What God is Saying:

"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." Matthew 28:19-20

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Christians Use Ramadan to Pray for Muslims

ramadan.jpg
Christians Use Ramadan for Muslim Outreach

Sunday, July 31, 2011


Many Christians see the Muslim holy month of Ramadan as an opportunity to pray for the Muslim world, and to launch their own 30 days of prayer and fasting.

The Muslim holy month of Ramadan begins Aug. 1 this year. Ramadan requires daily fasts of food and water and Muslims see it as an opportunity to draw near to their god.

But Michael Youssef, who hosts the television program "Leading the Way," suggests Islam does not offer the personal relationship that Christianity has.

"The most desperate need of any human being who doesn't know God is they want to know that they can really relate to God. In Islam, you can't relate to their god. He is so far removed," he said.

Youssef's KINGDOM SAT channel broadcasts the gospel to more than 60 Arab countries.

He said it's important that Christians pray for the Muslim community during Ramadan.

"I believe that is a prayer that Christians, particularly during the month of Ramadan, must be praying that God would reveal Himself to them," he said. "That that longing in their heart to know God will become a reality when they come to His son, Jesus."

The 30-Days Prayer Network has an online guide for Christians wanting to pray and reach out to Muslims during Ramadan. Visit the group's website for more.

CBN News also spoke with Tom Doyle, vice president and Middle East director for e3 Partners", a group that often does ministry and outreach in Muslim nations. 

Islam is a fast-growing religion and there are nearly 50 Muslim-majority countries in the world.

In some of those countries, people are oppressed by the strict interpretation of Islamic law imposed on society. Women often suffer the worst treatment.

"Women in Islam are treated as half of a man," Youssef explained. "Just by virtue of making women less than a man is very oppressive in itself, let alone placing them in the back and not allowing them to drive, in Saudi Arabia for example."

"They have to be seen basically as a piece of flesh so they have to cover themselves," he added.

But Youssef said God is on the move in the Muslim world and they are turning to Christ like never before.

"We just talked to an imam, one of the leaders in the mosque, who saw Jesus in a dream and woke up and got into the call number on our channel the KINGDOM SAT," Youssef recalled.

"He talked to a person who led him to Christ," he said. "And now he is a wonderful servant of the living God."

"This just happened on Good Friday this year," he continued. "And I could tell you many, many stories like this."

Testimonies like this inspire Christians around the world to keep praying for Muslims. Youssef said that Ramadan is an important reminder that the time for Christians to act is now

"We need to pray for them because the only way that wall of Islam will be broken is through the power of prayer as men and women come to the truth," Youssef said. "And there are hundreds of thousands of them coming to Christ."

"For a long time, it was done secretly," he said. "But now, some of them are coming in the open, so the wall is beginning to crack."

Friday, July 29, 2011

Ramadan Prayer

For the next 30 days, I encourage you to pray for the Muslim people - that God would move mightily amongst them, showing them His love and His salvation and that they might come to know Jesus as their Savior.

Why now? Because of Ramadan.

Muslims throughout the world will celebrate Ramadan from 
August 1 through August 30, 2011.   They will fast during daylight hours in an effort to break bad habits and seek forgiveness of sins.

Ramada, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, is observed by Muslims the world over with dawn to dusk fasting.  This provides them with an opportunity to practice one of the "obligations" (also known as the "five pillars") of their religion - soum or fasting.

Muslims fast during Ramadan because they believe this is the time of year in which the founder of Islam, the Prophet Muhammad, received "recitations" from the angel Gabriel.  These were later compiled to form the Qur'an.  

The most important night of Ramadan - and of the entire year - is called Laylatul Qadr (most likely held one of the last 10 days during Ramadan).  Also known as the "night of power," it is described in the Qur'an as being "better than a thousand months" (97:3).  "Any action done on this night," writes one Islamic scholar, "such as reciting the Qur'an, remember Allah, etc. is better than acting for one thousand months which do not contain the night of Qadr." 

During Ramadan, especially on the night of power, Muslims "ask forgiveness for past sins, pray for guidance and help in refraining from everyday evils, and try to purify themselves through self-restraint and good deeds."  Many are desperately and genuinely seeking to be cleansed from their transgressions and find favor with God. 

Since 1992, Christians all over the world have been setting aside the thirty days of Ramadan to pray specifically for Muslims.  For intercessors, this month-long celebration is a chance to see precious souls set free from the bondage of Islam and introduced to the Savior of all mankind:  Jesus Christ. 

