Throughout history, God has used persecution as part of His sovereign plan to spread His gospel and strengthen believers. Scripture tells us repeatedly that we will not always understand God’s ways. But we continue to pray even when things don’t make sense in our heads and hearts, trusting God and His wisdom–remembering that He is good.
We have the opportunity to stand with some of our Christian brothers and sisters in Iran as they find themselves imprisoned or facing long prison sentences.
Ebrahim Firouzi, is a former Muslim who gave his life to Christ, was arrested on Aug. 21, 2013 and sentenced to one year in prison. On April 20, 2015, he was re-tried and sentenced to another five years in prison for his Christian activities, including running a Christian website. In October 2017, he went on a hunger strike to protest against being held in a ward of dangerous criminals and demanded a transfer. He ended his strike 40 days later after he was moved and continues to serve his sentence. Following his prison sentence, Ebrahim is to serve two years’ internal exile in the remote town of Sarbaz near the Pakistan border. His mother recently passed away after authorities repeatedly refused her requests to allow her son to visit her.
“I am in prison because of my faith in Jesus Christ. [My imprisonment] will serve to further advance the gospel.” These words were written by Nasser-Navard Gol-Tapeh who was arrested Oct. 29, 2017 (with three others) and sentenced to 10 years in prison. His appeal on Nov. 12, 2017 was denied and he was taken to Iran’s notorious Evin Prison to begin serving his term on Jan. 20, 2018. Nasser has repeatedly asked for and been denied medical treatment. As a result, he is in danger of losing his teeth.
Pastor Victor Bet-Tamraz was arrested with two members of his church in 2014 as they celebrated Christmas together. After his arrest, the Assyrian pastor was jailed for “illegal house-church activities” and was sentenced to 10 years. His appeal was heard in June. Currently, he’s out on bail as he awaits the court’s decision.
Victor’s wife, Shamiram Isavi Khabizeh, is also out on bail awaiting the appeal decision on her own five-year prison sentence. Her “crime”: organizing small groups, attending a seminary abroad and training church leaders and pastors to “act as spies.”
As part of the Body of Christ, you have the opportunity to write to these brothers and sisters in Iran—strengthening and encouraging them to cling to Christ and His Word as they walk through the fire.
*Representative names and photos are sometimes used to protect identity.
You can send a physical letter through the mail or a digital message using the form on this page. This letter-writing opportunity is available through December 31, 2019.
Open Doors USA
PO Box 27001
Santa Ana, CA 92799