Pastor Ghorbandordi Tourani, Gonbad-e Kavous Iran
Editor’s Note: VOM contacts in Iran have provided additional information about the martyrdom of house-church pastor Ghorbandordi Tourani. They provided VOM with the following report.
One of the cell church leaders in Iran was able to visit Ghorban.s family in Gonbad-e-Kavous early this month. He was not able to visit the family right after Ghorban was killed for security reasons. He was able to learn more information about Ghorban.s martyrdom.
On November 15th, one week before his martyrdom, Ghorban received a phone call from the head of religious leaders of the Turkmen people. This was an invitation to attend a meeting held by the Turkmen religious leaders in order for Ghorban to answer some of their questions.
Ghorban was quite excited about this invitation, as he considered it an opportunity to share with them about Jesus. He attended this meeting and had long discussions with them.
But at the end of their meeting, they told Ghorban, .We are well aware that your ancestors and your parents have been serious followers of Islam and you are supposed to be a committed Muslim too. Why have you turned to Christianity? We give you one more chance to deny your Christian faith and return to Islam..
“I am not going to deny Jesus and return to Islam,” Ghorban responded. Then he left the room, very frustrated.
One week after that meeting, on November 22nd, Ghorban received another phone call at 4:00 p.m.
“Ghorban,” the caller began, “I was present in the meeting held last week and was so much touched by the testimony of your Christian faith. I would love to become a Christian. I don.t want to come to your house so that no one can see me. Can you come to a park in the city so that I can see you and this way you can share with me more about Christianity?”
Ghorban agreed to see this person. He was supposed to meet up with him at 4:30 p.m. that day, but no one turned up. He decided to go back home. On the way home he stopped by a toy shop and bought a toy for his four-year-old daughter.
When he got to the end of the alley where his house was at, he realized that a car was stopped there and three people were sitting in the car. Later it was discovered that they were from a Turkmen sect called Vahabiyoun (a hard-line Islamic group of whom many people are afraid because they are terrorists).
One of the three got out of the car and called Ghorban. When Ghorban got closer to him, he put a knife into his stomach and his intestines poured out on his hand. The second one attacked him by knife at his back. And the third one put the knife in his throat.
After they killed Ghorban in such a terrible way, the men said, .This is the punishment of those who become infidels and reject Islam..
Some of the neighbours witnessed this scene but they refuse to say who killed Ghorban as they are afraid. After the murder, neighbours went to Ghorban.s home and told his wife about the murder of her husband.
His wife came out of the house and saw the dead body of her husband on the ground whilst it was bleeding. She was the first one in the family who witnessed that and started crying aloud. Then people surrounded her and her husband.s dead body. The policemen came to the scene too.
Ghorban’s wife, Afoul Achikeh, told everyone, .O people, remember that Ghorban is a Christian martyr who laid down his life for the sake of Christ.. She repeated the same thing in a loud voice several times.
Even though Achikeh was a Christian before her husband was martyred, since then she has become even more committed to Christ.
“I now have realized how real Jesus and the Christian life was for Ghorban,” she said, .that he was willing to give his life for His sake.. She is now boldly declaring her Christian faith to everyone.
After this event, the secret police took all Ghorban.s family members and the other believers in that city for interrogation. They told them they were interrogating them so that they can identify the murderers of Ghorban. They asked them lots of questions. They also took all the Christian materials (books, videos, bibles, etc.) from his house and other believers. homes. They have not yet returned them. It is not yet clear if the authorities had any part in the murder or not.
When they wanted to bury Ghorban.s body, the religious Turkmen leaders did not give permission for the Christian.s body to be buried near the bodies of Muslims in the Turkmen cemetery, because they considered his body to be unclean.
They also did not agree to perform any religious ceremony for him, and did not give permission to his family to perform any type of religious ceremony for him. Because of Ghorban.s brother.s persistence, the family finally got permission to burry his body in a corner in the cemetery far away from the bodies of the Muslims; he was buried as a rejected person.
Ghorban’s family have been under extreme pressure from his brothers. They keep pushing them to turn back to Islam. But his wife and children have stood firm in their Christian faith and have told them that they will follow Jesus no matter what the cost.
The Christian leader who visited the family offered encouragement to them. When Ghorban.s family realized that there are so many Christians all over the world praying for them, they were greatly encouraged.
The news has now spread amongst Turkmen in that area that Ghorban died because of his Christian faith at the hands of Vahabioun.
Iranian Christians believe that God can use Ghorban’s martyrdom to bring about a great revival among Turkmen people. Pray with them that God will bless the sacrifice of His faithful servant.
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