Nasim has been part of our HR team since 2018. She comes from an Iranian background and tells us how she came to meet Jesus and to work with us
I was born in Iran in 1972 in a strict Muslim area to Muslim parents. I have been deaf since birth so I went to a school for deaf children and learnt Farsi Sign Language. I really enjoyed school and had lots of friends.
Growing up I played a lot of table tennis. My dad played and so I watched him and joined in too. I used to take part in table tennis competitions. I was part of a deaf table tennis club but we would play against hearing teams in matches both at home and away.
I got married and in 2001 my then husband and I decided to come to the UK. We lived in Croydon. I had lots of Iranian friends who were here already and I also connected with the table tennis community. I found it easy to settle in.
Through friends who were deaf, I learnt British Sign Language. It is very different from Farsi Sign Language. In British Sign Language it’s all about your hands whereas in Farsi it is about your face, hands and chest.
My daughter Setayesh was born in 2003. Like me, she was born deaf.
One day a friend asked me to go to church and I said “no”. I thought, “I’m happy being a Muslim.” But inside I felt unrest. When she asked me again later I decided to go. I really didn’t like what they said. They were telling me that there is God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. I had learnt that God is just one and I felt anger burning inside me like a fire.
I asked God, “What is the truth? Should I be a Christian or a Muslim?” I didn’t feel that God gave me any answer. A deaf man from church asked if I had asked for forgiveness for my sins. I said I hadn’t as I didn’t have any sins. He said I should take time to contemplate privately. I found that when I looked inside I did have sins that I wished to ask forgiveness for. I did this in solitude. God answered me and inside I felt a sense of peace.
However, I was still unsure if I had been saved. The evidence came a week later when my husband asked if I had become a Christian and I said, “Yes, maybe.” He was very angry. Normally I would have retaliated but because I had this peace inside me I didn’t feel like I had to.
My sister said our father would kill me if I told him I had become a Christian. Matthew 10:28 helped me. It says, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” I thought, even if someone kills my body they cannot kill my soul. My husband and I got divorced due to him not being able to accept my Christian faith.
I began looking for work but as a deaf person it was extremely hard. I’d almost given up and I asked God for help. Three days later, Phil (who works in our HR team) offered me a job – I couldn’t believe it!
To support me, I have an interpreter who is funded by the Government’s Access to Work scheme. I wish more employers were open to employing deaf people. My daughter is studying and has applied for part-time jobs.
Once people find out she is deaf they don’t even interview her. From March 2020 to August 2021 I was on furlough. It was a beautiful time. We did lots of ministry on Zoom for deaf people and those in Iran could join in. So many people in Iran heard the gospel and were saved. If it wasn’t for the pandemic, this would never have happened.
When I’m not at work, I do lots of translation into Farsi Sign Language. This could be translating a church service or a prayer time. I don’t have time for table tennis any more – I would rather use my time to tell people about Jesus.
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