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From drug dealer to Church planter

In 2002, Mojtaba was dealing drugs in the night-clubs of London. It had been his trade for years. Then, one day a Christian friend invited him to a party. When Mojtaba arrived at his friend’s home, he saw ‘Happy Birthday’ strung across the wall and felt embarrassed as he had no gift with him. He complained, “Ali, why didn’t you tell me it was your birthday?”

Ali replied, “But it’s not my birthday – it’s yours,” and he explained the Gospel to Mojtaba. “So, you see,” concluded Ali, “if you accept Christ today, it will be your birthday.” A few weeks earlier Mojtaba had heard a gentle voice in his heart speaking about a special plan for his life, and now he recognized the same spirit in Ali. Mojtaba asked Christ into his heart - and he felt he was completely changed.

In 2005, Mojtaba’s testimony was [the first to be] featured in Elam’s evangelistic TV program in Persian, ‘Healing The Broken Hearted’. It was viewed all over Iran and impacted many lives.

But Mojtaba’s own life, still had broken parts that were still being healed by God. In 1999 he had left his wife, Fatimeh, and infant son, Saeed, in Iran with a promise to send support back home, as many Iranians do. As the years went by, Fatimeh grew tired of the separation and talked of divorce. When Mojtaba became a Christian, it was the final straw. Fatimeh’s family demanded she officially divorce Mojtaba.

But in the mean time, much was changing in Mojtaba’s life. After serving as a volunteer for Elam, he was accepted onto one of our training programs, where he grew deeper in faith and devotion to the Lord. He also learned how to pray. One of his great teachers was the late Papa Seth Yeghnazar who spent hours in prayer. The names of Fatimeh and Saeed were constantly mentioned before the Almighty.

In Iran though, divorce was imminent. Fatimeh was just one signature from making it final. Mojtaba kept on praying. The day arrived for her to go to the lawyer’s office. She went – but she could not sign the papers. And she could not explain why to her family. Mojtaba started praising – and invited her to meet him in a third country. She said she would come, but warned that if she thought he had gone mad, or in anyway was not a gentleman, the marriage was over.

When they met for the first time in 12 years, Fatimeh was shocked. Mojtaba was a godly gentleman who loved her and his son deeply. She saw he had completely changed. A dormant romance was reignited, and the family was back together.

Mojtaba said, “Just as God brought down the walls of Jericho, He brought down the walls between Fatimeh and I. The work that God has done is not just a miracle - it’s more!” The story does not end here. Shortly afterwards both Fatimeh and Saeed became Christians. And still the story does not end. As Christmas (2010) approached Mojtaba and Fatimeh decided to open their home to other Iranians in the small town they were living in. Forty-three people came. Some were already believers, but through Mojtaba another seven have come to faith. Now between 20 – 25 are meeting every week for worship. A new church has been born, pastored by a man who used to be a drug addict, and at his side is his wife, who nearly divorced him. God truly heals the broken hearted and answers prayer.