Dan Baumann is a Christian who was wrongfully imprisoned in Iran for 9 weeks on false charges of espionage.
He came to church (Church on the Rock) last week and shared his incredible story with us. You can read my review of his message here or just skip down to the bottom and watch the videos.
Dan is with YWAM (Youth With A Mission) and had ministered in Afghanistan for several years before his imprisonment. One spring break he and his friend prayed about what they should do during their break. They both heard , “go to Iran.” So they went to Iran for two weeks.
He said the Iranians they met were very receptive to the gospel and many people were saved. After two weeks of fruitful ministry they prepared to leave the country. But as they went through customs their passports were taken with no explanation given. Dan and his friend were told they had to go to a building in Tehran in a few days to retrieve their passports.
After a few days they went to Tehran as instructed. He said up until this point they were not told why their passports were being held. They arrived at the building and introduced themselves. The people were nice at first but once they found out who they were they split up he and his friend and immediately started to beat them.
They were beaten for hours on end and then Dan said he was blindfolded, drug down the stairs and driven to another building where they continued to beat him. They threw him in a small prison cell, and still nobody gave him an explanation.
He shared some powerful stories about God’s goodness in the midst of all this. My favorite story was about his interrogator. This man would beat him every day and one day God challenged Dan to love him. God showed him how much He loved this man and so Dan decided to try and befriend him.
One day Dan went in for his daily beating but this time he stuck out his hand and said, “sir, if I’m going to see you for the rest of my life every day, why don’t we become friends?” At first the man said this would be impossible but as Dan continued to stand there with his outstretched hand, the man started to weep and said, “my name is Rizak, and I would love to be your friend!”
Isn’t that amazing?
There were two things that Dan said that really spoke to me. The first is this, “there is no fear so great that it can keep you from obeying God.” He shared about when he finally went to court and was officially accused of being a spy (espionage). The judge asked him, “why did you come to Iran?”
Dan said that he was shaking with fear but still managed to reply, “I came to Iran to tell you about Jesus!” He then proceeded to share the gospel for the next 20-30 minutes!
Dan also said, “the safest place to be in the world is in the middle of God’s will.” Now some might beg to differ, especially after hearing Dan’s story about being beat and wrongfully imprisoned. But God’s idea of safety and risk might be a little different then our idea. I’ve heard this saying before but for some reason it really struck a cord with me when he said it.
I have been challenged by what Christ has done through Dan and its caused me to seek God’s will for my life even more. I hope it will do the same for you.
If you would like to hear Dan tell his amazing story you can watch the two videos right here:
Imprisoned in Iran Part 1