Amazing news! Pastor Behnam Irani has finally been released after six years in prison in Iran.
Behnam was given a five-year suspended sentence in 2008, after he was charged with ‘action against national security’ (he had become a Christian in 1992, before becoming a pastor of the ‘Church of Iran’ in 2002).
But in 2010, Behnam was re-arrested during a house church service. In May 2011, he was summoned to serve a one-year prison sentence for new charges of action against national security – to which a suspended five-year sentence was later added.
He’s suffered health problems, some as a result of violence from fellow prisoners, and faced massive uncertainty over his imprisonment with fresh charges appearing. Two years ago he was sentenced to a further 6 years in prison (and was to be exiled to a site on the Afghanistan border). But, after a successful appeal those charges were dropped.
Middle East Concern report that he was released from prison yesterday evening (17 October).
Thank you to everyone who has been praying for Behnam and has written to encourage him over the past few years. Your prayers an actions have been making a real difference!
In November 2014, Behnam wrote a message to his friends to encourage them, saying:
“Many of my cellmates in prison ask me why I am paying such a huge price for my belief in Jesus Christ. They ask me why I don’t just deny my belief and go back to my wife and children? I then ask myself: what cost did that the Lord pay to save me, and to transfer me from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light? The death of Jesus Christ on cross, blood of the Lamb of God! Yes this is a huge price. Therefore I am also able to prefer prison over being set free. I have decided to keep my faith in our Lord and stay in prison.
“I encourage you to understand the value of your faith. We have received salvation for free but remember it was not free. God paid for it. He sacrificed his beloved Son Jesus Christ. Remember that there is only one way to God and Jesus told us about it:
‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’ John 14:6”
Friends of Behnam are thankful for his release, but request further prayer for him and his family.
Source: Middle East Concern
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