Thousands of Iranian refugees are converting in Europe. Some speak of tens of thousands of conversions. But behind extraordinary figures, many wonder about the motivations of these refugees.
Dsincere approach or asylum seeker strategy? This is the question asked by a BBC reporter who carried out the investigation in Europe and particularly in Holland, a country which hosts many Iranian refugees. It seems that in reality, the 2 scenarios coexist. Conversion to Christianity is seen by migrants as an additional asset to see their asylum request succeed, but at the end of their journey, many Iranians actually meet Jesus in Europe. Tired and weary of the restrictions of freedom and of a distant god, the refugees discover compassion and love in Jesus.
In Iran, the Christian faith is hidden, and conversion is punishable by death. Most of the new Christians testify in the documentary anonymously, to protect their families back home.
Dutch pastor Gils van den Brink says he baptizes 25 Iranians a year. In this small community, Christians are very close to the refugees who join the church, and the pastor ensures that he does not agree to baptize them until he sees the fruits of a real conversion. A parishioner testifies:
“They feel right at home. This is what they say. If I'm talking about our church. It's like a family. ”
While many Iranians join local churches, most convert after hearing the gospel online, in their own language, the Persian language. Massoud Mohammad Amin is responsible for Cyrus Church. He claims to have baptized thousands of Iranian migrants from Paris to Turkey. He recounts his conversion:
“I fasted every year from the age of 14 to the age of 40, but Islam did not answer my questions. In Islam, you are not allowed to ask questions, while Christianity encourages you to ask questions. It makes a big difference. "
According to Massoud, in recent years, 8000 people have converted in Holland, and 8000 in other European countries.
“My compatriots no longer have homes. They are refugees. They need help. They need God. No one can love them better than God. "
For Annick Oerlemans, immigration and naturalization official in the Netherlands, it is important to discern the procedures for joining the real steps for conversion.
“Knowledge of the Bible can be studied, but when you ask people deep questions about their thoughts, feelings, personal experiences and motivations, you get a better idea of the authenticity of their conversion.”
Some Christian families accompany asylum seekers, and do not hesitate to open the door of their house to them. Ali came from Iran on foot, by boat, by bus and by train. He was welcomed by a Dutch Christian family.
“In Iran, they want to limit your mind. They want to control what's on your mind. 5 months after my arrival, I was introduced to the Christian faith […] At the beginning I went to church to become a Christian so that it would help me in my efforts. Later, I learned more and was attracted, and I no longer thought about my steps. I just wanted to know who God was. Now that I'm a Christian, I put my head on the pillow without worrying. I know that I am in the hands of God. "
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