Hormoz Shariat’s brother, Hamraz, was arrested at 16 years old, after Iranian police accused him of a minor political crime. When he turned 18, the police executed him by firing squad without a trial, without a jury, without any warning. His mother only found out when they called her to come get his body.
At the time, Hormoz, a new Christian, wanted revenge. And who can blame him, really?
He prayed for revenge, and God told him no. He prayed out of anger, and God told him no. He asked God how he could possibly learn to live with this, and God said, “Love them.”
Hormoz was a good person. He was an obedient child, and studied the Quran enough to make his parents proud.
He married an American woman who converted to Islam to be with him, and the two moved to California so Hormoz could go to grad school. That’s when things started changing for him.
Hormoz wanted to believe in Islam. He wanted to celebrate the Iranian hostage crisis because they conquered the U.S. He wanted to find God in the pages of the Quran. But the Islam god, while a central part of their religion, is not actively involved in their daily lives.
There was something missing. Where was hope? Where was joy? Where was peace?
“I’m still empty,” Hormoz said at Chosen People Ministries Conference. “Maybe there is no God. Maybe they just made Him up.”
He read the Quran one more time before turning to books written about other faiths — including the Bible.
He read and read, realizing what the Muslim leaders taught him about Jesus was wrong. Initially, Hormoz thought most religions were the same, more or less, but that wasn’t true for Islam and Christianity. They were very different, he realized, and only one led to the hope he was looking for.
Hormoz and his wife started going to church, and she became a Christian the first week. He saw an immediate difference.
“I saw the supernatural change in my wife so fast, within a week, within days, I said, ‘This must be true,’” Hormoz said.
After the death of his brother and his new conversion, Hormoz devoted his life to sharing Jesus with the Muslims of Iran. Hormoz says there are millions of Muslims worldwide with the same concerns and questions. As an engineer, once he found something that worked — like the presence of God in the lives of Christians — he wanted to share it with others.
“The work of God does not finish when you’re saved,” Hormoz said. “It starts.”
He planted a small church for those leaving Islam, and the membership quickly grew to over 200. God, he felt, was calling him to more.
“In 2001, I followed the Lord’s leading and founded Iran Alive Ministries, which utilizes satellite TV to reach the millions of lost and broken people of Iran and the rest of the Middle East,” Hormoz said. “Today, we broadcast the Gospel 24/7 from our studio in Dallas to Iran and the Middle East, trusting the Lord to use us to transform a nation which is responding to the Gospel unlike any other time in history.”
Since its inception, Iran Alive has handed out more than 400,000 Bibles and recorded more than 36,000 conversions along with 21 million downloads. In addition to the broadcasts, Iran Alive hosts a call center, operates more than 400 Christian schools in Iran and plants churches in areas with a high population of Muslims.
Hormoz is just one of the speakers at the Voice of the Martyrs free online conference. You can find out more, including how to attend, here.
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