When My Iranian Friend Took Mohler’s Parking Spot

When My Iranian Friend Took Mohler’s Parking Spot

Written by A.W. Workman |
Saturday, January 7, 2023

Reza arrived, looking relieved and a little winded. We all had a good laugh as he described what happened. “I just followed the address on the GPS and it took me right there! I didn’t know that was the president’s special spot!”  “But Reza, why did you run from the campus police?” “I’m a Middle-Easterner and an Iranian! When the police are coming after us, we have learned to run!” To be fair, Reza’s father had been imprisoned in Iran and Reza had himself to flee the country while still in high school.

The year before I got married was the only time I lived on campus at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary during my studies there. Two single men from my church had an opening for a roommate, and it proved to be a great opportunity for fellowship as well as saving some money for marriage.

At the time, a group of us were attempting to get a Bible study going among Iranian refugees in Louisville. My roommates agreed that we could host the first one. The only problem was that the individual buildings on campus didn’t have separate addresses. This meant that we could only give the main campus address to our Iranian friends for them to navigate their way there. The plan was for them to call us once they arrived somewhere on campus and for us to direct them to our hall.

I was excited for this Bible study to begin, and while we waited I prepped some chai in the coffee maker and fried up some chicken. Soon, a couple of the attendees arrived. We waited to get started until another new friend, Reza*, had arrived. He seemed to be taking longer than he should. Maybe he had gotten lost?

My cell phone rang from a number I didn’t recognize.


“Hi, this is campus po-lees,” began the thick Kentucky accent. “Are you A.W.?”

“I am. Is everything OK?” I replied, suddenly nervous.

“Well… I got an Eye-rain-eeun here who says he’s comin’ to your place, but I caught him parkin’ in the president’s parking spot.”

I bit my lip so as not to laugh. Anyone who’s been around SBTS knows that the campus police and staff are very serious about guarding Dr. Mohler’s official spaces, parking or otherwise.

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