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Iranian Youth Searching for Answers; Open to the Gospel Message

Contact: Jerry Dykstra, Open Doors USA, 616-915-4117, jerryd@odusa.org

SANTA ANA, Calif., Sept. 20, 2011 /Christian Newswire/ -- As Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is preparing to address the annual United Nations General Assembly on Thursday, a significant number of Iranians, many from a younger generation, are dissatisfied with the status quo and are searching for answers to the issues they face. As a result, many are coming to Christ.

In many ways they have the same interests as youth in the West. The difference is the future. Many young Iranians dream of leaving the country due to the current economic situation with the lack of employment prospects. They have nothing to look forward to and just want to leave.

Ramin (not his real name), a Christian leader, is working with young people in Iran. He says: "I don't feel that the challenges they face are vastly different to those elsewhere in the world. Iranian youth have the same questions about faith, relationships and life. The main difference is that many dream of leaving the country. Often the best form of communication with this age group is via social media, CD's and DVD's.

"Sometimes it is a challenge for youth to access websites to find information. Some of them are filtered. We help the youth to find different sites by mentioning them on Facebook."

In addition to youth, Iranians in general are thirsty for the Gospel.

"They want to know God and are hungry for Him and His word," says Nader (not his real name), another Iranian Christian leader. "Iranians are coming to Christ through personal evangelism and satellite TV; also through answering questions of individual non-Christian persons on a personal basis. This happens to young Christian students when they are at college. Even teachers at some schools ask for a Bible. Now these students are young adults and are having difficulties in finding a job, and then they consider leaving Iran."

Ramin adds: "Those who appear to be devout Muslims are eager to learn about Jesus and especially the concept of grace, which is alien to them. Muslims many times convert when they start understanding grace and the love of God. Muslims are open to the Gospel and find that the love of God is so new to their understanding that once they hear about it, and experience it, they want to know more.

"For those who become believers, their main challenges come from the family, not the authorities, as they are fearful of what the repercussions could be for the wider family. They need to be careful, and sometimes they do suffer at the hands of relatives or are arrested if they become too outspoken."

Iran is ranked No. 2 on the Open Doors 2011 World Watch List of the 50 worst persecutors of Christians. North Korea is No. 1.

An estimated 100 million Christians worldwide suffer interrogation, arrest and even death for their faith in Christ, with millions more facing discrimination and alienation. Open Doors supports and strengthens believers in the world's most difficult areas through Bible and Christian literature distribution, leadership training and assistance, Christian community development, prayer and presence ministry and advocacy on behalf of suffering believers. To partner with Open Doors USA, call toll free at 888-5-BIBLE-5 (888-524-2535) or go to our Website at www.OpenDoorsUSA.org 

(For more information or to set up an interview, contact Jerry Dykstra at 616-915-4117 or email jerryd@odusa.org.)