Sign the ACLJ petition

Like my series of articles last year on Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, there is yet another Christian Pastor who’s been in the Iranian headlines over the last several months: Pastor Saeed Abedini.

An American citizen, married, with two children, Saeed converted from Islam to Christianity in 2000 and began planting house churches, acts the Iranian Government’s Islamic Revolutionary Court deems as “threatening the national security.” He was forcefully removed from a bus last September while working on his family’s orphanage following a trip into Pakistan. His arrest was followed by what Western authorities bemoan as a “sham trial,” and has now been served an eight-year sentence in one of Iran’s most deadly prisons. Missions group Asia Harvest is noted as reporting that some prisoners last “only a few days or weeks before they perish” in Evin Prison.

Together with his wife, Naghmeh, Pastor Saeed was active in starting around two-thousand underground house churches. Naghmeh’s last phone call with her husband on Monday came with confirmation of her husband’s violent physical and physiological torture. His phone calls are also being more heavily restricted since his January 27th verdict.

“When I heard this from my husband, I cried. It broke my heart. Behind those walls he feels helpless and relies on us to be his voice. It is so easy to feel forgotten in the walls of the prison. Please help me make sure he is never forgotten,” Naghmeh told the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ).

Like Yocef, Saeed is close in age to me—one year younger. Tracking these types of stories hits close to home. Not only am I reticent to endure torture (as I think anyone would), but I can’t even begin to imagine the impact imprisonment and torture on the grounds of religious bias would have on my wife, my children, and the rest of my family and friends.

But fear can not cripple us. We are called to serve, pray, organize and reach the unreached, bind up the broken and set captives free. It is our Great Commission.

Even while I prepare to leave for China next week, I realize that my own life is in jeopardy. But then again, it always has been.

I once asked Dr. Leslie James, president and founder of he William Carey School of World Missions in Durban, South Africa why he had never considered leaving South Africa (which is the most beautiful and violent country I’ve ever traveled to). His famous reply is one I carry with me to this day:

If I flee to a safe town in a safe country, I can just as easily die in a car accident as I can here of a gun shot. It makes no difference when you realize it’s only God’s hand than keeps you alive. So I would much rather live in a dangerous place with God’s favor than in a safe place without it.

So today I’m praying for God’s favor on Pastor Saeed and his family. I’m praying for souls to come to Jesus in Iran. And I’m signing the petition put forth by the ACLJ in the hopes that the current political and legal bodies of our day will help bring about Saeed’s release.

Please do the same. Then tell those you know.


ADDITIONALLY: Read William Jepma’s article and watch the Save Saeed video he links to. Well worth it.


Victoria C · 8 Feb ’13 at 8:11 am

Would has never heard of this without you, thank you so much for sharing and spreading awareness. I doubt anyone reading this will hesitate to help in any way. Loving the power of the world wide web in cases like these!

    Christopher Hopper · 8 Feb ’13 at 9:00 am


    Thanks for chiming in, and showing your support. It’s my honor, and I appreciate you reading and spreading the word.

    You’re right, the power of the world-voice for Kingdom-causes is significant.


Suzanne Smith · 8 Feb ’13 at 8:27 am

Please release Pastor Saeed Abedini!

Billy Jepma · 8 Feb ’13 at 9:10 am

I just heard about this on Wednesday, and out up my own blog post as soon as I could. The injustice in all of this is unbelievable, and I just hope and pray the ACLJ is able to bring Saeed home. In the meantime, I’ll be bugging everyone I know into signing the petition. It’s the least I can do for Saeed and his family.

    Christopher Hopper · 8 Feb ’13 at 9:32 am

    Thanks, Billy. I share your feelings.

    Added a link to your post above.

    Billy Jepma · 8 Feb ’13 at 9:38 am

    😀 Thanks. Appreciate it.

Gabe · 8 Feb ’13 at 9:56 am

Signed! Will blog about this and send out an email.

mark butash · 8 Feb ’13 at 7:52 pm

I Pray for Pastor Saeed and his Family,May JESUS our LORD strengthen him.Will tell freinds,

CNGoodhue · 9 Feb ’13 at 6:04 pm

I wonder if Obama cares enough about Mr. Abedini to send in a SEAL team…

    Christopher Hopper · 9 Feb ’13 at 10:10 pm

    Tremendous question to be asked of our entire government.

    I have a personal friend, pastor of a large church, who had two members of a missions team from their church to Latin America get kidnapped by rebels. He spent thousands of dollars of his own money to send in a private mercenary force (ret special forces) to rescue them.

    His actual quote to the team:

    “I don’t care what you have to do, just get them home.”

    Both people were rescued. No one was lost from the opps team.

    If the church can do that, you’d think our government could do it even better.

    Or maybe not.

CNGoodhue · 9 Feb ’13 at 11:39 pm

Wow! He seems like a great person! 😀

Maybe they could, but I doubt they will do something about it… 🙁

If I was president right now, I would already have a team in Iran…but I’m not a president, and there is a pretty slim chance I ever will be.

I hope that Mr. Abedini will be saved, and if not, at least he’ll be in a better place, where no evil roams. I imagine his wife and kids are very worried… 🙁

Aliyah Weathers · 22 Feb ’13 at 8:09 am

What if an Iranian was here in America and imprisoned for being Muslim and trying to build mosques? This is a HUGE injustice. I’m praying for Saeed and his family but let us not forget that God is in control.

    Christopher Hopper · 22 Feb ’13 at 11:48 am

    Thanks for your prayers! May justice reign across the nations.

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