My focus for the next 30 days will be on Muslims, who they are, how is God moving among them and how can we pray for them. 

There is a website specifically geared towards praying for Muslims during Ramadan. It is The 30 Days Prayer Network

Please pray for them during this time. God loves them just as He loves you and me. He has a plan for their lives. God will work in their hearts as we pray for them. 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Mongols and a Missed Mission

Kublai Khan
"And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come."  Matthew 24:14

The next few months of this blog will look at the lives of missionaries through the ages. It is my hope that you will be encouraged and strengthened in your faith as you see God's hand working through the lives of ordinary people as they followed the will of an extraordinary God.

We will next look at Christian missions from 1000 to 1499 AD. Christianity continued to spread throughout Europe, in Asia and into Africa where it already had historical roots. This time also saw the Bible translated into more languages, including English, and the printing of the Gutenberg Bible. 

1000 - Christianity accepted by common consent in IcelandLeif Eriksson introduces the Gospel to Greenland and possibly Vinland (Newfoundland)
1008 - Sigfrid (or Sigurd), English missionary, baptizes King Olof of Sweden
1015 - Russia is said to have been "comprehensively" converted to the Orthodox faith
Olaf II Haroldsson, first king of the whole of Norway, sees Norway convert to Christianity
1200 - The Bible is now available in 22 different languages
1219 - Francis of Assisi presents the Gospel to the Sultan of Egypt
1266 - Mongol leader Kublai Khan sends Marco Polo's father and uncle, Niccolo and Matteo Polo, back to Europe with a request to the Pope to send 100 Christian missionaries (only two responded and one died before reaching Mongol territory) to China
1321 - Jordanus, a Dominican monk, arrives in India as the first resident Roman Catholic missionary 
1323 - Franciscans make contacts on SumatraJava, and Borneo
1368 - Collapse of the Franciscan mission in China as Ming Dynasty abolishes Christianity
1382 - Bible translated into English from Latin by John Wycliff 
1389 - Large numbers of Christians march through the streets of Cairo, denouncing Islam and lamenting that they had abandoned the religion of their fathers from fear of pesecution. They were beheaded, both men and women, and a fresh persecution of Christians followed 
1408 - Spanish Dominican Vincent Ferrer begins a ministry in Italy in which it is said that thousands of Jews and Muslims were won to faith in Christ 
1410 - Bible is translated into Hungarian 
1450 - Franscian missionaries accompany Portuguese expedition to the Cape Verde Islands
1462 - Johannes Gutenberg begins printing the Bible with his movable-type printing process
1486 - Dominicans become active in West Africa, notably among the Wolof people in Senegambia.
1491 - The Congo sees its first group of missionaries arrive. Under the ministry of these Franciscan and Dominican priests, the king would soon be baptized and a church built at the royal capital.
1493 - Pope Alexander VI commands Spain to colonize the New World with Catholic missions; Christopher Columbus takes Christian priests with him on his second journey to the New World
1496 - First Christian baptisms in the New World take place when Guaticaba along with other members of his household are baptized on the island of Hispaniola 
1498 - First Christians are reported in Kenya

The missionaries/missions that will be highlighted during this era are:

Marco Polo and Kublai Khan
John Wycliff

Marco Polo and Kublai Khan

Today's highlighted missionary/mission will be a bit different as it is the story of a missed mission opportunity. 


While studying the lives of Marco Polo and Kublai Khan with my children, and then reading about them once again in Scott W. Sundquist’s article entitled "Asian Christianity," I was deeply saddened by the HUGE loss of opportunity for mission outreach to Asia during the time of Kublai Khan. “ 

In the 13th century, when Genghis Khan ruled, his empire stretched from China to Central Europe — a kingdom larger even than those of Alexander and the Roman Caesars, covering all of Asia, Indochina, and even Eastern Europe. No nation has yet to rival the magnitude of the Mongolian Empire,” Mongol Empire

His grandson, Kublai Khan, had a mother who was a Christian. Kublai “ruled when the Mongol Empire had reached its limit. It could not expand any farther, so Kublai concentrated on maintaining peace in his borders. When Marco Polo (1254 - 1323?) journeyed to China, he found evidence of Christian communities and served in the court of Kublai, having become the Khan’s trusted friend. 

Kublai became interested in Christianity and even asked the Polo’s to bring back teachers and missionaries to his land.” He specifically requested from Pope Gregory X, that 100 missionaries be sent to the Mongol empire to teach himself and his people about the Christian faith. 

