“Love Could Not Be Found in Allah”
By Steven Vanderhill
Hamid Hatami

When Iranian computer software engineer Hamid Hatami saw the message, “God is love,” in an internet chatroom, he became curious. Raised in a devout Muslim family, Hamid was reeling from the turmoil of the Iranian revolution, the execution of some of his family, and a devastating motorcycle accident that shattered his hopes for a professional soccer career. 

Hamid wondered, “How can God be love? I’ve never seen love in God. In Islam, love could not be found in Allah.”

Following his curiosity, Hamid began chatting online with Christians who shared the story of Jesus and their Christian faith: the reality of sin that separates humans from God and the need for salvation. Hamid found a PDF version of the Bible in Farsi, the language of Iran, and immersed himself in the Bible, starting in Genesis.  

After months of intense study and desperation, Hamid cried out to God, “If you truly exist — whether as Allah or the God of the Bible — please guide me. If Jesus or Mohammad are real, I need a sign! I’m lost and confused.”

As Hamid prayed and walked around his hometown of Mashhad, which means “the resting place of a martyr who gave his life for the cause of God,” his eyes fell upon a large sign at a Presbyterian church: “Jesus said: I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through Me.” In that moment, Hamid’s confusion melted away and was replaced by a sense of peace and the deep conviction that he had found the truth in Jesus Christ.

After a friend gave Hamid a Bible, he devoured the gospels, each page fueling a deeper thirst for Christ, His teachings, and His call to deny oneself, take up one’s cross, and follow Him.  Hamid’s newfound faith filled him with excitement to share what he was learning with friends, neighbors, and university classmates. 

News of Hamid’s conversion spread quickly throughout his family, who threatened and rejected him according to Sharia law. They cut off financial support for his education and forced him into months of homelessness. Yet the Lord sustained Hamid through these difficulties, and he continued to evangelize among Farsi speakers.

Hamid’s eyes fell upon a sign at a Presbyterian church: “Jesus said: I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through Me.” In that moment, Hamid’s confusion melted away. 

When a family member threatened to alert the Iranian police to Hamid’s clandestine gatherings with local believers, he began training to run across the city, far from home, in order to elude pursuers and join distant Sunday gatherings of believers. Two years later, Hamid met his first Iranian pastor, Ramtin Soudmand, who was the son of a pastor martyred in 1990 under Sharia law.  

Pastor Ramtin welcomed Hamid into an underground Presbyterian church which nurtured Hamid in the Reformed faith as expressed in the Westminster Standards. Hamid was profoundly moved by the testimony of Pastor Ramtin’s father, who under threat of death declared, “I cannot desert the church God entrusted to me. Should they kill me, I will stay, even if only one sheep remains.”  That testimony transformed Hamid’s Christian worldview; he told Pastor Ramtin he had decided to become a servant of the Lord, a minister, and a pastor. It was wonderful news, Pastor Ramtin said. “We will pray about this. If this is God’s calling for you, the way will open, and you will be ordained.”

Hamid Hatami offers the benediction at his ordination service.

With help from Pastor Ramtin, Hamid dedicated his software engineering skills to addressing the scarcity of Bibles. Reflecting on his motorcycle accident and injury, Hamid saw God’s purpose in redirecting him into software engineering as a way to equip him for creating Bible software and making God’s Word accessible to many people. 

Since there was no public access to the Farsi Bible translation in a database format, Hamid created a software program and typed the whole Bible in Farsi, verse by verse, to create a digitized Bible database program originally named “Mehr” but later renamed to “Mojde” which means “good news” in Farsi. Since it was first distributed in 2006, over 275,000 copies of the Mojde Bible software have now been distributed through CDs and downloads.

While the Lord had allowed Hamid to work on the software project for a year following his engineering education, the Iranian government requirement of mandatory military service caught up with him, and he was drafted into military training and IT department service. As the only Christian among his unit of 4,000 soldiers, he was harshly treated, suspected of being a Western spy, branded a traitor, and beaten. 

Though threatened with assignment to the front lines of conflict with the Taliban and smugglers, Hamid was instead sent to complete his military service in his hometown where he again found fellowship with other Christians.

After a raid on Christian homes, Hamid’s Bible software project was discovered. The Iranian police were soon in pursuit of Hamid; Pastor Ramtin told him to flee. Hamid found refuge in Tehran with Ramtin and remained with him for nearly three years, transferring his church membership from a small underground home church in Mashhad to St. Peter Presbyterian Church in Tehran.  

On February 11, 2024, Hamid Hatami was ordained as a teaching elder in a service at Town North Presbyterian Church.

Hamid was hired by the Synod of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Iran where he studied in one the most extensive Reformed theological libraries in the Middle East. The library was brought to Iran by the American Board of Commissioners of Foreign Missions beginning in 1834. Reviewing the old minutes and dockets of the Iranian presbytery inspired Hamid to pursue gospel ministry to reach out to Farsi speakers and Muslims. Hamid says, “Many of those who left the USA and came to Iran to share Christ with us never saw the fruit of their labor, but we know that in the Lord, their labor was not in vain, for I am one of the fruits of their labor.”

When the Iranian government launched a new wave of intense persecution of Christians, Hamid was cut off from the resources he needed to work on the Farsi Bible software. To continue, Hamid and his wife Eli fled to Turkey as refugees; two years later, they moved to Dallas, Texas, to minister among its large community of Farsi speakers.

In Dallas, Hamid and Eli began a Bible study in their home, inviting Farsi speakers to study and grow in God’s Word. Hamid and Eli began attending Park Cities Presbyterian Church where Hamid was introduced to PCA Teaching Elder Imad Aubrey, an Arabic speaker and native of Lebanon, who encouraged Hamid to begin M.Div. studies at Redeemer Seminary. Hamid completed his studies through Reformed Theological Seminary in 2022. After seminary, Hamid served as a pastoral apprentice at Town North Presbyterian Church in Richardson, Texas.

Hamid has dedicated himself “to make the Scriptures accessible to Farsi speakers with this mission: to preach the gospel and teach the truths upon which our Reformed faith stands strong.”  Hamid and Imad now labor together in leading Middle East Heritage Reformed (MEHR) Ministries, a Reformed ministry training and equipping servants of Christ to plant biblically faithful churches throughout the Middle East and partnering with both Thirdmill Ministries and Ligonier Ministries to provide biblical resources to Iranian believers globally, particularly the persecuted church in Iran. Hamid also serves on the advisory board of the MNA Refugee and Immigrant Ministry and continues to collaborate with MTW missionaries to the Farsi-speaking world. 

On February 11, 2024, Hamid Hatami was ordained as a teaching elder in a service at Town North Presbyterian Church. Through the Lord’s providential timing and provision to open the way for his international travel, Pastor Ramtin was able to participate in Hamid’s ordination service along with Bryan Chapell and teaching and ruling elders of North Texas Presbytery.  From Mashhad to MEHR, Hamid now preaches and publishes the good news of the Son of Man who came to give His life as a ransom for many “for the cause of God.”

For more information about MEHR Ministries, please visit www.mehrministries.org


Steven Vanderhill is a ruling elder at Park Cities Presbyterian Church and Stated Clerk of North Texas Presbytery.

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