So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building. — 1 Corinthians 3:7-9 NIV
We have been in this ministry among Persian Speakers for over 17 years now. We have worked in many countries and many states in the US. We have planted churches and held Bible studies and worship services. We have shared the gospel with family, friends, neighbors and strangers.
We know that God is faithful. We know that from scripture and from the changed lives we see. We also know that God loves people and desires for them to be saved. “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:8 NIV).
During a recent visit to Texas, we reunited with an Iranian family who were our neighbors 13 years ago in California. I had met this Iranian woman on the steps of our apartment building. She was struggling with balancing groceries and a baby. I helped and she invited us to visit. We spent many good times together at their home, at our home and at the Iranian Church we established there. We had many conversations about faith. When we left CA 7 years ago, we left this family knowing they still had not understood and accepted Christ’s love for them even though we and others had shared the message of God’s love and his plan of salvation through Jesus Christ.
Then a couple of years ago through a Christian contact in TX we learned that this family had moved from CA to TX and had seen an ad for an Iranian Church in the Iranian newspaper there. One Sunday the wife went to this church and then took her husband. After some time, and the witness of another Iranian Christian brother, both accepted Christ as personal savior. My husband saw them and heard their testimony about a year ago but it was only last month that I got to visit with them and see for myself the transformation God has made in their lives.
“We should have listened to you 13 years ago,” they said in hindsight. But we rejoiced together knowing that it was only by God’s grace that their lives (and ours) have been changed. Yes, we plant and others water or sometimes we water what others have planted. Sometimes we see what God is doing but often we do not. And so we continue on our way—planting and watering and above all giving glory to the God who does indeed make things grow.
Persian New Year begins on the first day of spring. Click here for more information about how you can reach out to your Persian neighbors and plant seeds of God's transformation.