Pastor Saeed Abedini writes a letter home

By December 19, 2014
American Pastor Saeed Abedini, a Muslim convert to Christianity, faces an 8 year prison sentence after his September 2012 arrest and indictment in Iran because of his religious beliefs. The Iranian government refuses to recognize his U.S. citizenship or make his charges public. Abedini's U.S.-based family is being represented by the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ). (Photos courtesy of The American Center for Law and Justice).

American Pastor Saeed Abedini, a Muslim convert to Christianity, faces an 8-year prison sentence after his September 2012 arrest and indictment in Iran because of his religious beliefs. The Iranian government refuses to recognize his U.S. citizenship or make his charges public. Abedini’s U.S.-based family is being represented by the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ). (Photos courtesy of The American Center for Law and Justice).

Iran (ACLJ/MNN) — Christmas is generally a time of warmth, joy, and hope. However, there are people all around you missing loved ones even more during the holidays. This is true for Pastor Saeed Abedini and his family. While his situation is anything but warm and happy, he is finding hope, strength, and joy in the birth of Jesus Christ.

The American Center for Law and Justice shares the following update:

American Pastor Saeed Abedini, a U.S. citizen imprisoned in Iran for his Christian faith, has written a heartbreaking letter from his prison cell.

He talks about both the difficulty of spending Christmas trapped in a cold dark prison cell and how his faith in Christ is carrying him through this difficult time.

He writes:

These days are very cold here. My small space beside the window is without glass, making most nights unbearable to sleep. The treatment by fellow prisoners is also quite cold and at times hostile. Some of my fellow prisoners don’t like me because I am a convert and a pastor. They look at me with shame as someone who has betrayed his former religion. The guards can’t even stand the paper cross that I have made and hung next to me as a sign of my faith and in anticipation of celebrating my Savior’s birth. They have threatened me and forced me to remove it. This is the first Christmas that I am completely without my family; all of my family is presently outside of the country. These conditions have made this upcoming Christmas season very hard, cold, and shattering for me. It appears that I am alone with no one left beside me.

But he also wrote what Christmas means to him in the midst of this turmoil:

Christmas means that God came so that He would enter your hearts today and transform your lives and to replace your pain with indescribable joy.

The same way that the heat from the earth’s core melts the hard stones in itself and produces lava, the fiery love of God, Jesus Christ, through the virgin Mary’s womb came to earth on Christmas to melt the hard heart of sin and wickedness of the world and removes them from our life. 

The letter was sent to a family member. It was just last week that a relative was able to visit him–the first time a family member has been able to visit him in well over a month. He remains in need of medical care, suffering from increased pain from internal injuries sustained as a result of multiple prison beatings throughout the course of more than two years in a harsh Iranian prison.

Yet even in the darkest of circumstance,s the light of Christ shines through. He concluded his message with this charge to everyone who reads his words: “So this Christmas let the lava-like love of Christ enter into the depth of your heart and make you fiery, ready to pay any cost in order to bring the same lava love to the cold world around you, transforming them with the true message of Christmas.”

Pastor Saeed’s wife, Naghmeh, and their two young kids, Jacob and Rebekka, are spending their third Christmas without their husband and father. Naghmeh said:

Reading this Christmas letter is quite difficult knowing the harsh condition that Saeed is in and the adversity that he faces daily. Saeed…I wish you could see the lives that are touched and transformed because of you standing strong in your faith in Jesus Christ. The kids and I miss you and cannot imagine another Christmas without you, but we are proud of you and your endurance. Don’t give up hope. Many are praying and taking action to bring you home.

This Christmas, as we celebrate our Savior, we must remember those who are in chains for their faith, in chains for the very Gospel–the Good News–we are celebrating.

Please continue to sign the petition for Pastor Saeed’s freedom as we work to secure his release. And pray for Pastor Saeed to remain strong during this trying time.

You can download Pastor Saeed’s letter here. To sign the petition, click here.


  • Lu Brumbaugh says:

    I am praying for Pastor Saeed’s release. I pray that our government will get involved. Prayerfully, Lu Brumbaugh

  • I pray in the name of Jesus comfort, protection and peace for Pastor and his family. I pray that the Lord will change the hearts of theIranian government officials toward Pastor. I pray for the immediate release and that our government will do more of behalf of this dear brother.

  • Nicole says:

    There’s another simple thing we can do to encourage the family. They just announced it on the radio.

