It’s happening again. A Christian pastor is on trial in Iran, facing the death penalty for his faith. The difference? This time, the pastor is an American citizen. Pastor Saeed Abedini was arrested while visiting family in his native country of Iran. He is enduring torture in Evin prison, and is scheduled to go on trial today before a judge infamous for handing down harsh sentences. Please pray for Saaed and his family. Pray for God to soften the heart of the judge and to use Saeed’s faith to impact many. You can learn more at http://video.foxnews.com/v/2095963796001/?playlist_id=922779230001 and http://www.christianfreedom.org/news/urgent-iranian-pastor-may-soon-be-hanged/. Please pray.
Monthly Archives: January 2013
Bali is considered by many people to be a tropical paradise. People have loved visiting Bali for hundreds of years. The Dutch lived there for a while. So did the Japanese during World War II. Today, tourists travel there from all over the world.
More than three-fourths of the island’s population is Hindu. There are tens of thousands of Hindu temples throughout the island. Bali has lots of festivals and parades. Everything is big and bright and colorful. But the festivals honor idols. The people have statues of hundreds of gods. They bring the statues out on special occasions, take them places, feed them, and take care of them. But, we need to think about that. We’re not supposed to take care of gods, God takes care of us.
Please pray that the people of Bali will know the One true God who cares for each of us. You can read more about the people of Bali at http://www.joshuaproject.net/people-profile.php?peo3=10606&rog3=ID.
Java is an island just to the east of Sumatra. It is home to the capital city of Indonesia, Jakarta, as well as several active volcanoes. There are many Christians on Java, but there are still millions of people who live there who do not know about Jesus, including the Sunda people.
The Sunda live in West Java in an area that is sometimes called the “rice basket of Indonesia.” The ground is good and grows many crops, including rice and tea. There are very few Christian materials available in their language, but there has been a growing interest in the story of Jesus. But, representatives from other religions are also trying to convince the Sunda not to believe in Jesus.
The Sunda work hard to be healthy, good, right, introspective, and intelligent. It is a tradition that has been important to their people since around 130 AD. Many of them practice a form of Islam that is mixed with their local traditions and customs.
Please pray that all of the people of Java would hear and respond to the message of Jesus Christ. You can read more about them the Sunda at: http://www.joshuaproject.net/people-profile.php?peo3=15121&rog3=ID
Sumatra is the sixth-largest island in the entire world. Most of the people living in Sumatra have not heard or understood the Gospel message. Only a handful of other countries have more unreached people living in them than the number of unreached people who live just on the island of Sumatra.
One of the unreached people groups is called the Gayo. They live high in the mountains and grow mostly coffee and vegetables. But, most of them are very poor. Dishonest men make some of them sell their coffee crops for much less than they are worth. Many of the Gayo do not understand the basics of health and medicine, so they are often sick or hurting. They don’t know about Jesus’ love, and they don’t have any hope that life will ever get any better. And, they don’t know that they can go to Heaven.
Please pray that the Gayo would hear about and receive the hope and peace Jesus offers. You can read more about them at: http://www.joshuaproject.net/people-profile.php?peo3=11837&rog3=ID
Today’s post is from my blog for children, Exploring with Jake. You can find the original post at: http://writebonnierose.wordpress.com/2013/01/06/modern-witnesses-mehdi-forootan/.
The story of Mehdi Forootan
Mehdi lived in Iran. On December 26, 2010, police came to his house early in the morning and arrested him. They dragged him out to a car and turned on a video camera. They had already taken his books and his computer. Now they wanted him to confess to his “crime” on tape.
But, he told them he didn’t know why they were arresting him. He hadn’t done anything wrong. They asked him again, and he told them he didn’t know. Then, they turned the camera off and threatened to hurt him if he didn’t tell them what they wanted him to say. When they turned the camera back on, Mehdi admitted he was a Christian. The police officer gave him a chance to give up being a Christian and follow the religion of the state instead. Mehdi said no. The officer said they would take him to a prison called Evin.
That’s when Mehdi knew things were going to get very bad. He knew some of his Christian friends had been arrested, kept for a short time, and released. He had hoped that was all that would happen to him. Maybe he’d be home later that day. But, when the officer said “Evin,” Mehdi knew he would not be coming home today. He might not ever come home. Evin was one of the worst prisons in all of Iran. Terrible things happened there.
After they got to Evin, they treated Mehdi like a murderer. They locked him up in a tiny cell all by himself. He didn’t have a bed or a chair. All he could sleep on was the cold floor, with just a thin blanket to try to keep warm.
Some days, the guards would come and ask him all kinds of questions. One would threaten to kill him. One would promise everything would be OK if he would just tell the guards what they wanted to know—who were the other Christians he knew, how big was the secret church in Iran, and lots of other things. Mehdi didn’t want to tell them anything that would hurt anyone else.
There were other days when the guards wouldn’t come at all. Day after day after day, Mehdi would just sit by himself in his cell, with no one to talk to. He would try to pray, but he still felt sad and lonely. He missed his parents, his fiancé, and his friends.
Sometimes, he got to talk to other Christians who were in the same part of the prison as he was. A guard might leave him alone for a minute in the hall, and someone would whisper to him from another cell. Finally, after thirty-eight days, the guards moved him to a cell with other people. He told as many of them as he could about Jesus’ love.
Finally, after one hundred and five days in prison (over three months), on April 9, 2011, the guards released him. He still doesn’t know why he was let go. He eventually escaped Iran to the country of Turkey. He and his fiancé were finally able to get married. They were married for two months when she had to leave to live in another country. He hopes they will be able to be together again someday and have a family.
Mehdi knows how hard it can be to live for Jesus. But, with God’s help, he is living for Him each day.