08/18/2022 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – Our brothers and sisters sit in prisons worldwide, there because they refused to back down when threatened for their faith in Christ. 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.
Maryam and Marziyeh
Maryam and Marziyeh, two young Iranian women, operated a Bible smuggling operation in Tehran for years. With only the darkness of the night for protection, they distributed thousands of Bibles to Muslim seekers.
“We put a big map of Tehran on the wall and decided to cover each area. At night, we would carry New Testaments in our backpacks and put them in the mailboxes.” After finishing each area, they would draw a cross on the map and pray for that area.
Maryam and Marziyeh’s evangelism efforts came to a screeching halt when the police discovered what they were doing and arrested them, but not long after their arrest. They began to receive letters – more than 7,500 of them sent from all over the world. Thousands of men, women, and children took a few minutes to write words of encouragement to two young Christians imprisoned for their faith.
Maryam and Marziyeh told ICC that the letters helped protect them, and it greatly encouraged them to know that believers worldwide were “standing with us in the battle, and [letting us] know we were not alone.”
Why write letters?
Maryam and Marziyeh were released in November 2008, but so many others remain in prison worldwide. Every day, they face the terror of guards who aren’t held accountable for their actions. They suffer loneliness and isolation in dark prison cells, with little access to the outside world.
The letters don’t always reach the prisoner. In Maryam and Marziyeh’s case, they never actually got to read a single one. But guess who did read the letters—all 7,500 of them? Their guards! And as the guards read letter after letter, they began to treat Maryam and Marziyeh differently, knowing the world was watching everything they did. The guards even became curious about the Bible verses written in the letters and would ask Maryam and Marziyeh for explanations.
Please consider joining us in writing letters to believers who, like Maryam and Marziyeh, are isolated in prison because of the gospel.
Visit www.persecution.org/letters, and we’ll send you a digital packet that contains everything you need to write your own letters and even organize a small letter-writing event. The packet is complete with profiles of prisoners, simple guidelines, and even a few sample letters to get you started.
Click here to learn more about ICC’s letter-writing initiative and get involved today!