This truly is a remarkable story. These girls were captured and imprisoned by the Iranian regime, charged with apostasy. Having come to Christ, they held secret church in their home and distributed New Testament bibles strategically throughout their community.
I would never attempt to put into my own words what they experienced while in Tehran's notorious Evin Prison. But, it is abundantly clear that what the Enemy meant for evil was used for good. Even under such brutality and despicable conditions. They remained faithful; as did He.
Maryam says it well when she shares "What looked like failure by worldly standards was a great victory for Christ: His message proclaimed under the very noses of a regime desperate to stop it."
Marziyeh adds "The very prison system that tried to silence us was now our megaphone."
On the outside, they had to be careful, quiet, calculated, fearful of being caught.
Once imprisoned, they had a captive crowd, who needed desparately to hear of grace, forgiveness, peace, and hope.
On the outside, they would pray and worship as they could.
On the inside, they prayed endlessly and worshipped shamelessly.
When challenged by a fellow prisoner why they would not simply renounce their faith and just walk out of such a terrible place, Marziyeh countered:
"Our insistence on our faith is not out of stubbornness. You may not be able to understand, because you haven't been through what we have. I have lived with God for many years, during some lonely and difficult times. He is the only support I have. He is my all. We are inseparable. My life has no value without Him. I love God so much that denying Him would be denying my own existence. How could I ever deny something that is in every cell of my body? I would rather spend the rest of my life in prison if that's what it takes to stay close to Him. I would rather be killed than kill the spirit of Christ within me."
Powerful. And not just cheap talk. Had it not been for international coverage, they would have likely been executed for their faith. But, they were prepared to suffer as Christ had.
They now both live in the States, their imprisonment behind them. But, their story will undoubtedly inspire generations to come.