    Nagmeh is friends with radio DJ Brant Hanson, and he’s encouraged everyone to cut out a paper cross (like the one Saeed made), put it on their Christmas tree, take a photo, and post it to his Facebook page (Brant Hanson Page). Nagmeh is on that page and this is meant to be an encouragement to her that people have not forgotten them. And of course, continue praying as you do so!

  • Nicole says:

    Oops! Misspelled that. It’s Brant HansEn, not Hanson.

  • My wife & I and our church are praying for the soon release & healing of pastor Saeed Abedini and his family. Please, keep the cross shining. Love & prayers, pastor Freddie Powell (Merry CHRISTmas)

  • Minda Kipara says:

    Pastor Saeed and family we are praying for God’s intervention for your release, and pray that God will give your family peace that surpasses all men understanding this festive season. We Love you Pastor and we will continue praying.

  • Thank you, dear brethren, for making news known with regard
    to Pastor Abedini. Lord willing, with the movement of friendly
    Conversation between America and Iran, our dear brother can
    be free to return to America. Let us pray without ceasing.

  • Jason says:

    In America, Christians pray and cut out paper crosses, but how can we suffer with you? How can we show our hearts are crying out unified to get Americans to respond to an American being imprisoned for his faith? We must show our willingness to suffer.

    For the past year and a half, I’ve stopped eating at restaurants. I take my children to Chick-fil-a or another restaurant with a playplace sometimes for them to eat. I find a bakery, grocery/convenience store, movie theater or bowling alley with secondary meal service. Occasionally a friend or family member orders food from a restaurant for their meal when we’re visiting and I eat what they serve at their home, but I let them follow their conscience if they know I’m praying for Pastor Saeed.

    The most difficult things I’ve faced: Dating without restaurants in our culture (she still said yes), missed two company Christmas parties, killed going out for lunch after church and eating with and buying lunches for apprentices. Many people think it’s dumb.

    The best experiences: My children think and pray about Pastor Saeed with me. My fiancé has proven her willlingness to suffer through with my decisions. Others ask when they notice I’m not eating and my children tell them about Pastor Saeed.

    Pastor Saeed has given up way more than a trip to the Olive Garden with Nagmeh and his kids as he prays for us and witnesses to those who want to kill him. Cutting out a paper cross can cost him his life. I know what I’m doing is not possible for some and not as much as others, like his family, are doing. I hope if you are praying for him you will consider suffering with him with me or in some way that makes sense for you as you pray.

  • Loretta says:

    I was reading the Bible this morning and I thought of Pastor Saeed with this verse in Psalm 102:20 “To hear the groaning of the prisoner; to loose those that are appointed to death”

  • Samantha says:

    Dear Pastor Abedini,
    I know your situation might be difficult but God always has a purpose on everything He allows to happen in our lives. Even though you mught not understand or acept what you are living, God is in control and is with you there where you are now. Try asking God what does He wants you to do in that place you are at this moment, because there might be a big purpose on it.
    Those people that are around you that reject you a treat you in a way you dont like also need Jesus in their lives, and you might be the instrument God chose to bring them to Him.
    Remember Romans 8:28 “all things work for the good of those who love God, those who live according to His purpose.”
    And remember, you dont need to have a cross beside you to show Jesus because the One who once hanged on the cross lives inside you.
    God bless you!

  • Dear Jesus, May Pastor Saeed feel the strength and peace and courage that comes from trusting Jesus in all things. And Lord I pray rescue him and bring him home to his family. In Jesus name , May Your will be done. We love you Lord God.

  • Scott says:

    Thank you MNN and the ACLJ for the work you are doing to free Pastor Saeed and continuing to shed light on the plight of this courageous man. “Lord, continue to give strength and encouragement to Pastor Saeed and to his family and may his freedom Be granted soon, Amen.”

  • Scott says:

    Thank you MNN and the ACLJ for continuing to enlighten people of the plight of Pastor Saeed. And the work you are doing to fight for his freedom. His courage and faith is incredible. “Lord, we pray for the freedom of Pastor Saeed, give him strength and encouragement in such a difficult time, Amen.”

  • rush says:

    Having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; He has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.
    Let’s continue to stand in the gap and pray, that God who is rich in mercy and compassion, will empower our brother Saeed with His Holy Sprit so that in the face of such harshness our bro Saeed with fight the good fight of faith and never give up. Life on earth is just like the passing breeze which does not return, let’s pray that all who believe in Christ for Salavation to be ours in Jesus name..Amen

    Colossians 2 : 14-15

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