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In the city of Mashed, Pastor Soodman, a Muslim convert was hung for his faith in Christ. His assistant took over the leadership of the church. The assistant was arrested and released, but each week was interrogated by the authorities. The pressure was intense, and his wife feared he might break. She said to him, "If you ever deny Christ, then you can move out and return to your father’s house. There is no room in our house for a person who denies his faith."

Pastor Haik gave other accounts of persecution and martyrdom and then closed his sermon saying: "The only way to win a nation is to be willing to pay the price for victory. This dedication should be part of our living."

About nine months after speaking these words, Pastor Haik was martyred. Two other leading pastors in Iran have also been martyred. Missionary Mark Bliss who serves in the same area of the world reports: "Pastors receive harassing telephone calls frequently, threatening their lives or the lives of their families. Muslim converts face extremely difficult circumstances. In spite of all these things, the churches are filled with worshippers. Hungry hearts seek the satisfaction that comes only through knowing Jesus Christ. Since these martyrdoms, weak believers have expressed a deeper commitment, declaring that they will never deny their faith in Christ or turn back to Islam."

The same kinds of stories are lived out in Cuba, Croatia, and many other countries of our world. The words of Hebrews 10 have become a living reality for these believers."

(Source: John A. Holt, Senior Pastor Bethel Assembly of Pittsburgh. From a sermon by John Harper, "Don’t Turn Back")

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