(Right now I'd like some sympathy as I wrote this blog entry about a month ago and somehow it was deleted before I published it. It's taken me so long to actually get round to putting it together again, out of anger and protest against the blogging app I use. I know you understand my pain here right?).
Recently I read the booking 'Captive In Iran', written by two Iranian women called Maryam Rostampour & Mariziyeh Amirizadeh. In my new, quick way of answering 4 questions, I'm quite enjoying this review of books, it helps me process my takeaways from them. Here is mine for this one…
1. What's it about? Captive In Iran follows the really story of Maryam and Mariziyeh as they are arrested in Iran for giving out Bibles. Although Christianity is not illegal in the country, the regime are strongly against any evangelism and spreading of the gospel there. These two women write about their experience over nearly a year in the terrible conditions of prison in Iran, how they continued to impact the women around them in the prisons for Christ, and how despite pressure, temptation and everything they were put through, they stood up for and close to Jesus in this time. The book also shares insights as to what life is like in Iran and how aspects of the regime are simply not right, for example a law that allows men to temporarily be married to a second wife in order to satisfy 'needs'. Let's remember, this all happened just recently in 2009.
2. What's the best bit? Considering the subject matter it's not right to say that there is a 'best bit', but it's great to read about the wonderful stories of how the 2 women just simply kept reaching out listening, and loving the other women in the prison. Some of them responded well to the girls, and others they had a tough challenge with them. But their determination to love was great. For me, I felt there are similarities in their faith and the stories themselves with Brother Yun in the Heavenly Man, the difference being a sense of vulnerability the women shared, and reality to their emotions they were feeling.
3. Any tweetable lines? Too big to tweet, but this short paragraph sums up some of the persistence these girls showed…”I have live 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.”
4. Should I read it? In honesty it's not usually the kind of book I read. I was bought it by a friend and thought I would read it! It's a fascinating story. Whilst I'm on the honesty train, it did take a while to read and at times part of me was thinking 'if there was a 30min documentary about this, I'd much rather watch that than read the book.” But, it's a great story of determination, patience, perseverence and a big dose of a reality check for us Christian Westerners to see what a privileged place we live in as we worship and evangelise legally, in a countries where we have rights. Why not read it, and see for yourself what it really means to stand up for Christ.