Her father faced a chilling ultimatum from Iran’s religious police. Close the house church that met in their basement and deny the Christian faith -- or be killed. He had two weeks to consider the authorities’ life or death demand.
“The government tried to stop the church,” says Rashin Soodmand, daughter of Rev. Hossein Soodmand. As a child growing up in a Muslim family in Iran, his parents taught him not to talk to Jews or Christians, because they were considered unclean.
When he was seven-years-old, he threw a stone and broke a Christian woman’s water bucket. As soon as he saw it break, he turned to run, but tripped over a large stone, crashed on the ground, and blood began to ooze out of his knee.
Then he saw the Christian woman move towards him and fear gripped his heart. There was no escape. He had thrown the stones. He deserved the punishment. Now her shadow loomed over him and he expected her to strike in anger.
But something astonishing happened. Instead of angry blows, her hand reached down and helped him to his feet and the ‘unclean’ Christian woman cleaned his wound. Then she gave him some sweets. He had shown hate, but she responded with uncommon love. He never forgot this unusual display of mercy and grace.
Years later, during Hossein’s two-year military service, he got very sick and had to go to the hospital. An Armenian Christian friend came to see him and left him a cross as a parting gift. That night Hossein had a vivid dream about Jesus Christ. Jesus gave the young man something to eat. The next morning, Hossein woke up sweating and realized Jesus had touched him and brought healing to his body.