(MNN) — 29 years ago today, British special forces ended a siege in the Iranian
embassy in London,
where six Iranian gunmen who opposed the regime of Ayatollah Khomeini were
holding 19 people hostage.
Today, many Iranians have become disillusioned with Islam
because of Khomeini's revolution, says Sammy Tippit of Sammy Tippit
Ministries. A pastor who works with
Iranian refugees told him "they've seen what Islam really is, and they're
When Iranians come to England, they often come looking
for a better way to live. "They're
coming with the idea that this is a Christian nation." Tippit explained. "I don't think the Christian church in
western Europe has caught this fully… But they come with an expectancy of wanting
to see what Christianity is all about."
Unfortunately, since many Western nations such as England really
are not Christian, Muslim refugees often become disillusioned with
Christianity. However, Christians who do
live in the West have the opportunity to minister to refugees and share the
Gospel with them.
Tippit recently had the opportunity to minister to crowds of
Iranian refugees in England. He preached a conference in a rented
schoolhouse in Nottingham and an Easter service at the Iranian Christian
Church in London.
In Nottingham, "most of
them were believers; but quite a number of them were not believers," Tippit
said. "I preached, and God just
moved in a mighty way. There were about
25 Muslims who came to Christ; there were many, many Christians who recommitted
their lives to Christ; and it was just a wonderful, wonderful experience." Refugees in London responded to the Easter service in a
Two developments in the refugee ministry encouraged Tippit. The first was the influence of STM's
television broadcasts among Iranian refugees in England.
One Christian refugee had asked Tippit to preach to the
Iranians while he was in the country for other ministry opportunities. The word about the coming event in Nottingham
spread rapidly through Sammy Tippit Ministries' Mohabat television broadcast,
which broadcasts in Europe as well as Iran. The resulting turnout surprised Tippit.
"I couldn't believe it," he said. "I thought I'd be talking to just a handful
of people, and the place was packed with Iranians." STM knew that its television broadcasts
reached western Europe as well as Iran,
but hadn't realized how much Iranian refugees in England were watching the
Through the event at the schoolhouse, the ministry learned
that "there's some opportunities that we have to reach people that we may have
not thought about previously," Tippit said.
"Our television broadcast is having a much broader ministry
and much deeper ministry than I had ever anticipated."
Tippit was also encouraged to realize that "the immigrant
community into western Europe is really hungry and open to the Gospel of Jesus
Christ," he said. "People in that
situation are struggling; they're going through a major change in their life,
and they're searching for something."
Those who came to know the Lord through Tippit's ministry
will be connected to churches and Christian communities. Many of them came with friends who were
Christians or who watched the television program. Pastors also attended the events.
"All of those people were matched up with churches," Tippit
said. "It's a relationship-type
follow-up where they will then get them involved in local churches, and
those local churches will help them to grow in Christ and get established in
Tippit believes that ministry to Iranian refugees has the
potential to have a huge impact around the world. Refugees still have connections with their
home countries and have the ability to minister to their fellow Iranians "far
better than I can," he said.
"If the church could rise up and really be a light, both in
North America and Western Europe, to the new wave of immigrants that are coming
in, I believe that we could see a great revival that would affect not only our
nations but also back into those nations in the Middle East," Tippit said.