Annahita Parsan has been through it all. From fleeing Iran as a Muslim refugee to becoming an ordained Christian minister in Sweden (and loads in between), God's been so faithful to her. In Sweden, she now ministers primarily to Muslims even at the risk of her own life.
Fox News wrote out the story of her life yesterday, and it's absolutely inspirational. They comment, "Annahita Parsan’s story is the stuff of a Hollywood movie."
The now 47-year-old Parsan grew up in Isfahan, Iran in a Muslim home. She was married at the age of 16. In 1979, just after Iran's Islamic Revolution, Parsan gave birth to her son, Daniel.
At just 18-years-old Parsan suddenly lost her husband in a car accident. To make matters worse, under the leadership of Ayatollah Khomeini, Iran had changed. The law now required to she surrender custody of her young son, Daniel, to her husband's father. She fought for months to get him back, and she succeeded.
Two years later, Parsan remarried. She commented in her interview with Fox News, "His situation was like mine; his wife had died."
However, things took a turn for the worse. “Soon, he began beating my son very badly," Parsan recalled. "I was pregnant again, and it was impossible for me to divorce.”
In the midst of the Iran-Iraq war, Annahita's husband, Ashgar, decided they needed to flee the country. While she was still pregnant, and in the dead of winter, they crossed the mountains into Turkey.
"Without identification papers or passports, Turkish authorities tossed Parsan and her husband into a terrifying prison in the country’s Agri district for illegal entry. However, after a harrowing month, they were released and traveled to Istanbul. There they spent nine months scrounging for enough funds to make it to Denmark," Fox News reports.
Things soon began to change. “In about the first or second month there, a woman came to the door to speak about God. But it was not in my interest,” Parsan said. “I was so angry, I was so unhappy. But she came back the next day with a small Bible, so this time I asked Jesus to help me.”
Over the next year, as she read that Bible in Denmark, an act she kept hidden from her explosive husband, she began to experience God, asking Him questions and receiving peace in return. She comments, "It was magic."
"But the calm and peace did not last," the report continues. Following an "especially brutal outburst" from her husband, Annahita overdosed on sleeping pills in an attempt to end her life in December 1989.
The next day, she woke up in the hospital. According to Fox, "Her survival itself a virtual miracle."
“I was too scared to go home and the police came to the hospital to talk to me. Many people were helping me find a safe place to live, and I knew it was Jesus,” Parsan told Fox News. “And soon, the police called to tell me that they had uncovered a plot in which my abusive husband had planned to kidnap the children back to Iran. After that, we moved to Sweden, and the policeman told me that I have an angel on my shoulder.”
Without her husband, Parsan and her children lived in peace in Sweden. She was baptized as a Christian two years after arriving. In 2006, she was in a car accident that nearly killed her. At this point felt the unction to spend her life helping other Muslims come to know Jesus. She then studied to become a pastor and was ordained in 2012 in the Church of Sweden.
She now leads congregations of Muslim backgrounds, evangelized to Muslims, and trains others to do the same.
“Sometimes they come to the church because they are curious. Sometimes they are asylum seekers and sometimes they are just visiting from places like Iran and Afghanistan, so they secretly get baptized and then they go back," Parsan commented to Fox.
"I have serious threats at least a couple of times per year, a threat of a knife attack or a bomb attack," she adds. "I have a police officer attached to my case I can always call, and we have security during our services. I have other threats from my own distant family members... But for me, what I do is worth it."
Annahita Parsan says that since her ordination, she has been catalyst in over 1,500 Muslims converting to Christianity.
Parsan attaches this to her story, "I hope people out there who have lost their faith, will maybe hear my story and be inspired to come back."