Following Christ isn’t always easy. And sometimes it can be deadly. Saviz Kasray was born to a Muslim family in Iran. As a youngster, she had a hard time finding God within the restrictive Islamic rules of worship. Then at age 8, she began to have dreams about Jesus.

Years went by, and at age 19 she came across a Christian Church that provided worship in Farsi. “The moment I walked in, the holy spirit took me over. For the first time I felt God,” Saviz recalls. “This woman approached me and said, ‘Jesus told me to come to you and to tell you that you are his child and you need to repent and give your life to him.’”  Saviz accepted Christ’s invitation and began attending services and studying the Bible, dangerous pursuits in Iran. But Saviz remained faithful, even as Christian friends and acquaintances began to disappear and two church pastors were tortured and murdered. Saviz was baptized in secret.

Then one day her mother warned Saviz had been betrayed. So she went into hiding and enlisted smugglers to help her escape Iran. Saviz eventually arrived in Austria, but the smugglers took her passport, money and belongings. She arrived at a refugee camp with nothing, enduring crowded and dangerous conditions with the help of her faith and Oasis International, a Christian refugee aid organization. She persevered. “As the Bible says, when you are being persecuted, he will give you power to go on. His will be done,” Saviz said.

God’s will eventually brought Saviz to Half Moon Bay, where 11 years ago she opened a clothing boutique with very few resources. Saviz loves fashion and her store, but God recently came to her in a vision and asked her to close shop and devote herself full time to Christian ministry.

She resisted at first.  “The next day I cried. I was very disappointed in myself. I went to the store so sad,” Saviz said. But Jesus approached her again and her heart began to soften.

“I went to my knees,” Saviz said. “I said, ‘I’m going to follow you. Tell me where you want me to go.’”

As she continues to pray and listen in order to discern the details of the ministry, she is preparing to close shop on May 31 to prepare for the next step in her faith walk. “I just want to please God.”

By Dan Page, Volunteer Storyteller