On June 2, 2014, the Biblical Recorder reported that Saeed Abedini was being threatened with more jail time. Why? Because he is leading people to faith in Jesus Christ everywhere he is detained. Prison guards told Saeed to stop telling people about Jesus or face an increase in jail time.
“I don’t see him [witnessing] as an act of defiance,” Naghmeh Abedini said. “Knowing Saeed’s heart as a pastor, he’s seeing people in such a dark place … on death row for murders and rapes, and just seeing people who are in prison whose future is so dark. Knowing Saeed’s heart, I know that his heart was to give them the hope that he’s found in Christ that no one can take away, even in prison.”
Saeed Abedini was sentenced to 8 years in prison in Iran for creating a network of Christian church houses. He has been physically tortured and abused, only receiving medical treatment when Iran is pressured by the international community. His wife and children are unable to speak with him, but communicate through his family in Iran, who are permitted 20 minutes a week to speak to Saeed.
It is not a surprise that Saeed would be witnessing to his fellow inmates. “Because I want to serve God, I see all of these difficulties as golden opportunities and great doors to serve,” he wrote in a letter from prison last year. “There are empty containers who are thirsty for a taste of the Living Water and we can quench their thirst by giving them Jesus Christ.”
The prisoners who have placed their faith in Christ through Saeed’s witness have already received extended sentences. It would not be an aberration for Saeed to receive the same. But the story doesn’t stop there.
Shortly after Saeed was sentenced, Nagmeh started receiving calls from women in Iran. They were told to call her. Their husbands had shared a cell with Saeed and become strangely calm, happy, and joyful. Because the husbands could not explain to their wives the reason, they told their wives to call Nagmeh.
“Early on in his imprisonment I got to talk to some of these wives and lead them to Christ because of the change they’ve seen in their husbands,” Naghmeh said. “And I told them, ‘I think Saeed has given your husband all he has, and all he has is the hope he has found in Jesus Christ.'”
Separated by continents, oceans, and governmental authorities, the two are still united in Christ. Together they fulfill Jesus’ command to make disciples in all nations.
Saeed’s options have run out. There are no more appeals left. The only freedom he will get will come from God intervening supernaturally. But Saeed wants to share Jesus more than he wants to be free. So it is likely that his sentence will be extended.
Nagmeh asks Christians to pray for Saeed and to contact their representatives. Pressure from the public will spur Congressmen and women to act. International pressure can push Iran to free Saeed.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10
9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Voice of the Persecuted. http://voiceofthepersecuted.wordpress.com/2014/05/20/pastor-saeed-abedini-beaten-and-forcibly-removed-from-hospital-returned-to-iranian-prison/
International Christian Concern. www.persecution.org
Voice of the Martyrs. www.persecution.com