In what may very well be a first for the Island, an Iranian is due to preach in Stornoway this weekend.
Pooyan Mehrshahi spent the first 13 years of his life in Iran, until his father moved to Sheffield to continue his studies.
Although his family were Zoroastrians, following the ancient dualistic religion of the Persians, this was not displayed openly and thus during that time he received the usual Muslim education, including memorising parts of Koran.
Whilst completing his school education he came to realise the difference between a works based religion and the Gospel of grace and was converted to Christianity.
This was no easy thing, as his family were initially very un-receptive to his new-found faith.
For the last nine years Mr Mehrshahi has been a Minister of the Gospel in Cheltenham.
During this time he has been engaged in both open air preaching at home and radio broadcasting ministry in Farsi to his fellow Iranians.
This latter work has been richly blessed by the Lord.
In addition to being involved in helping the Trinitarian Bible Society in their revision of the Farsi Bible, he is involved with translating Christian literature into Farsi, including the Confession of Faith and Shorter Catechism.
Speaking of his love for the Bible, Mr Mehrshahi pointed out that the Babylonian King, Nebuchadnezzar, and the Persian kings that followed him were essentially Zoroastrians.
For them, god could be worshipped in various forms. This ancient religion was also influential amongst the Greeks and Romans and many of its false ideas found their way into the heresies which were combated in Paul’s letter to the Colossians and John’s writings. Indeed, the remains of the palace of Shushan, mentioned in the Book of Esther, are to be seen in Iran today.
Mr Mehrshahi is married to a Yorkshire girl and they have four children.
He is due to preach at special evangelistic services being held in Stornoway Free Church (Continuing) this weekend - Friday and Saturday at 7.30pm and Sabbath at 11am & 6pm.
He will also give a word of testimony and speak of his work after the evening service on Sabbath.
Rev. Graeme Craig, Minister of the Stornoway congregation, commented: “We are looking forward to hearing our young friend preach God’s word.
“His background gives him clear insights into various parts of Scripture and we trust the Lord will bless his truth.
“Mr Mehrshahi rejected both Islam and an ancient fore-runner of the modern day new-age movement to embrace the Gospel of Christ.
“It is our hope that many will discover the truth of salvation by Jesus Christ.”
A warm invitation is extended to all.