by Jordan Hilger, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) - Twenty Iranians recently flew out of Tehran to get baptized in a secret location outside of the Islamic Republic.
"Most of the people at this gathering are artists, musicians, some are TV producers, they are very educated people, they are specialists from different fields of Iranian society," Iranian Pastor Amir, who has escaped persecution by living abroad, told CBN news.
The crowd, which included young and old, single and married Iranians from different sectors of society, gathered at an indoor swimming pool to consecrate their lives to Jesus in an Islamist legal system where conversion from Islam could merit death.
"I was waiting for this day for a long time," Reza, a former rapist who was severely abused as a child, said. "My heart was beating so fast with excitement."
The severe theology of Islam had made Reza fear divine punishment without any hope of salvation from his sin.
"I was expecting to be in hell as punishment for all the things I had done," he explained. "Instead, God forgave me."
Many of the new Christians, all of whom were converts from Islam, were drawn to Jesus by Mohabat TV, an Iranian outlet that is evangelizing the disenchanted Muslim masses and then teaching them to foster house churches as secret believers.
"It's one of the greatest resources we can offer the church inside Iran, a church that doesn't have any access to any educational institutions, any theological schools, any church buildings, established Christian institutions," said Pastor Sasan, who co-hosts a popular show on Mohabat.
One phone counselor for Mohabat spoke of the widespread discontent among Iranians toward the crumbling Islamist regime.
"People blame the regime for all their problems because they know the country is wealthy, we have oil and other riches, but the government doesn't care about people's suffering and they are fed up," she said.
Open Doors USA estimates that there are now 800,00 secret Christians in Iran, almost double the number there were in 2016.