Sadly and regretfully, “the request was never fulfilled because the Popes in Europe were more concerned about defending themselves militarily than they were interested in extending the Gospel spiritually,” (Sunquist, 241). This may be one of the greatest lost missionary opportunities of all times!

What would have happened if Pope Gregory X would have immediately fulfilled that request. He was in charge of the vast Christian Church. Popes had been able to stir up huge support for the Crusades, in the past, and he could have found 100 or more monks who were willing to go to Asia to share the Gospel of Christ with the Mongols and thus the entire Mongol Empire. God was opening a door of opportunity for Christianity to spread to the largest empire the world had ever seen through a man whose mother was a Christian. If these monks had been sent, history may have seen the conversion of a vast empire to Christianity. 

Look at how God used one monk, St. Patrick, to convert Ireland or Columbu to convert Scotland. What could have have been done with 100 monks who were requested, specifically, by the Mongol leader himself. 

Instead, “it is in the time of the Great Khans that the Tibetan form of Buddhism gained influence in Mongolia...(and) Buddhism became the predominant religion in the Mongolian territories... Today, they do not persecute Christians (though there are only a few), but they still firmly believe that Buddhism is the only true religion and even more so as a reaction to Christian missionary efforts.,” Mongol Empire 

If Christianity, however, had been the religion that Kublai Khan and his followers embraced, Mongolia, and possibly other countries in Asia today may have become Christian. Christianity may have swept across Asia the way it did across Europe. The strongholds of Islam and Communism may never have gained a foothold if Christianity had been the predominant religion. 

This is a huge lesson for the Christian Church today. When God opens a door, we must walk through it! We must take every opportunity given to us to share the Gospel with those who are lost, no matter their religion or skin color. This lesson can be applied especially today where America, a Christian nation, has a powerful influence on two strongholds of Satan...Iraq and Afghanistan. Will we send the “100 missionaries” to share the love of Jesus with them or will we, like the Popes of old, be more concerned about defending ourselves militarily than we are interested in extending the Gospel spiritually?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Leif Eriksson - A Christian Missionary

Leif Eriksson
"And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come."  Matthew 24:14

The next few months of this blog will look at the lives of missionaries through the ages. It is my hope that you will be encouraged and strengthened in your faith as you see God's hand working through the lives of ordinary people as they followed the will of an extraordinary God.

We will next look at Christian missions from 1000 to 1499 AD. Christianity continued to spread throughout Europe, in Asia and into Africa where it already had historical roots. This time also saw the Bible translated into more languages, including English, and the printing of the Gutenberg Bible. 

1000 - Christianity accepted by common consent in IcelandLeif Eriksson introduces the Gospel to Greenland and possibly Vinland (Newfoundland)
1008 - Sigfrid (or Sigurd), English missionary, baptizes King Olof of Sweden
1015 - Russia is said to have been "comprehensively" converted to the Orthodox faith
Olaf II Haroldsson, first king of the whole of Norway, sees Norway convert to Christianity
1200 - The Bible is now available in 22 different languages
1219 - Francis of Assisi presents the Gospel to the Sultan of Egypt
1266 - Mongol leader Kublai Khan sends Marco Polo's father and uncle, Niccolo and Matteo Polo, back to Europe with a request to the Pope to send 100 Christian missionaries (only two responded and one died before reaching Mongol territory) to China
1321 - Jordanus, a Dominican monk, arrives in India as the first resident Roman Catholic missionary 
1323 - Franciscans make contacts on SumatraJava, and Borneo
1368 - Collapse of the Franciscan mission in China as Ming Dynasty abolishes Christianity
1382 - Bible translated into English from Latin by John Wycliff 
1389 - Large numbers of Christians march through the streets of Cairo, denouncing Islam and lamenting that they had abandoned the religion of their fathers from fear of pesecution. They were beheaded, both men and women, and a fresh persecution of Christians followed 
1408 - Spanish Dominican Vincent Ferrer begins a ministry in Italy in which it is said that thousands of Jews and Muslims were won to faith in Christ 
1410 - Bible is translated into Hungarian 
1450 - Franscian missionaries accompany Portuguese expedition to the Cape Verde Islands
1462 - Johannes Gutenberg begins printing the Bible with his movable-type printing process
1486 - Dominicans become active in West Africa, notably among the Wolof people in Senegambia.
1491 - The Congo sees its first group of missionaries arrive. Under the ministry of these Franciscan and Dominican priests, the king would soon be baptized and a church built at the royal capital.
1493 - Pope Alexander VI commands Spain to colonize the New World with Catholic missions; Christopher Columbus takes Christian priests with him on his second journey to the New World
1496 - First Christian baptisms in the New World take place when Guaticaba along with other members of his household are baptized on the island of Hispaniola 
1498 - First Christians are reported in Kenya

