Lifting up all of you in prayer. WT, thanks for the wonderful prayer for all of us and I add my Amen to yours!
Those here who know me know that I am an activist with Voice of the Martyrs, ChinaAid, and other organizations for the persecuted church worldwide. Today, the American Center for Law and Justice released a letter from Pastor Youcef who has been given the death penalty in Iran for converting to Christianity and refusing to recant his faith (the authorities later made up rape charges against him, thinking that would stop the international outcry over his death sentence--it has not worked; Pastor Youcef's lawyer is now in Iranian prison as well). I am sure the Iranian authorities reviewed the letter before allowing Pastor Youcef to send it out, but it is still an amazing testemony. I wanted to share part of it with you; we think we have problems, and we do, but as yet we do not face death for our choice of Christianity. Here is the beginning of the letter:
"Greetings from your servant and younger brother in Christ, Youcef Nadarkhani.
To: All those who are concerned and worried about my current situation.
First, I would like to inform all of my beloved brothers and sisters that I am in perfect health in the flesh and spirit. And I try to have a little different approach from others to these days, and consider it as the day of exam and trial of my faith. And in these days which are hard in order to prove your loyalty and sincerity to God, I am trying to do the best in my power to stay right with what I have learned from God's commandments.
I need to remind my beloveds, though my trial due has been so long, and as in the flesh I wish these days to end, yet I have surrendered myself to God's will."
Please keep Pastor Youcef in prayer, along with the blind Chinese lawyer who is under detention in a hospital now that the U.S. Embassy abandoned him (Chen Guangcheng) and his nephew who is in prison and his friends and family who are persecuted or arrested for helping him escape to the embassy ("Pearl" is the woman who drove him to meet the Americans who should have helped him; she is now missing).
Attorney Gao Zheshing is still alive in a prison in a remote area of China where friends and family cannot afford to travel but he spoke by phone to his brother and he is no longer being tortured; he will just never be released.
Many suffer for what we take for granted. We are just beginning to see the attacks on religion here that others have been imprisoned, tortured, and killed over--to own a Bible, to hold a house church meeting, to defend the poor and needy, to protest forced abortions, to uphold free speech. May God preserve them--free them if it is His will or take them home or spare them further abuse from their captors, giving them strength to stand. May God give us the strength and awareness to befriend and support those brothers and sisters who are persecuted for their beliefs.