SANTA ANA, Calif. (September 4, 2010) – One year ago two Christian women appeared before an Iranian judge who asked them if they would deny their newfound faith and return to Islam.
Maryam Rostampour, 28, and Marzieh Amirizadeh, 31, had been held in the notorious Evin prison in Tehran for months, accused of two serious charges.
Both women refused to recant their faith. The judge sent them back to their prison cells where they suffered severe illness.
Open Doors launched an advocacy campaign to put pressure on the Iranian government to release the brave women. And during the 2009 International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP) millions of Christians prayed for their release.
Later in November they were released pending another court appearance. Then on May 22, Maryam and Marzieh were acquitted of all charges by Iranian judicial authorities and secretly fled the country.
Maryam and Marzieh said after their escape that “we are most eager to thank Christians who have been praying for us. We have no doubt that God heard the prayers of His people. The prayers encouraged and sustained us throughout this ordeal.”
As in the case of Maryam and Marzieh, prayer is the No. 1 request of over 100 million persecuted Christians around the globe. Christians in the West again have the opportunity to join the largest global prayer event of its kind on Sunday, Nov. 14, when IDOP 2010 is observed in churches, small groups and homes. IDOP is an international day of intercession for persecuted Christians worldwide with its primary focus on intercessory prayer, awareness and action on behalf of those suffering for faith in Jesus Christ. It crosses all denominational lines.
“Your prayers really do make a significant difference in the lives of Christians in places like Iraq, Nigeria, India and North Korea,” says Open Doors USA President/CEO Carl Moeller. “I have visited hundreds of persecuted believers in my seven years with Open Doors and those dedicated believers always ask me not to forget them and to prayer for them. Will you join me in intercession for them on IDOP and all year long?”
Open Doors USA is again offering a free IDOP kit (either via Website or regular mail) to equip churches and small groups to participate in the annual event. The web kit is available to order at www.OpenDoorsUSA.org and includes such materials as a training video, bulletin inserts, a sample sermon and a World Watch List map.
The mail kit includes a 2-by-5 foot banner, prayer bulletin inserts, a Free to Believe DVD and other materials. To order the mail kit, go to www.OpenDoorsUSA.org or call 888-5-BIBLE-5 (888-524-2535).
Pastor Dave Gordon of Trinity Baptist Church in Indio, Calif., states: “Joining together with other churches in our community to help our persecuted family has been one of the highlights of my life. I have become good friends with the other participating pastors. It has moved us to a deeper experience of unity. But most of all, we have helped our brothers and sisters much more together than we could have done separately. I urge the pastors of this country to band together to bless our family worldwide.”
Also, as part of IDOP, Open Doors is asking that people consider participating in an Open Doors campaign to send clothes, blankets, food, medicine and personal items to persecuted Christians in Iraq who are trying to survive and desperate for these items. For a gift of $30 believers can help Open Doors send a Critical Care Package to a brother or sister who share our faith but not our freedom. Persons can go to our Website to donate $30 or more for these packages.