The missionaries/missions that will be highlighted during this era are:

Leif Eriksson
Marco Polo and Kublai Khan (this blog has already been completed)
John Wycliff

Leif Eriksson (Leif the Lucky) 

Vikings, Norsemen...a name that caused fear to reign in the hearts of much of Europe. The Vikings would create a second period of at least semi-darkness to last 250 years. While the tribal invaders of Rome, who created the First Dark Ages, were rough forest people, they were, for the most part, nominally Arian Christians. The Vikings, by contrast, were neither civilized nor even lightly Christian. 

They were men of the sea which meant that many of the Christian mission outposts/monasteries came under their attack. The mission centers would be pillaged and destroyed while their occupants were slaughtered or sold off as slaves. It seems unquestionable that the Christians of Charlemagne’s empire would have fared far better had the Vikings had at least the appreciation of the Christian faith that the earlier barbarians had when they overran Rome. The very opposite of the Visigoths and Vandals who spared the churches, the Vikings seemed attracted like magnets to the monastic centers of scholarship and Christian devotion. They took a special delight in burning churches, in putting human life to the sword right in the churches, and in selling monks into slavery. 

A contemporary’s words give us a graphic impression of their carnage in “Christian” Europe:
"The Northmen cease not to slay and carry into captivity the Christian people, to destroy the churches and to burn the towns. Everywhere, there is nothing but dead bodies— clergy and laymen, nobles and common people, women and children. There is no road or place where the ground is not covered with corpses. We live in distress and anguish before this spectacle of the destruction of the Christian people." Winning the Vikings

But, in God's infinite goodness, the conquerors became conquered by the faith of their captives. Usually it was the monks sold as slaves or Christian girls forced to be their wives and mistresses who eventually won these savages of the north. After 250 years of savagery, the Vikings converted to Christianity. One of their most well-known leaders, Leif Eriksson or Leif the Lucky, became a missionary himself. 


The second son of Erik the Red, as a young man Leif Eriksson visited Norway. There he was converted to Christianity by the Norwegian king Olaf I Tryggvason. The following year Leif was commissioned by Olaf to share Christianity with the Greenland settlers. He sailed off course on the return voyage and landed on the North American continent, at a region (possibly Nova Scotia) he called Vinland—perhaps because of the wild grapes and fertile land he found there. Thus, Eriksson is believed to have reached North America long before Columbus. On returning to Greenland, he shared his Christian faith with many, including his mother, who built the first Christian church in Greenland, at Brattahild.  (Britannica)




Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Christianity in Iran and China in the 7th century

Nestorian priests in a procession on Palm Sunday,
in a 7th- or 8th-century wall painting from a
Nestorian church in China
"And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come."  Matthew 24:14

The next few months of this blog will look at the lives of missionaries through the ages. It is my hope that you will be encouraged and strengthened in your faith as you see God's hand working through the lives of ordinary people as they followed the will of an extraordinary God.

We will next look at the Church in the Dark Ages, from 500-1000 AD. After Patrick took Christian faith to Ireland, 
- Scottish monks, to include Columba, evangelized lower England around 600 AD
- Irish monks returned to Europe as missionaries from 500 to 1000 AD 
- The first Christians were reported in North Yemen and Sudan
- Huns living in China and Central Asia were taught to read and write by Nestorian missionaries
- Gregory the Great sent Augustine and a team of missionaries to (what is now) England to reintroduce the Gospel. The missionaries settled in Canterbury and within a year baptized 10,000 people
- The Lombards, a German people living in northern Italy, became Christians
- A church building was erected in Ch'ang-an (Xi'an, China), then perhaps the largest city in the world
- 680 AD saw the first translation of Christian Scriptures into Arabic
- In 716 AD Boniface began missionary work among Germanic tribes
- Charlemagne, king of the Franks and head of the Roman Empire,  commissioned Bible translations
- In 828 AD the first Christian church in present-day Slovakia was built and the first missionaries reached the area that is now the Czech Republic
- In 912 AD the Normans became Christian 
- Harold I of Denmark converted to Christianity and smoothed the way for the acceptance of Christian faith by the Danish people
- Mieszko I of Poland converted to Christianity and began the period of Christian Poland
- In 1000 AD  the leader of the Magyars (modern day Hungary) Stephen I converted to Christianity
(information taken from Timeline of Christian Missions

The missionaries that will be highlighted during this period are:
Columba (521-597)
Nestorian missionaries


Nestorian missionaries

Christianity is growing in modern-day China and Iran, but it is not a new religion to these regions. As early as the 7th century AD, Christianity had spread to the Arabian Peninsula (most notably Persia - modern day Iran), India and China. It was spread by Nestorian missionaries. 

