Faheem Moini is the new pastor of the Persian Christian Church in Vancouver. This is his story.
I was born into a Muslim family in Iran. My father was a bus driver, and I have two brothers and one sister.
I finished grade 12 in 1987 and then joined the Iranian army. After a year, I got into trouble, deserted the army and fled to Pakistan. There, I became involved in gangs, drug dealing, robbing rich people and gambling, and spent seven months in prison.
I realized that I had many bad habits. I tried to be a good person, to change myself, but there was no power in me to change my attitude and my personality. In fact, I was in the hands of the devil. As a Muslim, it was hard to have a true relationship with God. There was a point when I thought that I was doing right, but it was not satisfying. My stated goal was to help poor people, and I thought I could be a good person, but I had no peace or joy.
After I became acquainted with some government officials, the Pakistani secret service asked me to infiltrate and work against refugees, but I had been a refugee and refused. Then they asked me to work against Christian missionaries and in December l989 I agreed. I thought I would be doing something good for the country and for God. I joined Bible studies, attended church services and got involved in other activities that would help me to meet Christians.
One day, an English missionary invited me to join him in his home for tea. After we had met together a few times, he asked me to stay with him in his house, which was a Christian community. This was a very good opportunity for me to watch him and other Christians.
One day, when I was alone in my room, I felt I needed to pray and ask God to help me to know Him. I started crying, and after a while I felt that I needed to ask for help, so I went downstairs and asked the missionary to pray for me. He told me that I should confess all my sins, ask for forgiveness and repent. He prayed for me, and I started crying again. Those were wonderful moments. I was touched by the Holy Spirit.
After that, I stopped working against Christians. I was baptized Dec. 8, 1992 at a secluded spot on a river near Islamabad. I took some courses at a Bible college and a seminary, and worked for a while with a Bible society and as a research assistant in drug addiction with the Salvation Army.
I had applied for refugee status with the United Nations when I arrived in Pakistan, and on Sept. 8 1997 I came to Canada as a refugee sponsored by the Canadian government. I settled in Winnipeg and joined a nondenominational Arabic church. I married my wife Akram Jan. 23, 1999. We have a daughter, Ateffe, 3, and a son, Arash, 1.
At the end of the 1999, we moved to Vancouver, where we became involved with the Persian Christian Church and I soon became an elder. I felt called to be a church planter and in January 2002 began studies at Columbia Bible College in Abbotsford, B.C. However, Seervan Dowlati, pastor of the Persian Christian Church, died unexpectedly in May 2002, and the B.C. MB Conference Board of Church Extension asked me to consider returning to the church as part-time pastor. I was approved for ministry by the B.C. MB Conference Board of Pastoral Ministries Dec. 12 and commissioned at the church on Saturday, Dec. 14.
My goal is to serve my Lord Jesus with all my heart and soul. In Pakistan, I used to carry guns to protect myself, but I was still afraid. I am no longer afraid because now I know that it was God who was protecting me because He had a purpose for my life.
| © 2008 Mennonite Brethren Herald
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