Shofar - Anna

Written by Dango

I have been in Persia many times and every time I go, I meet people and make new friends. Persion culture is very deeply rooted within social structures. Islam have however “disrupted” their pure Persian culture in many ways and today one can understand why the youth are so “confused” and very desperate for new beginnings or a “free” life. Many years ago I came to the understanding that a person’s calling is not about the actual calling itself but is all about people that are created in the image of God and every person have the potential to have a “new life” in Jesus Christ the Lord.

I, myself, have made many mistakes with regards to their culture and social structures, especially in the beginning. Trust and honour means everything to them. In this Shofar I will be talking about a remarkable lady in a family that I know very well. Even today we are still good friends despite everything that we went through in the past. I will simply call her Anna.

Many moons ago, a friend of mine thought it would be a good idea to introduce me to a family that lives in the South. Anna was the youngest of three daughters and was the only one not married even though she had many proposals. She refused to get married in the “traditional way” or marry a man of the Islam faith. Arrangements were made to visit the family after I had completed what I came to do in Persia. Meeting the family in their house was an honour and I stayed for five days.

Anna and I became very good friends and her parents were very good to me. Her father (he passed away five years ago) was a very kind man and we played back-gammon a lot. Anna is an intellectual person, very beautiful, full of energy, well qualified in her profession and she is a really a fun person to be with. One amazing characteristic of Anna is that, she really loves to laugh and when she laughs, she does it with abundance.

One day while we were driving in town I asked Anna how she met Jesus Christ? She stopped the car in a very isolated place and told me her beautiful story. This is the abridged version.
One night she had a dream. A man dressed in white, was walking along the road, with many people following Him. He stopped, turned around and told Anna to follow Him. She was standing separately from the people that walked past her and she followed Him.

Then she had a second dream one night. The Lord Jesus came to her and He had communion (bread and wine). It was only the two of them. She told her eldest sister about the dreams and her oldest sister started to evangelise her. I have met the older sister a couple of times in the capital city and I tell you, this women is truly an amazing person.

One year later, Anna come to my country with her father’s consent. The first thing she asked me when we collected her at the airport was if I could arrange for her to be baptised in a church. You see, their government punishes the person that baptises believers and not the person being baptised. This is done to drive fear into the believer’s hearts. I asked the Lord if it was ok to have Anna baptised? To my surprise, He even told me in which church she should be baptised.

I am not a member of that specific church and personally have not been in it for years. To make a long story short, Anna was baptised during the worship part of the service, unannounced, in front of the whole congregation and for obvious reasons, her name and country of birth was not mentioned. I remember, standing in the service, with tears running down my face during her baptism and when I looked around I saw plenty of people in the congregation with tears.

Back with her parents in her country, Anna phoned me one night. She told me that following Jesus was too difficult in their country and she made a decision to stop reading “the book”. This was very difficult and sad to hear.

The next morning very early, I received a phone call from Anna again. She told me that everything was fine again. I asked her what happened, what had caused this change in her?  She told me that she woke up during the night and that she saw a man standing next to her bed. He stroked her hair until she fell asleep again. The next morning early she asked her dad if it was him but he did not know what she was talking about.

At one point in our friendship her father asked me if I was prepared to marry his daughter. I could not and had to be honest with him and I told him for some reason unexplained, I did not fall in love with Anna. It was a very difficult time for Anna, the family and obviously for me. The mother asked me to stay away from them which was a very hard request but I had to honour her request.

Sometime later Anna contacted me again and asked for forgiveness for what had happened. She also requested that we pray for her to find a husband. One year later Anna got married to a “good” Persian man and they are very happily married. We still communicate and the family, including the mother, always asks me to come and visit. For obvious reasons and out of respect for Anna’s husband I never visited them again except for Anna’s oldest sister that lives in the capital city.

Whenever I think of Anna and her family I ponder on our heavenly Father’s amazing faithfulness, grace and love towards them.

Romans 8: 38 – 39 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

I have told Anna so many times that she needs to understand that God really loves her and she always objected to this.

Most believers I have met, have an understanding of the Scripture that I have quoted, but most do not live their lives as if these verses are absolutely true and real. They are desperately seeking experiences, they want “physical” proof or want to have events to feel His love before they believe it.

Our faith is not based on feelings. We are created by God; for God.

Shalom and Grace

Dango