Nestorianism was a Christian doctrine advanced by Nestorius, Patriarch of Constantinople from 428–431 AD. Because there were doctrinal differences between the Nestorians and the Roman Catholic Church, the Nestorians branched out, spreading the Christian faith to Persia. 

"Missionaries established dioceses in the Arabian Peninsula and India (they were known there as Saint Thomas Christians, after the apostle Thomas who is believed to have spread Christianity as far away as India). They made some advances in Egypt as well. 

Missionaries entered Central Asia and had significant success converting local Tartar tribes. Following the Muslim conquest of Persia, completed in 644, the Persian Church became a protected dhimmi community under the Rashidun Caliphate. The church and its communities abroad flourished under the Caliphate; by the 10th century it had fifteen metropolitan sees within the Caliphate's territories, and another five elsewhere, including in China and India. (History shows that at one time, Christianity and Islam co-existed in peace). 

Nestorian missionaries were firmly established in China during the early part of the Tang Dynasty (618–907) - more on that below. The Chinese source known as the Nestorian Stele records a mission under a Persian proselyte named Alopen as introducing Nestorian Christianity to China in 635. These Christian missionaries, led by Alopen, established the Church of the East, or Nestorian Church. It was the first church to spread Christianity to China. 

Emperor Taizong, of the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD), welcomed the Nestorian Christians to China. His successor, emperor Gaozong, was pleased to continue emperor Taizong's policy of toleration towards Christianity. He was sufficiently pleased to permit the building of Nestorian Christian churches in every province of China, and to decree Alopen the title of "Great Conservator of Doctrine for the Protector of the Empire" (i.e., metropolitan Chang'an).

The Nestorians built and staffed monasteries in China's key cities. They were also quite aggressive in their proclamation of the Christian faith. They persevered in their efforts to phrase the Christian message in the philosophical language of the Confucian court in order to make it intellectually acceptable to the literati.

Nestorian artifacts such as the Daqin Pagoda (see picture below), the Jesus Sutras (the Sutra of Jesus the Messiah, sought to introduce the Chinese to the Christian faith and specifically pointed out that the gospel contained nothing subversive to China's ancient traditions, loyalty to the state and filial piety being of the essence of the law of Christ.), and the Nestorian Stele testify to the place of church in Chinese society at the time. 

The Church of the East in China faded with the fall of the Tang Dynasty, but the Nestorian Church continued to flourish throughout Central Asia well into the fourteenth century among the northern tribes, such as Uyghurs, Turks, and Mongols. 

Under the leadership of the Mongol-established Yuan Dynasty, Nestorian Christianity once again gained a foothold in China. When it was overthrown by the native Chinese Ming Dynasty, foreign influences once again became suspect, and Christians were expelled from China. 

One of the last known monuments referring to Christianity in China seems to be one dating to c. 1365 and found at Sanpen Mountain, near Beijing. The monument relates the story of a Buddhist monk who visited the site of an old Christian monument and had a vision of a luminous cross. A nearby inscription reveals the presence of a Christian monk near the site as late as 1438.  (much of the above information came from Wikipedia). 

Daqin Pagoda - the remnant of the earliest surviving
Christian church in China. The church and
the monastery were built in 640
by early Nestorian missionaries.


Two Christian prisoners in Iran speak out

I often speak of the persecuted church in the world and ask you to pray for them. Please read the below interview to see how your prayers have impacted real lives. Maryam and Marzieh were held in an Iranian prison for 259 days because they are Christians. The prayers and letters from Christians made a huge impact on their lives.

(interview from Elam Ministries)

They had to overcome the fear of life imprisonment and the possibility of execution because they loved and followed Jesus Christ. They had to remain strong through weeks in solitary confinement, and endless hours of interrogation by Iranian officials and religious leaders. They had to endure months of harsh living conditions and debilitating sickness. In their first interview since their 259 day ordeal in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison in 2009, Maryam Rostampour (29) and Marzieh Amirizadeh (32) tell Sam Yeghnazar what life was like in prison and how they survived.

