We invite you to share an uplifting word with those that are going through hardship. Join us as we encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ through letters. Please note that this campaign has been extended until 15 January 2020!
L-R: Victor, Ebrahim, Nasser and Shamiram
Please write to those in prison:
Ebrahim Firouzi (31) was charged with 'promoting Christian Zionism' following his arrest in March 2013. He was tried at the Revolutionary Court in his hometown of Robat Karim, just to the south-west of Tehran, charged for conducting evangelism activities. He has been imprisoned since August 2013, and though he was due for release in 2015, he was kept back under new charges of 'acting against national security, gathering and collusion' and sentenced to a further five years in jail. He has now been released and is about to begin two years in exile as part of his sentence - please pray for God's protection.
Nasser-Navard Gol-Tapeh (57) is an Iranian convert to Christianity serving ten years in prison for 'missionary activities'. He was first arrested in June 2016 alongside three Azerbaijanis following a raid on a wedding party. The four men were sentenced a year later, but the Azerbaijanis have not been forced to return to Iran to serve their sentences.
Nasser lost his appeal against his sentence in November 2017 and was moved to Evin Prison in January. He recently wrote from prison, "I thank God in perfect joy and peace for considering me worthy to be here because of my faith in and witness to Jesus Christ."
Please write to those on bail:
Pastor Victor Bet-Tamraz was arrested with two members of his church in 2014 as they celebrated Christmas together. The government had already closed the Tehran Pentecostal Assyrian Church, which he led, in 2009. He was found guilty of 'conducting evangelism' and 'illegal house-church activities', among other charges, and given a ten-year prison sentence. His first appeal hearing was heard in June this year, but the court’s decision is awaited. He is on bail at the moment, and it is hard to be in a state of uncertainty, not knowing if he will be called to serve his prison term.
Shamiram Isavi Khabizeh, the wife of Victor Bet-Tamraz, is appealing against a five-year prison sentence for 'acting against national security and against the regime by organising small groups, attending a seminary abroad and training church leaders and pastors to act as spies'. Shamiram is awaiting the results of her appeal, and is out on bail at the moment. Please pray that her appeal is heard and that she will be set free.
Find out the latest information on Pastor Victor and Shamiram's appeals.
Security guidelines for letter writing:
- Be brief and encouraging
- Please do not mention Open Doors in your letter or card
- You may provide your name, but not your full address
- Please do not criticise a country's religion or religious extremists, its government, judicial system, or political leaders
- Please do not use cards with images of animals on them as they are not culturally appropriate
- Please do not send money or make proposals to help.
Please send your letters/cards in one envelope to Open Doors UK & Ireland, PO Box 6, Witney OX29 6WG. Please note that this letter-writing campaign ends on 15 January 2020.
Not sure where to start? Check out these simple letter-writing guidelines.
'I THOUGHT EVERYONE HAD FORGOTTEN ABOUT ME'
In 2017, Maryam Naghash Zargaran from Iran was released after four years in prison. She recieved hundreds of letters and cards from Christians all around the world, and was finally able to read them after leaving prison.
She says, "I thought everyone had forgotten about me when I was in prison... I want to thank everyone who prayed for me. I may never meet them in person, I might never be able to embrace them, but they are my family. I want to say a big thank you. I send you love and kisses. You are in my heart and so dear to me."
Your letters mean so much to the people who receive them. Thank you!