“‘Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.”
– Hebrews 13:3
Write a Letter to a Persecuted Christian Inmate
Update: Christian Orphanage Founder Acquitted of All Charges!
ICC has previously reported on the arrest of Professor Solomon Tarfa, who, along with his wife, founded Du Merci orphanage in Nigeria’s Kano state in 1996. For over two decades, the couple rescued abandoned children with the mission “to glorify God by ministering to orphans and vulnerable children by meeting their mental, physical, spiritual and social needs.”
Police raided the orphanage on Christmas Day 2019 and arrested Professor Tarfa without bail. The 27 children living in the orphanage were transferred to government-run facilities. Even though Professor Tarfa’s wife, Mercy, could provide all the necessary documents, the government declared that the orphanage was unregistered and shut it down. The children were given Islamic names and taken to daily Muslim prayers once they were situated in the government facilities.
Since then, Professor Tarfa has been serving a two-year prison sentence after he was charged with abducting children from their legal guardians to hold them in an unregistered orphanage and forging a certificate of registration for the orphanage.
Professor Tarfa was acquitted of the abduction charges in June of 2021 and was released on bail. However, he still faced forgery charges until his full acquittal on January 27, 2023. ICC previously reported on the unjust way authorities prolonged his trial, highlighting the discrimination and persecution Christians face within Nigeria’s legal system.
This is what Solomon told ICC:
God had a plan all along. Man may not know His plans, but what God begins He brings to a perfect end.
I received 9 letters and 13 postcards from believers around the world, including Canada, the U.K., Finland, the U.S., and other countries. They were amazing because they contained scriptures and so many encouragements to help me forgive those who had accused me wrongly. The first time I received the letters, I was feeling down that morning. I received a call that I had received the letters. I read the letters over the next few days and was greatly encouraged. I found that the letters went through the headquarters in Abuja. The prison chaplain and intelligence staff went through the letters in my presence and in front of other prison welfare staff before giving them to me to check for security concerns. They did not let me reply, so I gave them to my wife to reply for me in cases where there were names and addresses. In total I received 22 postcards and letters.
My wife and I appreciate all the people worldwide who wrote to me while I was in prison. The scriptures I received were encouraging and strengthened me during my time in prison.
Fall 2022: An Update from A Prisoner’s Wife!
Professor Solomon Tarfa founded a Christian orphanage in Nigeria with his wife in 1996. In 2019, authorities raided the orphanage without a warrant and arrested Professor Tarfa, accusing him of fraud. He was recently rearrested and sentenced to two years in prison on March 3, 2022.
This is what Solomon’s wife told ICC:
“Thanks so much for your concern and advocacy for my husband and the children of du Merci Orphanage. We are praying for God’s grace and blessings upon you. My husband receives a lot of letters from lovely brethren across the world encouraging him to remain strong and steadfast.
“We are trusting God, who is in control of the situation. Solomon is really encouraged by the admonitions he receives in the letters. The prison authorities were scared when they started to receive the letters, but they had to open them and read them before him. They asked him to give the letters to me and will not allow him to reply to them. I will collect the letters and reply. Thanks so much.”
Write a Letter to a Persecuted Brother or Sister
Our brothers and sisters sit in prisons all around the world, 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 each 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 around the world 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 around the world. 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 were, are isolated in prison because of the Gospel.
After submitting the form, a message will appear with two clickable hyperlinks. Click these links to download your 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.
Meet one of our brother currently
in prison for their faith
Minister An Yankui was targeted for traveling to a Christian conference in Malaysia and charged with “illegal border crossing.” Minister An has connections to the highly persecuted Early Rain Covenant Church, which has made him and his church a target for the Chinese authorities.
Join us in reaching out to our persecuted Christian family worldwide
Join our mailing list
Sign up to keep up to date with the latest Persecution news, see your gifts in action, and find out how to get involved to help persecuted believers worldwide.