Naghmeh Abedini has diligently been speaking out to churches and the nations, awakening Christians and the world to the reality of modern-day Christian persecution. At a time in history when it has reached a critical stage, Naghmeh and her family have also been victimized.
Iran has sentenced her husband, Pastor Saeed Abedini, an American citizen to 8 years in prison for his Christian faith. Since his imprisonment, he has been physically/psychologically tortured and abused. Saeed has also suffered internal bleeding from repeated beatings with very little medical care. And he continues to have fainting spells from severe amounts of pain. Pastor Saeed is in dire need of our intercessory prayers and help!
September 26, 2013 will mark the one year anniversary of Saeed’s imprisonment at one of the most notorious prisons in Iran. Though he did not receive the death penalty, many do not survive in Evin prison very long. Naghmeh, with the help of many others, is planning Prayer Vigils across the nation and throughout the world to be held on that day. The event will bring Christians together to pray for Saeed and others who have been imprisoned for their faith in Christ.
Today, I had the opportunity to sit down and visit with Naghmeh. She was very warm and welcoming with a sweet smile and the softness of a gentle soul. As she spoke of what they’ve been through this past year, I thought how this woman could be bitter and full of despair, but not an ounce of it was there. She was humble and grateful with a grace of divine assistance. Truly inspiring and no doubt one being used by God.
Through this difficult trial and the deep grief of Saeed’s absence, she has reached out and found a strong connection to God. “Clinging to him with a need to never let go.” In the darkness of persecution, she has found the beauty of his grace and mercy. As we know, all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
I mentioned the strength she has shown and how well she has handled herself through this ordeal. She laughed and said it was not her normal response and how God has given her a deep peace. This horrific, life changing event has brought her to a point of completely trusting God in Saeed’s case and in her own life. She added,
“He has never failed me before!”
This past year, Naghmeh has witnessed many miracles. One being the ability to speak of Saeed and the love of Christ at the United Nations. And in a television interview, she also had the opportunity to speak live to the Iranian people about Saeed and the love Christ has for all people. Caring so much for the people of Iran, this had always been a dream she shared with her husband. Little did they know she would be the one sharing Christ with them, while a photo of Pastor Saeed was displayed on a large monitor behind her.
She also mentioned the outpouring of love, prayers, encouragement and support other Christians have given to her family. We spoke of the importance of knowing others care, while they wait for the return of her husband and father of their two young children. She described how letters written to her gave her much needed encouragement. How the kids light up when they receive a picture, drawing, or message letting them know someone cares and prays for them. We can only imagine how important this loving gesture would mean to us.
To often, the families of the persecuted are abandoned and forgotten. Many wives lose hope, their faith and the support to care for their families. Some are forced to remarry and convert to their new husband’s faith. We should always consider them, as they too are victims. These families have become like widows and orphans, while their loved one has been torn from their lives.
Christians have always been known by the world for the great love they have for one another. Christ said,
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35
Let’s show the world, generations later, we still follow and serve him, today!
As free Christians with laws to protect our rights, we have the ability to do so much for persecuted believers and their families. We should stand up for, speak out and intercede in prayer on their behalf. As American Christians, it would be a pity to waste the amazing opportunities our God has blessed us with. Christian persecution is real and one of the worst humanitarian crises on the planet, today. The time to act and pray is NOW!
Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written:
“They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor; their righteousness endures forever.”
Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.
This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift! 2 Corinthians 9:6-15