With our lives lived out online, it’s easy to feel like we know someone we’ve never met.
In fact, I feel that way about several of you!
Do you realize we’ve read each other’s blogs for nearly a decade now?
I feel like we’re far away friends.
Today I want to introduce you to some more far away friends of mine.
We’ve never met, and they don’t even know I exist.
However, through the course of time, and following their story online, I feel a connection with this family.
It’s like the connection I feel with you.
I’d like to introduce the Abedini family.
In some ways, they were probably a lot like you and me.
Just a couple in their 30s, enjoying life.
They had family outings and traditions. Funny family jokes, and favorite family restaurants.
To give you a little background, after converting to Christianity in Iran (total heresy), Saeed met his beautiful wife Naghmeh and they started a life as citizens in America
Although living in America, Saeed’s extended family continues to reside in Iran, a place obviously near to his heart.
He began plans to open a government approved orphanage back in Iran to create a safe place for children without parents. Things progressed beautifully. He and his family travelled freely between countries as they moved forward.
However, in 2012, life completely changed for this young family.
While preparing to leave Iran and return home, Saeed was unallowed to leave and detained by the Iranian Revolutionary army.
Soon after he was thrown in prison, where he remains today.
I’ve watched this family’s story go up and down, up and down, over the years, often included amongst much bigger US-Iran discussions.
I’ve read the many incredibly beautiful and intimate letters between these families that are posted on numerous websites.
Most recently, it was this one that compelled me to write today’s post.
His son, Jacob, turned 7 this week. He sent his father a personal invitation to his birthday party, hoping he might me able to make it home from prison.
Can you imagine the anguish Saeed felt knowing he wouldn’t be there this week?
Not eating cake or assembling some over-complicated toy for his son.
Instead of being bitter, and instead of writing a letter full of frustration over the situation, this modern day Paul wrote a beautiful, empowering letter of encouragement to his son, and the world.
Please take two minutes and read the two letters I linked to. They are very intimate and precious, and are certainly worth the time.
I pray daily for his protection and release. However, while he is in prison, I also pray he is a light in such a dark place.
God is using his story in such a mighty way. When you read the letters you’ll see firsthand how spirit filled they are. They’re truly the words of a man trusting God in the blackest of nights.
May we all seek and trust Him in our own situations, being a light in whatever circumstance we face. I know it is God and God alone giving Saeed the strength to face each day and live as a testimony.
I don’t know why he hasn’t been released.
I don’t know why Jacob spent another birthday without his dad.
But I know, just like the Abedinis, I’m trusting God and his perfect will to be accomplished as we wait for their reunion.
I cannot adequately express the anguish I feel over this separated family.
I can’t begin to convey the hurt I feel for the beatings and mistreatment of Saeed as he sits in prison.
I just can’t.
There’s so much more to this story, and such visceral feelings involved. It’s because I feel like I know them, just like I know some of you.
Because it’s personal. They are my family in Christ.
I can’t sum it up in a pretty blog post.
Today, I ask you please take a moment to pray for the Abedini family.
Pray for Naghmeh as she wears so many hats right now, being mommy and also championing for her husband’s release. Pray she is a light and testimony, and pray for peace, rest, wisdom, and strength.
Pray for their precious children. For their protection. For softened hearts. That they seek the I AM, Saeed wrote about.
Pray for Saeed. Pray for his physical body and health. Pray he senses the peace of the Holy Spirit and is strengthened and encouraged. Pray for opportunities for him to be a light and show love, despite the circumstances- even in prison. Pray Jesus moves in the walls of this prison.
So yeah. Now you’ve met them. I’m forever encouraged and changed by their story. I can’t do it justice here, but perhaps you’ll dig into it and be forever changed too.
If you’re so inclined, you can sign the petition for his release here.
Thanks for checking in today. I’m thankful for the weekend and the fact we have no real plans. I’m looking forward to it. What about you?