By JACKY TAMEZ
The effort to fulfill the work of God sent a pastor to a different country – a country where he was arrested and sentenced to eight years in a prison notorious for using torture tactics – simply because of his faith. Now, thousands of people are joining together to bring awareness to this injustice with hopes of bringing the pastor back home.
Pastor Saeed Abedini traveled to Rasht, Iran from the United States during the summer of 2012 to help build an orphanage. While in the country, Abedini was placed under house arrest and later transferred to Evin Prison in Tehran, where he has been incarcerated since last September. The initial charge against the pastor was endangering national security; however, the American Center for Law and Justice claims that the real reason is Abedini’s involvement in Christian underground churches.
My heart goes out to the pastor who has family living in the United States. Going to a country where converting to Christianity is an act punishable by death is a difficult decision. Not only does it show Abedini’s faith in God but also his determination to spread the Gospel. When a fellow brother or sister in Christ suffers, it is our responsibility to lend a hand either by praying or providing another means of aid.
According to Christianpost.com, Abedini converted to Christianity in 2000 and has been pressured to deny Christ and convert back to Islam. Abedini still refuses to do so even after being tortured.
“After all of these pressures, after all of the nails they have pressed against my hands and feet, they are only waiting for one thing, for me to deny Christ,” Abedini said.
Abedini is an example of an unwavering Christian. Even after being tortured physically and mentally, he still refuses to deny his faith. Our response to trials is unknown until we actually live it.
Over the last couple of weeks, Abedini’s story has spread internationally. Christian artists, government officials and news outlets have spoken up about this injustice and encouraged people to sign an online petition on savesaeed.org to urge Iran to release Abedini. The petition has exceeded 400,000 signatures and was presented at a meeting at the United Nations on March 5.