LETTER FROM BELIEVER INSIDE IRAN: ENGAGEMENT BROKEN BY ARREST, FORCED CONFESSION, FLIGHT
In this continuing series, believers from Iran write about their precarious Christian life inside the country.
Dear fellow believers,
My name is Farzaneh. I am 31 years old and I became a believer in Christ about 10 years ago. Today I want to talk about something that has been worrying me a great deal.
First, let me tell you that I am a member of a house church. Our church members are mostly young and we are very close with each other. The shepherd of our group is an unmarried young man named Pedram. Some time ago he was engaged to a Christian girl named Maryam. They were planning to get married soon.
Maryam and I were very close. I was also recently engaged, so we talked about our relationships a lot. She was very happy that she had met Pedram and was able to serve with him. Maryam herself was also responsible for several secret groups; she was teaching them and also helping Pedram in his ministry.
Last week we had a meeting that was attended by all members. When I spoke to Maryam before the meeting, I sensed she was upset. During the meeting, the doorbell rang. Pedram wondered who it could be since all members were present. When he answered the entry phone, it seemed to be a man who sought a downstairs neighbor. Pedram told him to ring the other bell. After less than two minutes the house bell rang again and it was the same man. Pedram angrily told him not to ring the doorbell of his house. At that moment, I saw fear in the faces of Maryam and Pedram. I realized that my initial feeling had been right. Maryam was upset about something, but I didn’t know what.
After the meeting, Maryam asked the attendees to pray for members of other house churches who had been arrested. Something told me that this prayer point was somehow related to her discomfort. After the prayer I talked to Maryam a little bit, but she and Pedram were behaving abnormally.
I didn’t find out what was the matter with her until yesterday when my computer stopped working and I asked Pedram to come to my house to fix it. When I saw Pedram, I noticed that he was very upset. When I asked about Maryam, he told me that she had left Iran. I was so shocked and I did not know what to say.
After a bit of silence, I asked him the reason for her flight. He told me that after the authorities arrested one of the groups that Maryam was responsible for, the believers were forced to give her name. Subsequently, the authorities forced her to leave the country as soon as possible. Pedram was upset because he was unable to leave the country, and was forced to break his engagement with Maryam.
I was extremely upset when I heard these words. For a moment I put myself in her place. How difficult would it be if I was separated from my fiancé? I depend on him so much. I have only been engaged for about two months, but Maryam and Pedram had been engaged for over a year. They were planning to marry in less than three months. Their situation is so bad. I have asked the Lord to provide comfort and peace.
Your sister in Christ,
Iran is ranked #7 on the Open Doors’ 2015 World Watch List (www.worldwatchlist.us) of the worst persecutors of Christians.
Compiled by Jerry Dykstra. For media inquiries, contact Katie Rouse at 678-410-9575 or Christy Lynn Wilson at 770-401-9842.