Letters from Iran

We asked three of our house church leaders in Iran to update us on life in Iran today. They left voice notes sharing their experiences. For their security we cannot share the sound of their voices. Their names have been changed for their safety. The written translations below cannot adequately reflect the pain and anguish in each of their voices. Here is what they had to say:

Iran Today: Self-Worth is Fragile; Dignity is Lost; There is no Joy

Message from Dina:

The majority of people are depressed. This is no exaggeration.
The opportunity to earn a living and make a life for yourself is gone.

From morning to night people are running but they are not getting anywhere.

Poverty is great. It is everywhere and growing constantly.
People are hungry and powerless to change their circumstances.
Prostitution is alarmingly high.
All of society is surviving on external appearances.
Real value and worth is fragile. Dignity is lost.
The women have no identity. They have all become the same broken exterior.
But they are empty inside.
You look at the women and they don’t look normal any more.
Those who can afford it have had so much plastic surgery that it’s devastating to see – they all look the same.

There is no joy.

All internal morality seems to have been lost in a bid to survive the trauma so many have faced.
Now that they cannot influence their mental wellbeing, they are pursuing external beauty to mask the emptiness inside. It’s the only way they can numb the pain.
Economically speaking, the situation is dire. Worse than it has ever been.
Except for a small proportion who are the wealthy few at the top, the rest of us are battling with overwhelming difficulties every day.
No one has peace.
With poverty so bad, we see that theft has increased dramatically.
People are hungry and cannot find a way to feed themselves, so in despair they have turned to crime.
Sadly we have all this pain in Iran.
The situation is so very bad.

Iran Today: Youth in Addiction, Depression and Prostitution

Message from Baran:

I would say the top three problems are poverty, addiction, and joblessness.

Poverty and its Effects in Iran Today

Poverty is turning people against each other. You’ve heard of ‘living below the poverty line’. But I tell you today we have reached the depths of ‘below the adversity line’. It’s awful. This extreme poverty is leading to crime and real danger for people. Just recently I heard of several violent robberies where they entered homes and devastated lives as well as taking what little people had.

Addiction Attacking Homes in Iran Today

To numb all this pain, people are turning to drugs and getting high to forget their troubles even if just for a moment. They have lost all hope. Addiction has attacked homes and has increased especially amongst the young people.

Joblessness and Hopelessness

The people face overwhelming joblessness, and such devastating idleness. Our young people have nothing to do with their time. There are no joyful pursuits for them. No career prospects. No meaningful social lives. They can’t earn a living for themselves or make a life for themselves. It leads to hopelessness, the lack of pursuit of marriage and family with no means to support either.

Countless more have lost their jobs. Opportunities little as they are, are shrinking. Businesses are struggling and downsizing. Bribery and corruption is up.

And… and… and… <she sighs>

Iranian Youth in Isfahan

Increasing Numbers Turning to Prostitution

All this has led to a marked increase in prostitution especially amongst young women and even in families where you would least expect it.

Our girls, our younger generation, are being lost to prostitution.

People have difficulty keeping up with the increasing cost of housing and becoming destitute. So they make choices that will harm them in the long run, all out of desperation to survive.

Working Children Struggling to Survive

Working children have increased in number. Little children who should be getting an education are instead out in the streets selling flowers, washing car windshields, polishing shoes…

90% of Iranian Men Are Depressed

Depression amongst our men is so incredibly high that many of our experts are saying that likely more than 90% of our men are bound in deep and hidden depression and many don’t even know it themselves.

It’s bad. Very bad.

Iran needs a miracle.

<she weeps>

People ask us if God has turned away from Iran. “Where is this God!?” they ask us. They are losing their faith. We always encourage them that He still remains, and He is listening to all our voices; to all our cries for help.

But the struggle is real. It’s effecting our young people the most. They face a hopeless future and they are turning to extreme measures to make sense of it all.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

Iran Today: Mental Health at an All-Time Low

Message from Shahla:

You have asked me to tell you what problems we have in Iran today.

All I can think to say is – what problems do we NOT have in Iran!?

It doesn’t matter who you are. The economic situation is so severe that it is affecting everyone up and down the country. When we counsel families and couples, we often see that the root of their issues is financial hardships.

Mental health is at an all-time low. That joy that we had before is not there any more.

There are no basic social freedoms. People are not getting married any more. They have lost all hope for a future. Those who do get married, find that their marriages do not last.

Life and circumstances have really changed for our boys and girls. People are in self-preservation mode. There is a hopeless struggle.

What Does the Death of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi Mean for Christians in Iran and for the West?

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