Annahita Parsan’s story is said to be the stuff of miracles.
From fleeing a war-torn Iran to escaping domestic abuse and living her life as a prominent Christian-convert in Sweden, it seems the mother of two wouldn’t want it any other way.
“My life is completely different since coming to Jesus,” she told Fox News, though she admitted her journey was anything but easy.
Her long road to self-discovery begins at 16 when she had been married, where she soon after gave birth to a boy, Daniel in 1979 — just after Iran’s Islamic Revolution.
But as the country’s power shifted under Ayatollah Khomeini, so too would Parsan’s personal life shift as her husband tragically died in a car accident when she was just 18 years-old.
It was at this time the young mother was forced — per law — to surrender custody of her son to her father-in-law, though after several months she had successfully fought to get him back.
“After two years, I decided to marry again,” Parsan admitted, describing her encounter with her soon-to-be husband, Ashgar. “His situation was like mine; his wife had died.”
“But soon, he began beating my son very badly … I was pregnant again, and it was impossible for me to divorce,” she added.
As the Iran-Iraq war picked up momentum and Parsan’s due-date grew closer, Ashgar decided to take his family and flee to Turkey in the dead of winter — all without identification papers or even a passport.
After crossing the frozen mountains and being caught by Turkish authorities, Parsan and her husband were thrown into prison for illegal entry, not regaining their freedom for nearly a month.
Soon after their release, the family traveled to Istanbul, where they spent their time scrounging for enough money to travel to Denmark, the eventual Scandinavian destination which would change her life forever, according to Fox.
“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.”
So, in secret, Parsan began to read the Bible over the next year, where she eventually garnered the strength to ask God for answers to her questions. Upon her prayer, Parsan recalls immediately feeling a sense of calm and peace like she had never before experienced.
“It was magic,” she said. Though by Christmas of 1989, that peace would be long-forgotten.
After a particularly brutal outburst from her husband, Parsan took a handful of sleeping pills in an attempt at taking her own life. She woke up in the hospital, attributing — and her journey thereafter –to nothing but a miracle.
“I was too scared to go home and the police came to the hospital to talk to me,” Parsan recalled. “Many people were helping me find a safe place to live, and I knew it was Jesus.”
“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,” she added. “After that, we moved to Sweden, and the policeman told me that I have an angel on my shoulder.”
It was here in Sweden that Parsan was able to nourish her faith and eventually got baptized, but it wasn’t until a car accident in 2006 that the mother of two felt her true calling — to help other Muslims and refugees like herself.
In 2012, after nearly five years of studying, Parsan was ordained as a minister in the Church of Sweden where she is currently the leader of two congregations.
“I work specifically with the Muslim community, many are also Farsi speaking,” Parsan said. “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,” she added.
Over the past five years, her work has added up as she had been an instrumental force in the conversion of more than 1,500 people, though the work comes at a great personal risk.
“I have serious threats at least a couple of times per year, a threat of a knife attack or a bomb attack,” Parsan said, admitting that some of those threats even come from distant family members.
“I have a police officer attached to my case I can always call, and we have security during our services,” she added. “But for me, what I do is worth it.”
And her goal, no matter the threat, seems to always remain the same.
“I hope people out there who have lost their faith, will maybe hear my story and be inspired to come back.”
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