He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?" - Romans 8:32

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Friday, April 23, 2010 

Female Converts Go Before Iranian Judge

The silence from Iran is nerve-racking. There's been no word on the result of last week's court hearing for Maryam Rustampoor and Marzieh Amirizadeh -- Iranian Christians who were arrested by security forces in March 2009.

Todd Nettleton with Voice of the Martyrs says that's not unusual, but their legal strategy is. "They made the argument in court that they couldn't be apostates because they weren't actually Muslims. They said, 'We were born into Muslim families, but we ourselves never made the choice to become Muslims. Therefore, we are Christians, but we are not apostates because we weren't Muslims to begin with.'"

They were arrested March 5, 2009, on charges of anti-state activity and "taking part in illegal gatherings" because of their participation in house church activities. The anti-state charges were later dropped.

They're still facing propagation of the Christian faith and apostasy charges, so keep praying. It's been a test of their endurance.

According to Elam Ministries, although they have been receiving medical treatment for the past five months, they remain weak and suffer from various illnesses. The two had spent 259 days incarcerated in Evin Prison where they were reportedly subjected to psychological abuse, and their medical requests were ignored.

Despite the uncertainties, their testimony encourages other believers. Nettleton says, "They are determined to continue to be a witness for Christ, to continue to stand strong in their faith. We can pray that they'll be encouraged in that, that they will have a sense of peace, a sense of God's presence, and that God will provide the words for them to say when the time comes."

Pray that the peace of God will protect Maryam and Marzieh's hearts and minds and keep them safe. Pray that they will completely recover from their illnesses and be strong -- physically, mentally and spiritually. Pray that all charges will be dropped and they will be set free.


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