Monday, January 14, 2013

Family Visit to Iran Prompts Unexpected Imprisonment

Photo: ACLJ
While visiting his family in Iran, 32-year-old Rev. Saeed Abedini, now an American resident, was imprisoned without notice of any formal charges. He is currently awaiting trial at Iran's notoriously brutal Evin Prison, where he has been incarcerated since late September of 2012. Family members residing in Iran (also Christian converts) are currently under house arrest. Fortunately, his wife Naghmeh, and their two young children, didn't accompany him during this most recent visit.

Since moving to the United States in 2005, Saeed periodically travelled to the country of his origin to spend time with his family and oversee the development of an orphanage, a humanitarian effort he began years ago. Prior to this, Saeed was the founder of a house church movement in Iran. Over the course of his involvement, the movement had about 100 churches in 30 Iranian cities with more than 2,000 members. "It was just growing so fast," his wife Naghmeh explains. "[Governmental leaders] see the underground churches as a threat and Christianity as a tool from the West to undermine them."

Saeed converted to Christianity at the age of 20, after undergoing suicide bomber training by a radical Muslim group. The more he sought to be a devout Muslim and the deeper he went into training, the more depressed he became. "Christianity saved his life," Naghmeh adds. Yet when Saeed became a Christian, he became a criminal in his own country.

May God arise and work mightily on behalf of Saeed's situation. Pray that angels will guard over this young pastor and his family, protecting them from further attacks, and that the Holy Spirit will act as their advocate throughout the legal process. Ironically, those involved in this case of imprisonment are themselves held captive by the rulers of darkness. May these perpetrators witness first hand the reality of Christ's glory and His delivering power in their own lives!

This story was originally published in our Persecution & Prayer Alert. Every week, The Persecution & Prayer Alert delivers specific prayer requests from restricted nations around the world directly to your inbox. You can also read the stories on our website. To sign up to receive the prayer alert, click here.

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