Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Prison, beatings and unspeakable joy. . .

A further letter has been received from Saeed Abedini, born in Iran and now a naturalised American citizen, serving an eight-year sentence in Iran. I wrote about him here and here. Saeed, who is 32, is in the notorious Evin Prison.

His letter is written in the margins of scraps of newspaper. It says, in part:

Maybe you ask, what is the secret of being so happy in such a hard situation?

Forgiveness and a change in attitude. When we forgive, we become free and we become messengers of peace and reconciliation and goodness.

I forgave the prison doctor who did not listen to me and did not give me the medication that I needed. I forgave the interrogator who beat me. Every day when I would see the interrogator and for the last time when I saw him I forgave him. I smiled at him and with respect shook his hand and I said my goodbye. The minute I forgave them and loved them, that second I was filled with an unspeakable joy. I saw in the eyes of the interrogator that he had come to respect me and as he was leaving, he could not look behind him. Love is as strong as death. . .

The joy of the Lord is my strength.

You can read the full letter here.

In the same prison is Farshid Farhi, a 33-year-old pastor serving a six-year sentence for "actions against national security," "being in contact with enemy foreign countries" and "disseminating religious propaganda."

A letter to his father says:

Dear Dad,

Probably I cannot be with you for a few years. However your word and exhortations are in the ear of my soul. I hope that at the end I will be able to see you. But if the Father calls me to the eternal abode, please protect and support my family more than before, especially my children who are the dearest of my heart.. . . 

In our land the fig tree does not blossom, the produce of olive has failed. The flock is cut off from the fold. Yet we rejoice in the Lord and take joy in the God of our salvation. Because neither the walls nor the barbed wires, nor the prison, nor suffering, nor loneliness, not enemies, nor pain, nor even death separates us from the Lord and each other.

With love and greetings in Christ.

You are asked to pray for them. If you do pray for them, do not pray for them only, but for all who are suffering from the clampdown on Christianity in Iran. God bless you.