THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER is this Sunday, Nov. 4 (or whatever day works for your church, fellowship or group), and believers around the world will be praying for our brothers and sisters in restricted countries who are in chains. Please join millions of “free” Christians as we pray together for millions of our persecuted, suffering and shackled brethren who depend on us to stand with them and intercede for them.
Gospel for Asia’s ministries and missionaries encompass much of the world where persecution takes place, and many GFA ministers suffer daily for their faith and their witness. Watch the video below to get a better idea of the scope and reality of the suffering that so many endure today:
Every day we hear reports of brothers and sisters in Christ being persecuted for their faith. They are stripped of their rights. Their neighbors threaten them with violence and death. Their homes are razed. Their families beat them. And their governments want to slaughter them.
They are our brothers and sisters around the world, boldly believing and proclaiming Christ in places where the penalty for doing so is often death.
Jesus promised His followers that the world would hate and persecute them. Many Gospel for Asia-supported missionaries have come to know the harsh reality of Jesus’ words.
Beatings, death threats and imprisonment are a few of the things they encounter on a daily basis. But despite great hostility, they continue to press onward as they proclaim the Good News of Christ to the unsaved souls of Asia. They are not willing for any man to perish without hearing the name of Jesus, even if that means that they might physically perish.
Don’t Let Them Stand Alone
On November 4, churches across the nation are joining in their suffering by lifting up the persecuted in unified prayer. Share this video with your friends, family and congregation and let them see how their prayers can strengthen Christians as they stand firm in their faith in the one true God.
Follow these links to learn more about the persecuted, and how you can help:
“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven.”
No bail required; charges of ‘proselytizing’ and ‘apostasy’ remain.
INTO THE FIRE by The Nomadic Farmers
ISTANBUL, November 18 (CDN) — Two Christian Iranian women, Maryam Rostampour, 27, and Marzieh Amirizadeh Esmaeilabad, 30, were released from prison this afternoon with no bail amid an international campaign calling for their freedom since their arrest on March 5.
The two women, whose health deteriorated while in detention at the notorious Evin prison in Tehran, are at their homes recovering from their nine-month ordeal, an Iranian source told Compass. They still could face charges of proselytizing and “apostasy,” or leaving Islam.
The women were released at 3:30 p.m.
“Words are not enough to express our gratitude to the Lord and to His people who have prayed and worked for our release,” the two women said in a statement from United Kingdom-based Elam Ministries.
The women’s lawyer had been working to secure their release, and although they were expected to be released yesterday, he was not able to do so because of the high bail the court was demanding. The Compass source said that it was too soon to determine how the lawyer was able to secure their release without bail today, a rarity for Christians released from prison in Iran.
The source credited their release to international lobbying and pressure on the Iranian government.
“It was from the international pressure, and also the government couldn’t handle it anymore,” said the source. “Already their detention was illegal. At the same time, the government wasn’t ready to prosecute them for apostasy. They already have many headaches. They cannot handle everything.”
The source said he suspected the two women will be very closely watched and would not have full freedom of movement, limiting their contact with others.
Rostampour and Esmaeilabad were arrested in March and detained on charges of “acting against state security,” “taking part in illegal gatherings” and apostasy under Iran’s Revolutionary Court system.
On Aug. 9 the women appeared before a judge who pressured them to recant their faith and return to Islam or spend more time in prison. The two women refused. Last month, on Oct. 7, they were acquitted of the charge of “anti-state activities,” and their case was transferred to the General Court.
With a draft penal code that may include an article mandating death for apostates in accordance to sharia (Islamic law) still under parliamentary review, experts on Iran fear things may get worse for the country’s converts from Islam.
Elam reported that the women were “doing as well as could be expected, and are rejoicing in the Lord’s faithfulness to them.” The women reportedly lost a lot of weight during their imprisonment. Esmaeilabad suffered from back pain, an infected tooth and intense headaches, and Rostampour got severe food poisoning last month.
“Maryam and Marzieh have greatly inspired us all,” Director of Elam Ministries Sam Yeghnazar said today in a press statement. “Their love for the Lord Jesus and their faithfulness to God has been an amazing testimony.”
Compass has also learned that on Oct. 13 the leader of a large network of churches in the northern city of Rasht was arrested and is still in prison. Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani has had contact with his family and has been pressured to recant his faith and return to Islam, according to an Iranian Christian who requested anonymity. Nadarkhani is married and has two children under the age of 10.