By Naghmeh Abedini, wife of Pastor Saeed Abedini
For everyone following the imprisonment of my husband, Saeed Abedini, June 30th marks the looming deadline of when the United States was supposed to conclude the lengthy negotiations with Iran on its nuclear development. Since the deadline was set in April, June 30th has signified a potential turning point for whether the United States would secure Saeed’s release before walking away from the negotiating table. Yesterday, news broke that the June 30th deadline would come and go and the talks would be extended for an unspecified number of days.
The extension signifies an extended opportunity for our government to arrange Saeed’s release—an opportunity I pray our government will not take lightly or let slip through the cracks.
Meanwhile, our family waits without any word on the status of these efforts.
For Saeed and me, June 30th has not always been about such weighty political entanglements. Instead, June 30th was full of the glorious memories we had of entering into the covenant of marriage with each other on June 30, 2004. As we spend this eleventh anniversary apart, I decided to share with our supporters the letter I wrote for my husband.
To my dearest Saeed on our 11th year anniversary,
Every year on our anniversary I would think of what is the best gift that I could give you. Since you have been imprisoned in Iran, the process has gotten that much harder. What do you give a prisoner who is thousands of miles away? There is so much I want to give you. Good food, clean water, fresh air—I want to be there to nurse you back to health, to give you a hug, a touch—to give you your freedom. Things I cannot give you.
The Bible says to remember those in prison as if we are in prison with them and to feel your pain as if in our own bodies (Hebrews 13:3). For 1007 days I have remembered you in prayer and felt your pain. For 1007 days I have been in prison with you as your wife and soul mate. Each night I have struggled with anxiety and a sense of urgency that we need to get you out. Each night that I have laid my head on our bed, I have hugged your empty spot and have wept myself to sleep. Each morning I have woken up with an excruciating pain to my new reality without you. I have prayed. Oh how I have prayed.
I want you to know that since your imprisonment I have held prayer vigils every year as an anniversary gift to you. To let you know that you are not forgotten. That your wife and the body of Christ are standing with you as you stand for your faith in Jesus. This year we are doing another one on September 26th to mark the three years of your imprisonment. . This year as my gift to you, the focus will not just be praying for you and the persecuted church, but also for something that is dear to your heart—something that you have mentioned in your recent letter and something that you have mentioned in each prison visit—something that you are praying for daily. This year we will also be praying for revival in America.
Saeed, your wife wants you to know that you are NOT forgotten. You are covered in prayer. Your wife and the body of Christ are standing with you. We are giving you what prison walls cannot take away. We are giving you our prayers.
Your loving wife,
I am grateful that, unlike ordinary news stories that fade quickly behind tomorrow’s headlines, Saeed’s suffering is never far from the hearts and minds of his brothers and sisters in Christ around the world. Thank you for hearing my heart for prayer and sharing in this anniversary with me.
For more information on how to host a prayer vigil in your town or to register a vigil location, please go to www.saeedvigil.com.
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