Following is a portion from an interview with Padina, an Iranian Christian woman who, along with her husband, is helping grow God's Kingdom in Iran. You can read the full interview here.
VOM: The situation in Iran has changed a little bit since [you first began in ministry]. It seems like more arrests and more persecution. How does that affect you and your work?
Padina: Persecution has caused us to be stronger in faith, has caused us to be more in prayer and fasting, and we take what we are doing for God more seriously, that this is serious. Because every place we go and every ministry, every trip, we feel this might be our last. So whenever we go out, especially on trips, we feel this might be our last trip.
I have chosen this way knowingly and I know that this was my choice so I don't have a problem with it. But I am more worried about my husband because of the way I feel about him. During the day when I think about my husband being arrested, when I consider all these things I come to the point and I think, I know I love Jesus more than this and I may even give up my husband for the love I have for God. So it challenges me, my love for Jesus — do you really love me at that level? So that causes me to have a more loving relationship with Jesus himself.
VOM: That is almost a daily process in your ministry?
Padina: Every day.
VOM: "Take up your cross daily." (Luke 9:23)
Padina: And because our ministry is expanding, we almost once-a-month have a training conference which are all new people and all new risks for my husband to be arrested [because new people could be spies]. So he is at constant risk.
VOM: So you know all the risks but you keep doing the work every day?
Padina: I am in a fight with myself every day. I struggle every day with this idea that I could go out of Iran and minister and already have enough connections to have a large ministry outside Iran. But then I realize God has called me for this country and I have to stay. I won't do that — leave Iran — until I am confident that I have done my part and the ministry is strong and stable.
VOM: There is a famous quote to the effect that courage is not the absence of fear; courage is being afraid and doing it anyway. So I think every day you show amazing amounts of courage. But I also think if we talk to your husband he would say I am not so worried about myself I am more worried about my wife. Do you think so?
Padina: Yes. These days, even a regular arrest of a woman is very uncertain what happens to her in the jail, especially if she is arrested for this kind of thing [Christian activities]. My husband says, "It is very hard for me that you might be arrested and raped. But I have come to a point with my faith in Christ," he says, "at that point give your body to Jesus."
Are there particular scriptures that you come back to again and again that you draw strength from?
Padina: Psalms gives me a lot of comfort. Especially Psalm 91, I love that Psalm. Even with the snakes and all the enemies around you, I will protect you. I receive a lot of peace and comfort from the book of Psalms. Also, Psalms not only reminds me of God's protection but reminds me of his love for me and my love for him.
How can we, Christians in the United States, pray for the ministry in Iran?
Padina: A prayer would be that God would give faithful and courageous leaders that would continue to minister under persecution. Because when persecution comes some of the leaders, because of fear, they go away. So pray for courageous and faithful servants.
Second, my prayer would be that God would increase our faith. Not just for me but the leaders, that they would not lose their faith under persecution. And number three is for protection.
YOUR TURN: What are the challenges that you must overcome each day in order to fully serve Christ? Share in the comments below.
The story of Padina coming to faith in Christ is told in IRAN: Desperate for God. You can order your copy here. You may also want to order a 5-pack to share copies with Christian friends who might also pray for the church in Iran.