10/03/2019 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – It wasn’t long after their imprisonment in Iran’s infamous Evin Prison that Maryam and Marziyeh began to receive letters. The letters, over 7,500 of them in all, were sent to them by fellow believers all around the world—individual men, women, and children who each took a couple minutes to write a few words of encouragement to two young women imprisoned for their faith in Iran.
Inspiring, but did the letters even get through to Maryam and Marziyeh?
Actually, they didn’t. Maryam and Marziyeh weren’t allowed to read a single one of the thousands of letters sent to them. Instead, the Iranian judge made the guards read the letters. As the guards read letter after letter, they began to treat Maryam and Marziyeh with the understanding that the world was watching their actions—that people cared what became of Maryam and Marziyeh. The guards even became curious about the Bible verses written in the letters and would come to Maryam and Marziyeh to ask for explanations.
Maryam and Marziyeh told ICC that they believe the letters helped to protect them from physical torture, and it certainly encouraged them to know that believers all around the world were, in their words, “standing with us in that battle, and [letting us] know we were not alone.”
The young women were released in November 2008 and currently reside in the United States, but other brothers and sisters remain in prison all around the world. They face the daily terror of guards not held accountable for their actions, the loneliness and isolation of dark prison cells, and little to no access to the encouragement of the church body. Maryam and Marziyeh were allowed one-minute phone calls to their immediate families, but some imprisoned for their faith don’t even get that.
Alone in prison without assurance of a fair hearing or justice in this life, a letter of encouragement from a fellow believer can make a real, tangible difference to someone incarcerated for his or her faith. Even if they do not or cannot read the words you write, the simple fact that someone on the other side of the world took the time to write them a letter can make a real difference.
ICC is often asked how the church in America can help the persecuted church, and writing letters to prisoners is a wonderful way to do just that.
Request your free letter-writing packet here.