Courage Of Middle East Bible Smugglers

According to persecution watchdog, some brave Christians in the Middle East are secretly printing bibles and risking life to smuggle the books into the most restricted places on Earth. That’s according to persecution watchdog Global Christian Relief (GCR) Recently, a senior member of staff visited two secret presses and spoke to one of the printers.

Faithwire Press worker reports provided a rare insight into the covert operations and courage required to spread the Gospel to regions where conversion to Christianity from the Muslim faith is met with extreme persecution, even death.

“I have been arrested three times, and they tried to kill me five times,” the printer told Brian Orme, GCR’s chief communications officer, adding that: “Once they did really bad things to my children to try to make me deny my faith.”

The printer referred to as ‘Simco’ (not his real name) explained that he and other Christians who are still alive and spreading the Gospel owe it to the “prayers of believers” and to “Christ’s protection.”

He emphasized the importance of printing Bibles, despite the risk. He even shared the story of a man deeply moved after receiving one of the books, recalling that: “When he took the Bible from me, he said that this is the most important book on Earth. Because of this, ‘I will never give up my faith,’ he said”

Mr. Orme explained in a video about the underground operation that these Christian printers are undeterred as they churned out copies of the Scriptures in their “secret Bible-publishing warehouse.”

He showed a pile of 25,000 copies. New Testament but stressed  the name of the country, the location of the facility, the faces of those involved, and even the covers of the Bibles couldn’t be shown on camera due to security concerns. He said that once the books were completed and bound these would be revealed. New Testaments will be smuggled into Iran to “help strengthen believers and the Church.” The video also shows couriers traversing hilly terrain with Bibles strapped to their backs in orange nylon bags.

Mr. Orme videoed a second facility where children’s Bibles are published which also greatly endangers the lives of those printing them. “These Bibles are illegal. They’re going to be smuggled into dangerous places, so please pray for those who are taking these Bibles to help strengthen the church,” he requested.

The Bible smugglers use secure drop-off sites to protect their identities as well as the identities of those who retrieve what is considered contraband in Iran’s Islamic theocracy, according to a Mission Network News Report which stated that the Bible was also distributed via Secure Digital (SD) cards.

A smuggler named ‘Joe’ referenced in the article explained why he believes that he is justified in violating Iranian laws that forbid Bible ownership: “We’re supposed to render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s. Whenever Caesar starts opposing God and His love, I’m willing to step beyond Caesar at that point.”

Iran was ranked eighth on the list of the most dangerous countries for Christians worldwide in Open Doors’ 2023 World Watch List. According to the Christian persecution Watchdog, there were 1.245 millions Christians in Iran in 2022. More than 5,600 of them had been killed because of their faith.

‘Joe’ explained that many Iranians are actually quite open to learning about the Gospel, which he said is likely “due to the oppression and the persecution that they’ve endured. They’re rebelling, and within that rebellion, they meet Christ Jesus. They feel freedom and the love of God.”

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi enacted new laws in 2021 that increased punishment for Christian converts, including harsher prison sentences and mandatory Islamic “re-education.”

There are more than 300 million Muslims living in the Middle East who “don’t know the love and saving grace of Jesus Christ,” according to GCR, which added that “a copy of the Bible can change everything.” The organisation urged believers to pray for the safety of ‘Simco’ and others like him so that the Gospel will continue to spread in Iran and other Muslim nations in the region.

Photo: Farsi Bibles (the Farsi Bibles shown here are not those that have been secretly printed and cannot be identified due to security concerns).


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