Monday, February 4, 2013

A Privilege....

     I don't usually do this but I want to sort of "turn this blog" entry over to a book review.  This book hasn't been released yet - will come out in mid-March I think.  But I know many people around the world were aware of the imprisonment of these two Iranian Christians and prayed for their release. Now they have published their story and I just think this is a neat opportunity to see how God answered those prayers during their 259 days of captivity.  So I'm posting the preview from Tyndale here:
Maryam Rostampour
Maryam Rostampour
Maryam Rostampour and Marziyeh Amirizadeh were born into Muslim families in Iran—Maryam in the city of Kermanshah, and Marziyeh in Rafsanjan. They met while studying Christian theology in Turkey in 2005, and realized they had become Christians at about the same time six years earlier. Deciding to join forces, they returned to Iran and began a program of mission outreach. Over the next two years, they handed out twenty thousand New Testaments in Tehran and other cities. They started two house churches in their apartment, one for young people and another for prostitutes. They extended their ministry with mission trips to India, South Korea, and Turkey.In 2009, Maryam and Marziyeh were arrested in Tehran for promoting Christianity—a capital crime in Iran—and imprisoned for 259 days in the city's notorious Evin Prison. The official charges they received were apostasy, anti-government activity, and blasphemy for which they were sentenced to execution by hanging. As many around the world prayed for their freedom, and as a result of international lobbying, Maryam and Marziyeh were released in 2009 and cleared of all charges the following year. They consider it an honor to have experienced a little of Christ's suffering by being imprisoned in His name. After their release, they emigrated to the United States and now live near Atlanta.

Their book is called Captive in Iran.    Two good ministries who support Christians in Iran are Iran Alive and Elam Ministries.   I'm also going to put a YouTube video here from Iran Alive which has definitely touched my heart. Many people in Iran are living without hope. Two-thirds of their population are under the age of 30.  About 40 % cannot find jobs - they have a huge unemployment rate. Many have turned to drugs - they have the highest per capita drug usage of all the nations in the world. They also have a high suicide rate.  At the same time, they have people coming to Christ by the thousands and a lot of it is because of people like Maryam who are willing to go to prison in order to present the gospel to their countrymen.  

Today so much that we hear about regarding Iran is their leader's development of nuclear weapons.  But there is another story and that is about how God is working in marvelous ways to reach these people and give them hope.  I really believe that it is a privilege to join God in this work by sending our prayers towards His throne of grace for these precious people.

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