When I was a child, I would hear of missionaries dying, literally, to bring Jesus to people. There was something romantic about being that serious about one's faith, and even about being chosen by God for those trials. In my child's mind anyway. It was the most fascinating thing to me, their faith, and I prayed that I would be able to do something that great for God.
I still have a heart for the persecuted church and our brothers and sisters who struggle to bring Jesus to places where it can be deadly. But as an adult, the situation is not nearly as romantic.
One individual in the news today is Pastor Saeed Abedini. Pastor Saeed is an Iranian American who converted from Islam to Christianity. That in itself is dangerous, but he also was a pastor of an underground church of thousands and sought to bring others to faith. Iran, being a Muslim country, tolerates a Christian minority, but has distinct disdain for converts.
Pastor Saeed has been detained since 2012 because his Christian faith was believed to threaten Iranian national security. He dodged the death penalty in January of this year, but was recently moved to Rajai Shahr prison, known for human rights violations, where he has been denied medical attention, subjected to beatings and death threats. It appears that Iran just wants to put him in a pit to die. Our government, which has been asked by many to intervene, did not broach the subject of his imprisonment in the latest talks with Iran.
So what can we do in our safe homes and churches here?
First, pray! The body of Christ is in chains...not them, but us. Learn about the persecution going on around the world by checking out http://www.persecution.com. Begin to realize how blessed we are.
Next check out this website: http://beheardproject.com/saeed. Here you can sign the petition or make a donation. You can also learn more at the American Center for Law and Justice by clicking here.
And finally, make your voice heard by writing. We are still living in a country where our voices can be heard.
Persecution and martyrdom were not just for the Christians of Rome. It is going on now. Please, take a little time to familiarize yourself, to add our brothers and sisters to your prayers, and to be encouraged by their faith. We take so much for granted, but they can help us break out of the complacency.
If you choose to write letters, here are some tips.
1.Please email each of your state's two US Senators. Contact info can be found here: http://www.senate.gov/
2.Please look up and then email your Representative in the House. http://www.house.gov/
3.Please email the White House http://www.whitehouse.gov/
We suggest your emails be BRIEF, RESPECTFUL, and SPECIFIC.
The following is a suggested format for those looking for assistance in drafting their emails. You can send the same email to all 4 individuals, just addressing each one separately as needed.
1st paragraph) Identify yourself as their constituent, but also as one of (however many we have by then) thousands of like minded men and women across the country that are concerned over the injustice of Saeed Abedini's continued imprisonment in Iran. A link to the facebook page could be included here as proof of our numbers.
2nd paragraph) Thank them for their previous support in calling on Iran to release Saeed. Then express your disappointment that a nuclear agreement with Iran was recently made that did not include Saeed's release.
3rd paragraph) Express that religious freedom and the return of an American citizen to his family is a bipartisan issue that all Americans of whatever political party should support. Ask them to use all of their influence to help bring Saeed home.
Close with a thank you.