"What does your church teach about forgiveness?"
Jonathan Beatham and his wife Laura are Mission Partners of St George’s, reaching out to Farsi speakers. Jonathan shares this moving story with us…
"I praise the Lord that the gospel could be proclaimed so clearly in court..."
“I was recently asked by a member of the Farsi Network to attend court to testify to the genuineness of their faith in Jesus. An Iranian can be granted asylum in the UK if it can be proven - as far as humanly possible - that firstly, they have genuinely converted from Islam to Christianity and secondly, if they were made to return to Iran they would not be able to keep such a conversion secret and would consequently be persecuted. I strongly believed that this individual had truly come to faith and was sharing his faith with others, and so having talked with his solicitor I agreed to go to court for him.”
“I arrived at the court and met up with the man, and we talked and prayed together. His prayers were so moving, so full of child-like dependence on the Lord. Then the case began and I sat outside. Soon I was called in. There was the judge, the defence lawyer, the Home Office representative, the man himself and a translator.”
"Wow, I thought. I tried my best to share, before these men and women, God's way of forgiveness through Jesus' death on the cross."
“I was asked to confirm that I thought the man was a true believer. Then the defence lawyer asked me something unexpected: ‘What does your church teach about forgiveness?’ Wow, I thought. I tried my best to share, before these men and women, God's way of forgiveness through Jesus' death on the cross. Soon, the Home Office representative said to me, ‘Did you know what [the man] has done in his life?’; he then described something that it seems he thought would shock me. He went on, ‘Does this change your view of [the man]?’ I had to think for a while... ‘Yes, it does’ but I finally replied, ‘it doesn't affect my view of his faith.’”
"...he had found true forgiveness there."
“The proceedings continued to their conclusion, and the defence lawyer made his final statement of how, for whatever other reasons [the man] had come to church, he had found true forgiveness there.”
“So I praise the Lord that the gospel could be proclaimed so clearly in court through this man's life! And the outcome of the case? He has now been granted 5 years leave to remain!”