Being a Christian can be dangerous in Iran. If you’re from a Muslim background you can be punished for choosing to follow Jesus – even with death, whilst producing Christian materials or holding church services in Farsi (the main language in Iran) is illegal. So it’s easy to see why Iranian Christian Nasser Navard Goltapeh is currently in prison. He and three visitors from Azerbaijan were arrested on 24 June 2016 at a private gathering in Tehran. They were held in solitary confinement for two months in Evin Prison and endured intense interrogation.
Following a court hearing in May 2017, Nasser was sentenced to 10 years in prison for “action against national security and establishing house churches”. He’s now been in prison just over two years.
Nasser recently wrote to Christians around the world. He starts by quoting another Christian who also spent time in prison for their faith – Paul, who wrote a big chunk of the New Testament.
“Philippians 1:12: “Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel.”
In his letter dated 31 January, Nasser writes: “I am confident in all hardships and I believe I will become free by Him who I have hope… the Lord our God does not forget his children… so let me be bold and say, ‘The Lord is my helper.'”
“Remember me in your prayers always – you know that your prayers are a sweet smelling offering to God and a sacrifice which is accepted and pleasing to him.”
Nasser also requests prayer for his family to come to know Jesus, for the Iranian people and for the spread of the gospel. He challenges Christians to remain firm in their faith and to show concern for one another, not to give up meeting together and to work hard to spread the Gospel. Finally, he asks for prayer for the other Christians in prison.
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