Getting Bibles to believers in Iran takes many miracles. It is a far cry from loading a truck and just driving it across the border to waiting churches.
The churches in Iran are very different from most of ours. Believers meet secretly in homes as small groups, sometimes changing locations on a weekly basis. They must operate in a clandestine fashion to avoid persecution by the government.
Delivering Bibles to believers in Iran is one of our most important projects at World Compassion. It’s also one of the most difficult to execute. Since the distribution of the Bible is illegal in Iran, World Compassion must “color outside the lines” to complete this mission time after time.
There are multiple ways to get Bibles to believers in Iran, and for security reasons we choose not to disclose our exact processes, size or times for deliveries. In this article, we will paint a picture of the challenges associated with completing the mission.
Many Bibles are printed inside of countries where Bible distribution is illegal. Not unlike America, money talks. There are times when, for the right price, a local printing company may be willing to take a risk and print a few thousand Bibles. This of course must be planned methodically. Their employees can’t grasp what is taking place, otherwise they may turn in the company to local authorities believing it’s the right thing to do. Printing must be done off hours and with a skeleton crew.
Transporting Bibles from the printer to local house churches is not easy. It is imperative to protect house church leaders, therefore “middlemen” are often used to collect and drop the Bibles at a designated location, where they can later be collected by pastors. Or a specific meeting point is arranged. All of this takes time, and personnel inside the country to help coordinate all of the moving parts. Remember, a delivery is not usually to a single church location or leader, deliveries must be made to many small house churches sometimes in different regions of the country. Time and travel factor in as well.
Other alternatives include smuggling Bibles into a closed nation. Smuggling has taken place for years, and at times Christians utilize the “underground” to accomplish their objectives as well. Smuggling from a foreign country takes a high amount of coordination between various middle men who have designated pick up and drop off points and times.
One must have the proper contacts and clearances at border crossings that will allow a blind eye to be turned. This takes a special relationship either with a believer who works at a border crossing, or a guard who is looking to make some extra cash.
In the end, it takes many months to plan and execute a Bible shipment to believers in Iran. Many people risk their lives to get the job done. We know you work hard to earn the money you donate to World Compassion for Bibles in Iran, and we’re thankful for your sacrifices to make this all happen.