Although many Farsi speakers are spiritually hungry, they struggle to find a safe space for asking questions about God. TWR is finding ways to break the silence.
Imagine not feeling safe to talk about your newfound faith in public. That’s the reality for many believers across the Persian-speaking world who live in places where it’s dangerous to be a Christian.
Spoken by millions of people worldwide, Farsi (also referred to as Persian) is a wide-reaching language. It’s the language of the people of Iran, an official language in Afghanistan and Tajikistan, and Farsi-speakers span the globe from Türkiye all the way to Canada.
Religious and political volatility in regions where Farsi is the official language makes ministry both challenging and rewarding.
TWR (Trans World Radio) uses media to overcome barriers that hinder the gospel from being heard among Farsi speakers. Although it’s difficult work, TWR’s dynamic team is finding creative ways to dialogue with those who are searching for spiritual answers or hungry for spiritual nourishment.
This is done through a mix of platforms: radio, podcasts, online streaming, and even the metaverse. And TWR’s Farsi programs are written or contextualized by indigenous Farsi speakers who understand the complexity of the culture they’re reaching.
TWR’s Farsi ministry director is excited about the variety of ways media can penetrate religious barriers. Because the majority of Farsi speakers adhere to Islam, much of TWR’s Farsi content is designed for a Muslim audience.
A prime example is The Way of Righteousness, a program now available on Apple Music and Spotify in Farsi. Through Old Testament stories, each of the 100 episodes teach that Jesus is more than just a prophet.
The launch of Persian World Radio was a significant step forward for TWR’s Farsi ministry. In Iran, the printing and distribution of Bibles in Farsi is strictly prohibited, yet a high number of Iranians are leaving Islam and searching for truth.
When TWR’s Farsi ministry director looked at statistics following the radio station’s launch, he found that 50-62 percent of listeners are based in Iran.
Much of the program content is about finding our identity in Christ. “When you share how Jesus related to women in the Bible, it gives Iranian women so much hope because they don’t have any rights or identity in Islam,” said the ministry director.
Through interactive Christian media platforms, women have a chance to discuss topics that are considered taboo in Iran. Questions such as “What is your relationship with your daughter?” or “How has your life changed in 40 years?”
Warming Hearts is a 2–5-minute radio program based on the principle of comforting others with the comfort we’ve received from God (2 Corinthians 1:3-5). Over 200 scripts have already been produced, and the number is growing.
TWR’s Farsi ministry director recognizes the importance of music in the Bible. Preparation for a program titled Worship and the Bible began in 2022. Episodes will use specific examples from Scripture to show that worship is a vital part of walking with God.
Notable progress was made last year in teaching 23 young Iranian students how to record and mix Christian music that is then aired on Persian World Radio. The goal is to begin a 24/7 worship radio broadcast.
But it doesn’t stop with radio.
The team started developing podcasts and streaming programs on platforms such as Apple Music and Spotify, writing new scripts about current events.
Last year the team started researching high-definition audio for their podcasts which allows for a more immersive listening experience, and they hope to produce HD audio programs soon.
In December 2022, the Farsi ministry team initiated metaverse development. The metaverse, a virtual world accessible by way of virtual and augmented reality headsets, has opened new possibilities for sharing Christ.
Many Farsi speakers go to the metaverse to play VR games, look for jobs, attend events, earn money, and interact with others. Because they have an avatar rather than revealing their true identities, they can safely ask questions about Jesus without the risk of persecution.
Through these interactions, some Farsi speakers are finding out about Jesus for the first time. And TWR’s Farsi ministry team is sharing the hope of the gospel in the metaverse, where many are searching for answers.
Find out more about TWR’s regional projects here.
“I was a very aggressive person, but after listening to your programs, I gave my life to God and started reading the Bible. I became a much calmer person, and my parents became believers too.” — From a 27-year-old listener
Jade Alger, writer and communication specialist for TWR Europe and CAMENA.