Story Iran | 17-3-2024

Imprisoned, sacked and forced to flee Iran, but Simin sees God at work


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Simin from Iran has experienced hostility from the authorities, her work and even her own family. But her faith in Jesus is undiminished. Today, helped by you, she’s found a way to channel her experiences into helping other women back in her homeland. 

When Simin* and her husband, Mohsen*, began a house church in Iran, they took extreme caution to not arouse suspicion – but it wasn’t enough. One morning, 12 police officers barged into their house and the whole family, including the couple’s two-year-old daughter, was arrested. 

After 18 days’ imprisonment, the family was released, but the couple were later found guilty of ‘propaganda against the regime’. Mohsen was sentenced to a year’s penal servitude and Simin was fined. She also lost her job as a nurse. The family made the difficult decision to flee Iran.

It’s one of many ways Simin’s faith has been costly, but she knows that Jesus is worth it – and it’s been that way ever since she first encountered Him. 

Encountering Jesus in the Bible and through a film

Simin’s experience of Jesus began when Mohsen, then just a friend, gave her a Bible. “It became very attractive to me because of its attitude toward marriage; it was very different than the world of Islam. Women have so much value, and we are seen,” she says.

She continued to read the Bible, but it wasn’t until she watched a film about Jesus that her life changed. She was particularly struck by a scene in which Jesus was carrying His cross. “I felt that I was walking with Jesus,” she says. “There I kneeled and cried for hours, and I couldn’t understand what was happening inside me. Something broke in me – it changed me!” 


"...during worship I tasted the sweetness of God’s presence among us!"

Simin, on her first house church service
Six months later, Simin attended her first house church. “I didn’t understand the reason for their joy, but during worship I tasted the sweetness of God’s presence among us!” she recalls. As she kept attending, her faith deepened, giving her the boldness to share the gospel with others, even giving them Bibles. 

This boldness spilt over into the hospital where she worked as a nurse. When a five-year-old boy was very sick after heart surgery, with doctors concerned for his life, Simin and Mohsen prayed for a miracle. The next day, the boy woke up healthy – much to the astonishment of others, including the doctors. 

Hostility, scrutiny and questions

As Simin’s faith grew, so did opposition – including from her own family. “My family mocked me when I shared about Jesus,” she says. “They said I lost my mind.”

When the couple moved to a smaller city because of Mohsen’s work, they found themselves in a more conservative culture where Simin’s clothing came under scrutiny. “I received a few warning letters about the way I dressed. I had to accept their dress code to escape from their attention.”

Whilst in hospital, colleagues noticed that Simin was different. “Why don’t you join for prayer time?” they asked. “Why don’t you fast during Ramadan?” She knew the consequences if her conversion was discovered. “If they found out, they would fire me from my job,” says Simin. She was forced to sign commitment papers agreeing that she would participate in prayer times more. But when she went there, she used it as a shelter where Simin prayed to Jesus. 

Hours of interrogation

When the pastor of their house church was arrested, Simin and Mohsen feared that would end their fellowship with other believers – but God had other ideas. 

As they kept sharing the gospel with others, and more people became Christians, Simin began hosting her own house church – the one eventually raided by the authorities. It happened after a young man became a Christian and his angry family tipped off the authorities.


“I just wanted to lead people to Jesus’ love.”

The 18 days in detention were horrendous for the family. Even their two-year-old daughter, who was ill at the time, was held. She and Simin were separated from Mohsen, and the interrogation Simin faced went on for hours. “They wanted to find other believers through me, then they wanted to suggest that I’m connected to other countries’ politics and my aim is to mislead others against Islam and the government,” she recalls. “But I just wanted to lead people to Jesus’ love.”

When the interrogators didn’t get the answers they wanted, they got threatening. “If you don’t come back to Islam, you’ll spend years in prison,” they told her. “What will happen to your child? Even if you go free, you won’t get a job anywhere.”

The family bravely persevered and were released. Simin and Mohsen were later issued with their punishments (a year’s penal servitude for Mohsen and a fine for Simin) and, a few hours later, Simin was told that she had been fired. It forced them into making the heartrending decision to leave Iran. “It was terrifying, but we had to sacrifice,” says Simin. 

Simin is now using her experiences to help other women in Iran

Equipped to empower others

Their journey from Iran took seven months. “God was with us, in every step we took,” recalls Simin. “It was impossible for a family to hide for so long. It took 18 hours to pass the border; we were in a cold, dark truck with other people, but my sick daughter was healed on the way and she slept peacefully!”

In a nearby country, the family connected with Open Doors local partners who provided them with training to process their ordeal. “I learned a lot and I could find trust again,” she says. “Eventually I began to get better mentally and spiritually. It was a great help when I had no one.”


"I understand the pain of these women. I want to comfort and serve them"

Helped by partners, she and Mohsen now have an online ministry, with Simin teaching the Bible to women in Iran and preparing them to lead house churches. “I’m not completely in a safe zone yet, but I understand the pain of these women,” she says. “I want to comfort and serve them.

“In the journey of my life, I experienced persecution a lot,” she adds. “But I always witnessed God at work!”

*Names changed for security reasons
**Photos are re-enactments of Simin's story

please pray
  • That Simin’s ministry will have a powerful impact upon the growth of the church in Iran
  • That she and the family will continue to heal from their ordeal, and that her breast cancer will not return
  • That God will strengthen and empower women who are called to leadership in Iran.
please give
  • Every HK$190 could provide Scripture material to four women, to nurture their faith
  • Every HK$260 could give a Christian woman food to help her family survive for a month
  • Every HK$430 could help a persecuted woman start a small business, giving her financial security
*Any excess funds will be used to strengthen other persecuted Christians where urgent help is needed.