Valor.  These men support us in prayer and donations, but they also show up to give us a helping hand when there is some heavy lifting to do.  In cooperation with Esther’s Friends, they multiply our ability to do the task set before us. Are you a man who would like to stand beside Global Heart Ministries?  Then please contact our volunteer coordinator via email, jane.sadek@globalheartministries.com.

Join Your Heart to Ours

Joining Daniel’s Men of Valor is just one of the ways you can partner with Global Heart Ministries to fulfill The Great Commission in this generation. Together we can bring the light and the truth of Jesus Christ right into the living rooms of every deceived child, every oppressed woman, and every hurting home. This is our message. This is our call.

We invite you to join this vision as a volunteer, a prayer warrior, or a financial donor.  Contact us today by phone or email.  Let us know how you’d like to partner with us as we reach out to the Most Unreached Regions of the World.

How Did a Jewess Become Queen of Persia?

HEARTS OVERFLOWING: QUEEN ESTHER AND ESTHER’S FRIENDS

Esther by Narmin Backus
Esther by Narmin Backus

Once Upon a Time

While the Bible contains many accounts reading more like an adventure story than part of a religious text, it could be argued the tale of Haddesah is one of the more remarkable:

A young orphan is being raised by her uncle in the city of Susa.  One day it is announced the king ‘s eunuchs are holding a beauty contest to find a new queen.  The lovely Haddesah is quickly chosen to be among the contestants and her personality is so sweetly unique she gains the notice of all.  Because of a friendship with the eunuch in charge of the contest and her own wisdom, she gains the king’s favor when presented to him and the lovely Haddesah becomes Queen Esther.  

The most wondrous thing about this tale is that it is absolutely true, but what makes it even more amazing is this: Haddesah is a Jew.  Today’s Jews still celebrate the festival of Purim, which commemorates her astonishing contribution to the nation of Israel.  How in the world did a Jewish orphan end up queen of a Persian court?

Artist's conceptual drawing of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon
Artist’s conceptual drawing of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon

The Babylonian Captivity

If you’ve read our most recent blogs about Persian history and culture, you’ll remember the Babylonian captivity of the nation of Israel, by King Nebuchadnezzar, brought Israeli captives from Israel to Babylon.  Then Cyrus the Great conquered Babylon, so he inherited the lands Nebuchadnezzar controlled and the Jewish captives in Babylon.

The magnanimous Cyrus allowed all of his subjects to follow their own religious persuasions and he allowed Jewish captives to return home.  The book of Nehemiah tells the story of the return to Jerusalem to rebuild the wall and the Temple.  However, not everyone wanted to return.

The Jews had been in Babylon for 70 years.  Many had been born there.  Many held important positions in the government of the Babylonians and continued to earn favors under Cyrus.  A life rebuilding their traditional home did not seem as desirable as continuing their pleasant sojourn under the auspices of the wise King Cyrus.

Susa today, a UNESCO world heritage site dates back to the time of Queen Esther
Susa today, a UNESCO world heritage site dates back to the time of Queen Esther

Enter Xerxes and the City of Susa

Susa is the city where the action in the book of Esther took place. While there are some scholars who tag Artaxerxes as the Persian king called Ahasuerus in the Book of Esther, most say Ahasuerus was Xerxes, the son of Darius.  Both kings made their home in Susa, a city which associated with both Daniel and Nehemiah, so one might say Haddesah was in the right place at the right time to save the Jewish nation.

Remember, at the time of Esther/Haddesah, Persia included everything from Turkey to India west to east and everything from Egypt to Russia south to north.  This means that the city of Jerusalem and its new temple were included.  It also means that far flung Jewish communities, like those still existing in Uzbekistan until today were under the rule of Queen Esther.

When the evil courtier Haman, frustrated by Queen Esther’s uncle Mordecai, tricked the King into allowing all the Jews of the Persian Empire to be killed, the entire Jewish race was within the reaches of the empire and they would have all been slain.  But King Ahasuerus didn’t know his queen was a Jew.  The wily Mordecai had insisted she keep this part of her history a secret.

Before revealing how Haman’s evil plot would reach into the palace of Susa and cost the king his queen, Esther and her ladies fasted and prayed.  The roll-out of Esther’s reveal contains cliff-hangers of the highest order, but they also demonstrate dramatically how the will of the Lord works out in the lives of real people – like the King and Queen of Persia, an evil courtier named Haman and Uncle Mordecai, who eventually became second only to the King in Persia.

Esther’s Friends

When Queen Esther wondered if it was indeed her place to approach the king about Haman’s scheme, her uncle told her it was likely God had placed her in her high position, “for such a time as this.”  Like Queen Esther, Global Heart Ministries has been placed in history at a very specific time – a time when technology has opened a window for the Gospel to shine its light into the Middle East and Central Asia.  We have no idea if this modern day miracle will continue, but as long as it does, like Esther, “thus [we] will go.”

