I Wanted Another Opportunity To Bury My Past Life

John Habibpour

  • FROM Tehran, IR

  • NOW Richmond, VA

I was raised in a small city north of Iran with one brother and four sisters. My mom and dad were both Muslim, so we participated in ceremonies for Islam’s special days in our home. I couldn’t stand those religious ceremonies, and most of the time I exited the city to stay far from the events. During this time, I looked for the Lord, but I couldn’t see His face.

Throughout this time, there were many signs of Him that I couldn’t understand; instead, I became proud of myself: my education achievements and experiences, and I missed opportunities that He clearly provided me.

I continued down this path until I eventually I lost my financial earnings. Suddenly, I remembered God, and on that night, instead of asking for help, I blamed Him for all my troubles. My wife and I spoke to Him with profanity; we told Him that He is the rich people’s God. The next morning, our day began worse than ever, so my wife suggested we attend the Christian church where we had once been invited. When we arrived at the church, they treated us like family, which we were not prepared for. Upon arriving, my wife headed straight for the balcony, and I sat down on the floor because we did not intend to see each other’s emotions.

We were sitting with a sense of shame listening to the preaching. I felt that God was speaking to me, though; He told me how happy He was that I returned to Him. God brought to light the story of the shepherd and the lost sheep proving to me that even if I wanted to be lost like that playful sheep, He would still look for me and find me. I couldn’t push Him away anymore.

I remember that when the service was over, I could not control myself, and I kneeled asking forgiveness and a new birth. I wanted another opportunity to bury my past life. He heard my voice and welcomed me with open arms, despite how many times I pushed Him away.

Years later and now living in the states, I was baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I am so grateful that God washes us clean, and I want to proclaim that to the world!

John Habibpour is an Iranian refugee who escaped to Richmond, VA, in 2017. He is an industrial designer currently working as a CNC programmer. John is also a fine artist, a former Judo, and a musician of Setar Iranian traditional instrument (and is looking to start again). Born with the name Reza, he grew to discover that Islam could not answer some of his questions. After a determined pastor taught him about the Bible for two years, he became a Christian and changed his name to John.