As the coronavirus crisis worsens in Iran, Christians are setting a practical example even as they offer the hope of Christ.
Iran remains the epicenter of COVID-19 in the Middle East. Mike Ansari of Heart 4 Iran says, “The situation in Iran is very, very dire. And so, we really do not have an understanding of the full scope of the of the transmission of this disease and the number of deaths because traditionally, the Iranian Government does not announce the exact numbers.”
Many people are still celebrating Iran’s new year. That means traveling with family, buying food, and more, and yet many remain seemingly unaware of the severity of the crisis. Ansari says, “The message that people need to exercise social distancing has not really settled in Iran. On the other hand, you also have the clerics asking to open the shrines so people could go there.”
A small number of Shiites are still wanting to visit the country’s shrines, praying by them, touching them, and even kissing them. The government wants to close and sanitize these places. “The clergy are saying no, these are the places that are clean, people are going to go there and get healed. And therefore, you see a tug of war between governmental entities in Iran, the health ministry, and others versus the clergy. And people are caught in the middle.”
Iranian authorities initially did not take the threat of COVID-19 seriously, and some hardline clerics accused the West of orchestrating the pandemic to weaken the Islamic Republic’s resolve.
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SOURCE: Mission Network News, Kevin Zeller
CALL TO ACTION
- Pray that the Holy Spirit would destroy COVID-19, freeing people around the world from fear and sickness.
- Ask God to work through Christians in Iran to be the hope and light of Christ.
- Pray that the light of Christ would shine on Iran, and that the country would be healed.