Also, like Queen Esther, we have a group of ladies who join us in our endeavors.  We call them Esther’s Friends.  They pray for us, volunteer with us and donate to us on a regular basis, helping to further the Kingdom of God among the Persians and the Arabs.  If you’d like to join Esther’s Friends in our battle for the Gospel in the Middle East and Central Asia, contact our volunteer coordinator at jane.sadek@globalheartministries.org

Join Your Heart to Ours

Joining Esther’s Friends is just one of the ways you can partner with Global Heart Ministries to fulfill The Great Commission in this generation. Together we can bring the light and the truth of Jesus Christ right into the living rooms of every deceived child, every oppressed woman, and every hurting home. This is our message. This is our call.

We invite you to join this vision as a volunteer, a prayer warrior, or a financial donor.  Contact us today by phone or email.  Let us know how you’d like to partner with us as we reach out to the Most Unreached Regions of the World.

 

 

The Persian Culture Lives on in Iran

Azerbajanis like Narmin are Persians, not Arabs.
Azerbaijanis like Narmin are Persians, not Arabs.

HEARTS RIPE FOR HARVEST: MODERN PEOPLE FROM AN ANCIENT CULTURE

“We’re Not Arabs”

One of the first things Persians want you to know about their culture is this: they are not Arabs.  Cyrus the Great ruled the empire of Persia,about 775 years before the first Arab ruler claimed authority in Persia.  The Arabs ruled a Persian empire significantly smaller than the one held by Cyrus.  Cyrus controlled everything from Turkey to India, reaching as far south as Egypt and as far north as Kazakhstan and parts of Russia,  While other larger empires would come along later, no one ever held all of Cyrus’ Persia in addition to their own empire.  Today Iran is the region most often identified with ancient Persia, but many attributes of Persian culture can still be found all over the areas once claimed by Cyrus.

When Westerners look at the two cultures and see similarities, it is easy to assume the Arabs introduced the practices to the Persians over the many centuries the Arabs controlled these lands, but that is a much too simplistic approach. Both modern day cultures have reflections of each other. For instance, both used the vernal equinox to mark the beginning of the year, but this had been a Persian practice long before the Arabs arrived.

In the almost 1800 years since Arabs first controlled this area, the Persian people have developed many innovations in scholarship and art.  Persians see these innovations as Persian accomplishments, because they grew out of their own unique culture.  However, Arabs count these same accomplishments as their own innovations, because they ruled the empire at the time.

Monotheism in Persia

One of the hallmarks of Arab Rule, since the advent of the Caliphates, is the practice of Islam, a monotheistic religion.  This was in stark contrast to the empires of Greece, Rome, and Egypt which all grew out of polytheistic agricultural societies.  These empires each had their own multitude of deities based on nature gods.

Artist conception of Zoroaster
Artist conception of Zoroaster

The people united under Cyrus came from a nomadic tradition.  Their religious heritage was based on a code of honor, not worship of rain gods and harvest goddesses.  Fifty years before Cyrus came to power, Zoroaster codified a monotheistic religion for the region, and it was widely accepted by many of his subjects.  Even those who did not practice Zoroastrianism were heavily shaped by its concepts of light, order, and truth.

the Lion of Babylon
The Lion of Babylon

Cyrus and Religion

Though Cyrus himself came from a monotheistic heritage, he introduced a completely new idea in religion during his conquests.  He allowed those he conquered to keep their own brand of religion and worship their own gods.  Daniel, the Israelite captured by Nebuchadnezzar, was thrown into the lion’s den for his worship of Yahweh by Babylon’s ruler, but he gained religious freedom later in his life, once Cyrus became ruler.  In fact, Cyrus famously allowed the Jewish captives he inherited to return to Israel to rebuild the Temple, as recounted in the minor prophet books of Ezra and Nehemiah.  About a century later, one of Cyrus’ descendants would unwittingly marry a Jewess when he took Esther as his queen.

The monotheistic flame always burned bright in Persia.  Many scholars believe the Three Wise Men of the Nativity story were priests of Zoroastrianism who embraced the infant Jesus as a spiritual King of Kings. Certainly there were Persians among the crowds in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost.  There were Christian churches in Persian lands pre-dating Islam, but through persecution and forced conversion, the followers of Mohammed eventually turned the various types of monotheists into Muslims.

Today Persians still cling to their monotheistic beliefs, but many are returning to to Christ, in spite of serious persecution.  It is to these Persians that Global Heart Ministries is broadcasting the Good News of the Gospel.

Help Reap the Harvest

Fulfilling the Great Commission in this generation.
Fulfilling the Great Commission in this generation.

You can partner with Global Heart Ministries to fulfill The Great Commission in this generation. Together we can bring the light and the truth of Jesus Christ right into the living rooms of every deceived child, every oppressed woman, and every hurting home. This is our message. This is our call.