In their first interview since their release, they tell Sam Yeghnazar, Elam’s Founder and Director, what life was like in prison. They share how they had strengthen themselves in the Lord to overcome the fear of execution or life-imprisonment and maintain peace and hope through very dark days.

The shadow of execution
SY: What was the worst thing that happened to you?

Marzieh: One of the worst was the execution of two of my fellow prisoners. I had never experienced such a thing. One of those killed was my roommate. We had spent a lot of time together. And one day they took her to be executed. For a week I was in shock that killing a human being was so easy. She lived among us, a fellow human being; I saw her every day, and we said, ‘Hello’. The next day she is not there. After these executions the spirit of sorrow and death hung over the prison. There was deadly silence everywhere. We all felt this. There was nothing we could do. Everyone was under pressure. The sadness was overwhelming. We stared at each other but had no power to speak. This was the worst experience. It was horrifying and tangible. (Marzieh is heard weeping)

Maryam: The worst thing for me was the execution of Shireen who became a close friend in prison.

SY: Did you ever fear execution?

Maryam: I never thought about execution, I thought we might be sentenced to life imprisonment because that is the punishment for women convicted of apostasy. I just thought this was something we would have to bear.

Marzieh: Before prison we talked about execution, but when we got to prison and experienced the fear of it - our way of talking changed. The very first night that we were arrested, when they threatened us, we were really frightened. We never imagined we would be so frightened; we had talked about these things before. But the atmosphere there and what happened to us frightened us beyond our expectations. We were confined to a dark and dirty room and paralysed with fear. We could see the fear in each other’s faces. We prayed and what calmed us was the presence of God and the peace that He gave us.

I just want to add, it is easy to say that I give my life for the Lord and I will do anything for Him, even die. I always thought it would be a privilege to give my life for the Lord. You say these things. I know for sure that if this would happen to us we would rejoice ultimately. But human fears gripped us. The power the Lord gave us helped us to overcome these fears, just as when we prayed in the police station, God banished our fear and renewed our strength.

From ‘Unclean apostate!’ to ‘Please pray for me’
SY: How did the guards treat you?

Maryam: When we were arrested most of the guards treated us badly, especially when they knew we had been involved in evangelism. They would curse us and would not let us drink water from the public tap or use the wash basin. But this changed and eventually they asked us to pray for them.

SY: How did the other prisoners treat you?

Marzieh: Some called us ‘Dirty, unclean, apostates,’ but their opinion changed and they asked for forgiveness. We had become an example to them and they would take our side.

Maryam: At Evin Prison the well-educated political and business prisoners called us ‘Mortad Kasif’ (Unclean apostates). In less than a month everything changed. As they got to know us, they were curious about our faith, they respected us and called upon us to sort out arguments they had between themselves.

SY: Did any other prisoners come to faith?

Yes. There were those who accepted Christ. When we were in Vozara (the first prison the women were taken to) we prayed the sinner’s prayer with many of the prostitutes. They prayed themselves and we prayed for them. But there were others who were too frightened to confess their faith. There were many who were impacted.

Letters ‘gave us hope’
SY: What message do you have for the thousands who prayed for you when you were in prison?

Marzieh: I would like to thank them for their prayers and support, and the letters they sent us. During this time it wasn’t just Maryam and Marzieh who were imprisoned, but all these prayer warriors. This was a great encouragement for us. We felt their presence alongside us. So please keep praying for those who are in prison for their faith, believers in Afghanistan and Pakistan and other places. Don’t think that your prayers are unimportant.

SY: What happened to the thousands of letters you were sent?

Marzieh: We heard that people sent us letters in prison, but we didn’t get any of them: Just hearing that people sent us letters, was a great encouragement to us. And what’s interesting is that the guards who opened our letters, read the Bible verses and the prayers, and were impacted. We know this because they told us and mentioned some of the verses from the Gospel. I can’t thank them (those who sent letters) with all that is in my heart; I can say ‘thank you,’ but this is not enough.

Maryam: I thank them. It’s true we didn’t see the letters they sent, but we knew there was a large group supporting us. This was a huge encouragement to us and helped us to stand firm. We heard from our guards that forty to fifty letters were coming every day. They saw how Christians stood together to support their own. This was something that gave us hope.


(To read about more Christians who are imprisoned and to write letters to them - the letters are translated online...very easy process...go to Prisoner Alert)