Following an intense, personal search for truth, Solanti embraced six years ago the eternal salvation Jesus Christ's sacrifice on the cross makes possible. His life has not been the same since.
Now, he's works full-time at Seventh Reformed Church, 950 Leonard St. NW in Grand Rapids where Dr. Tim J. R. Trumper is the senior minister, to do his part in helping to shepherd Muslims living in Iran and elsewhere to accept the good news of the Gospel.
Watered by the Holy Spirit
"Our Lord is sowing seeds and every day He is watering us by the Holy Spirit," said Solanti, 42. "He purchased us and saved us."
Born in Iran and raised a Muslim, Solanti said he would read the Quran, the Islamic sacred book, and although impressed with the prophet Mohammad and the imams' (Muslim leaders) suffering, he eventually could not reconcile aspects of the religion such as holy war (jihad), enslaving women and children, imposing the religion on others by force and giving men the right to marry multiple wives.
"At the age of 16, I began to doubt this God and my prayers since I was still empty and I needed to think," Solanti told of his journey in an interview and in an essay he provided West Michigan Christian News.
"I started to study and research the Quran but as I went further, I faced my questions and contradictions and saw that a lot of the commands were far away from love and human rights."
Soltani's fruitless search for what was true led him on a journey that had several forks in the road. He studied psychology, God "as a form of energy or source of energy," and learned self-induced tranquility through meditation.
It wasn't enough.
"In my mind, I was searching to find some supernatural thing, looking for a miracle and thirsting for truth," said Soltani.
Receives New Testament in Farsi
It was a woman who gave Solanti a copy of the New Testament in his native language of Farsi, the official Persian language of Iran, that changed his life to what it is today.
His life turned toward Christ when Solanti and his wife of 18 years, Lili, and their son, Sam, relocated in 2007 to Lacarna, a city on the southern coast of Cyprus.
The Scriptures captured his heart, but a few years later, Solanti found himself in a life-threatening jam.
In 2009, the immigration department in Cyprus informed Solanti he had to renew his visa by returning to Iran.
The problem with that directive is Solanti had by then drawn political caricatures and cartoons about religious leaders in Iran that could lead to his arrest if he returned to his homeland. Also, by then he was a believer in Christ.
"I knew I was a Christian and to go back to Iran, I would have a problem," Soltani said. "According to Scripture, I have to go to all the nations and baptize all in the name of Christ. I cannot be silent."
Repeated requests to renew his visa in Cyprus instead of Iran were denied.
Brother John is living example
Meanwhile, Soltani's landlord connected him with a man he refers to as, "brother John," who painted icons for the Orthodox Church. Solanti said this "was the first time we saw a disciple of Christ," he said.
"He gave us the Word of God, not only by the Word, but by the way he lived his life," Solanti said. "At this time a lot was revealed to us and we came to have faith in Jesus. Always I thought maybe I could visit God after death, but never thought God will enter my life and had an amazing plan for us."
Solanti discovered God had an amazing plan for his life in the here and now.
But there still was the issue with the visa. Solanti and his wife concluded the only way to remain in Cyprus was to apply for asylum but in the end, the asylum department in Limassol, Cyprus threatened Solanti with deportation to Iran in handcuffs, if necessary.
Then the unexpected happened one morning.
"At 7 a.m., Lili came into the bedroom and said 'Rahi, wake up, we won the green card lottery for immigration to the USA.' I asked how and Lili answered her sister Ladan called her and told her she has filled the lottery green card form and we won. I woke up and thought, 'Is this a dream or is it real?'
"It took us one year until all our documents were ready for our interview with the US embassy," Solanti continued. "We saw how the Lord brought us out from our difficulties and showed us 'When I am with you who is against you?'"
In September 2012, the Soltanis legally migrated to United States where they eventually ended up in Grand Rapids and at Seventh Reformed Church.
The church is where Solanti works full-time in an office the church provides for him. Solanti works in tandem with Middle East Reformed Fellowship, an evangelical Christian missionary organization based in several areas of the world, including Holland, Mich., which serves in the Middle East, North Africa and Asia on behalf of Reformed and Presbyterian churches and believers worldwide.
Solanti uses a computer with the appropriate software, a microphone, mixer and sound card to expound on the Bible in Farsi for two websites.
Direct, indirect websites
Rahi refers to these two websites as "direct" and "indirect."
The "direct" website at www.roshdino.org, is for Christians living in the Middle East where the Bible is expounded on and Christian books in PDF, Bible studies, and theological resources in Farsi are provided.
The "indirect" website at www.shadkami.org, is intended for Muslims to covert them to Christianity, which relies on poetry to get its intent across via audio streaming. All the poems are based on the Bible and direct users to the Scriptures they are based on.
"Iranians love poetry," Solanti said. "Many Muslims listen to me. I find all the poems are connected to Scripture.
"We have been blessed."