We invite you to join this vision as a volunteer, a prayer warrior, or a financial donor. Contact us today by phone or email. Let us know how you’d like to partner with us as we reach out to the Most Unreached Regions of the World.

Taking the Bible Back to Iran

Cyrua the Great, The Great King, King of Kings, King of Anshan, King of Media, King of Babylon, King of Sumer and Akkad, King of the Four Corners of the World
Cyrus the Great, The Great King, King of Kings, King of Anshan, King of Media, King of Babylon, King of Sumer and Akkad, King of the Four Corners of the World

HEARTS RIPE FOR HARVEST: WITH CHRISTIANITY, PERSIANS RECLAIM THEIR PAST

Isaiah Prophesies Cyrus’s Arrival on the World Scene

One hundred and fifty years before Cyrus conquered Babylon, the Prophet Isaiah wrote these words, “This is what the Lord says to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I take hold of to subdue nations before him and to strip kings of their armor, to open doors before him so that gates will not be shut.” (Isaiah 45:1).  About a hundred years later, Cyrus was born into the Achaemenid clan.

At that time, the high plateau east of the Zagros Mountains was populated by a variety of nomadic tribes who had begun to migrate there in the 16th Century BC. Over time, they banded together to form a federation of clans controlled by the Medes.  Among the 10-15 clans that made up the region of Persia, was the Pasargadae.  Their leader was always chosen from the Achaemenid clan and in 559 BC, Cyrus 11 was chosen as the leader of the Pasargadae.

Over the next seven years, Cyrus led the Persians to overthrow the Median rule, in spite of the fact his grandfather was their king.  In doing so, he styled himself as the first Shah of Persia and he assumed the empire the Medes had built over centuries, even though some of the nations were not ready to peacefully submit.

King Croesus of Sardis
King Croesus of Sardis

One such dissenter was King Croesus of Sardis, but after an indecisive battle Croesus returned home to lick his wounds over the winter, assuming their conflict would be continued in the spring.  Breaking with tradition, Cyrus pursued him and defeated in his primary city.  Then, also breaking with tradition, Cyrus spared Croesus’ life and brought him into the administration of the country he once ruled.

Cyrus went on to conquer Babylon in 539 BC.  However, he did it in his own non-traditional manner, winning the hearts of the nation against their current king with propaganda, before being welcomed into the city with palm fronds strewn along his path.

Nebuchadnezzar
King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon

Cyrus Delivers the Jewish Nation

The Prophet Jeremiah warned the nation of Israel that God had run out of patience  with them and would be sending “His servant Nebuchadnezzar” against them. (Jeremiah 25:9)  They would be taken away into captivity, but he also promised the captivity would only last 70 years. (Jeremiah 25:11)

A teenager by the name of Daniel was among the Jews who made the 5-month journey, on foot, to Babylon. In his elder years, after faithfully serving the kings of Babylon for many decades, Daniel read the words of Jeremiah and began to pray for the promised Deliverer.  The Lord sent Cyrus, the deliverer Isaiah had promised 150 years before.

After his triumphal entry into Babylon, Cyrus continued his habit of defying tradition and encouraged his subjects throughout his vast domain to worship their own gods and live according to their own customs.  He even allowed the captive Jews to return to Jerusalem and rebuild their temple.

persian-empirePersia in the Bible

There are 240 references to Persia and Persians in the Old Testament, but you also find them in the book of Acts.  Acts 2:9 lists the people groups present at the Day of Pentecost.  This list begins with “Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia”, all people who came to Jerusalem from the Persian Empire.

These Parthians, Medes, Elamites and Mesopotamians went back to Persia with the Good News of Jesus Christ.  Then they traveled the Silk Roads trading their spices for the silks of China and leaving behind their faith.  In China, Christianity was first known as a Persian religion!

The kingdom of ancient Persia is now known as Iran.  A list of Persia’s rulers, reaches from the Cyrus of the Bible to the last Shah, deposed in 1979.  While the American media focuses on Iran’s nuclear capabilities and its ties to radical terror groups, Iran is also the home of the fastest growing evangelical church in the world.  Iranians all over the country are rejecting the violent religion promoted by their radical leaders and embracing the Savior discovered by Parthians, Medes, and Elamites at the Miracle of Pentecost so many years ago.  Global Heart Ministries is devoted to helping Iranians rediscover their lost heritage through love of Jesus Christ and the Bible.

Help Reap the Harvest

Fulfilling the Great Commission in this generation.
Fulfilling the Great Commission in this generation.

You can partner with Global Heart Ministries to fulfill The Great Commission in this generation. Together we can bring the light and the truth of Jesus Christ right into the living rooms of every deceived child, every oppressed woman, and every hurting home. This is our message. This is our call.

We invite you to join this vision as a volunteer, a prayer warrior, or a financial donor. Contact us today by phone or email. Let us know how you’d like to partner with us as we reach out to the Most Unreached Regions of the World.