Q. Mark [name changed], what was your life like before you were a Christian?
Mark: Actually, my life had a lot of ups and downs, but any happiness was very short-lived. I always believed in God.
Looking back, I can see that I was a sinner — and still am. One summer, I was very happy because I had managed to obtain an Iranian passport. I travelled to the UK and really enjoyed my time here. But soon afterwards my sister died. Two years later, my mother died; and, two years after that, my father died.
I wasn’t the same after that; I began to realise that everything is temporary in this life. I would always be thinking about what might come after death. I had a good job, but after several years I got into difficulties, and so immigrated here to the UK.
Q. How did you become a Christian?
Mark: I was interested to see how Christians worship and pray, because I was suffering from depression. So, one Sunday, I decided to go to church, even though I didn’t want to become a Christian.
I said to myself, ‘At first, you can make some friends’. I visited two churches, one of which was Castlefields Church, Derby. I swapped contact details, including phone numbers, with some of the people there. This worried me, as I said to myself, ‘Now I’m trapped!’
I kept coming on Sundays, but not regularly. I got to know this friend there, who spoke to me about Jesus. He even invited me to live with him. And so I did, as I had been living with some cousins and was struggling.
Back in Iran, people viewed Jesus as a prophet, but in Christianity Jesus is much more than a prophet. He is the Saviour. I learnt that I was a sinner and he could save me. Slowly I was learning more about what the Bible says. Eventually I came to trust in Jesus.
Since then, many times when I have not been sure what to do about a problem, I have prayed and found a solution. I found at church that they pray about other nations too; this was very interesting for me.
Q. What has changed in your life since then?
Mark: I still have problems, but I have comfort even though I struggle. I still struggle with sin too, although I’m trying to be better. Even though now I try to avoid sin, I still fall sometimes. But I know I am forgiven and have eternal life, because of Jesus my Saviour.
Q. What does Jesus mean to you?
Mark: I once just knew of him as a prophet; now I know him as Saviour. Because of Jesus Christ, I can now pray to God and I know he hears me.