It is very unusual that at this time there are two Christians in the world with official death sentences awaiting execution. Normally governments are not so obvious about their evil intentions; this seems to indicate that they are bowing to the pressure of local fundamentalism Muslims. We hope and pray that both of these death sentences will be overturned by higher courts before they are carried out. They are good ones to focus on in your presentations and letter writing. Perhaps God will even use the obvious evil of these rulings to evoke public outcry against the laws that they are based on, and bring about greater freedom for Christians in these countries.
Asia Bibi in Pakistan:
She is the first woman to be sentenced to die under Pakistan’s blasphemy law.
Youcef Nardarkani in Iran:
This one has an extra twist. It appears Youcef is apparently a part of a cult known in the US as the Branhamites. They are as “far out” as Mormons or J.W.’s. But I’m sure the Iranian government sees him as a Christian. What happens to him will have repercussions for the true Christians in Iran. The irony of this situation is that he might die for Christ and yet go to hell. This underscores the vital need for solid teaching for persecuted Christians. We tend to think that persecution automatically imparts spiritual strength. But sometimes, as we can see in 2 Thessalonians and in Hebrews, Satan attacks the church from two directions at once: false teaching from within and persecution from without. (See http://www.theopedia.com/Branhamism for a basic introduction to Branhamism) My heart goes out to Youcef Nadarkhani. He is the same age as I am.
PrisonerAlert.com has contact information for both of these prisoners.
One colleague wrote back to my email:
Thanks for your e-mail. For IDOP I placed a huge poster board of Asia and Youcef in the hallway of our church saying they were on Death row and a blew up their Prisoner profiles really big. I did have a few people show interest and one that said he was going to write. I don't understand how people aren't crowding around the poster looking to see their family on death row and what they can do about it. Too many people see them as people far away and not our true family. I know it's in God's hands. I am going to change how I pray for Youcef and ask that he find Jesus through this. Now I can write him in prison and witness to him.