SHARING FAITH UNDER PRESSURE
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
~ 2 Peter 3:9 (NIV)
Twenty-nine-year-old Maryam Rostampour and thirty-two-year old Marzieh Amirizadeh spent 259 days in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison in 2009 in Iran. They had to overcome the fear of life imprisonment and the possibility of execution because they loved and followed Jesus Christ. They had to remain strong through weeks in solitary confinement, and endless hours of interrogation by Iranian officials and religious leaders. They had to endure months of harsh living conditions and debilitating sickness. In their first interview (with Sam Yeghnazar of Elam Ministries), they shared what life was like in prison and how they survived.
Maryam commented, “When we were arrested most of the guards treated us badly, especially when they knew we had been involved in evangelism. They would curse us and would not let us drink water from the public tap or use the wash basin. But this changed and eventually they asked us to pray for them.”
Marzieh said, “Some [prisoners] called us ‘Dirty, unclean, apostates,’ but their opinion changed and they asked for forgiveness. We had become an example to them and they would take our side.”
Maryam added, “At Evin Prison the well-educated political and business prisoners called us ‘Mortad Kasif’ (Unclean apostates). In less than a month everything changed. As they got to know us, they were curious about our faith, they respected us and called upon us to sort out arguments they had between themselves.”
When asked if any prisoners came to faith, she said, “Yes. There were those who accepted Christ. When we were in Vozara [the first prison the women were taken to] we prayed the sinner’s prayer with many of the prostitutes. They prayed themselves and we prayed for them. But there were others who were too frightened to confess their faith. There were many who were impacted.”
Even in prison, under tremendous pressure, it is possible to share one’s faith.
RESPONSE: Today I will resolve to use my freedom to share my faith with others in spiritual darkness.
PRAYER: Lord may other Christian prisoners around the world have the courage and opportunity to share their love for You today.