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Embark on a chilling journey inside one of the world’s darkest and most dangerous places: Evin, the notorious Tehran prison. Here, prisoners are routinely tortured, abused, and violated. Executions are frequent and sudden. But for two women imprisoned for their Christian faith—Maryam Rostampour and Marziyeh Amirizadeh—this hell on earth was a place of unlikely grace as they reflected God’s love and compassion to their fellow prisoners and guards. Against all odds, Evin would ...
Embark on a chilling journey inside one of the world’s darkest and most dangerous places: Evin, the notorious Tehran prison. Here, prisoners are routinely tortured, abused, and violated. Executions are frequent and sudden. But for two women imprisoned for their Christian faith—Maryam Rostampour and Marziyeh Amirizadeh—this hell on earth was a place of unlikely grace as they reflected God’s love and compassion to their fellow prisoners and guards. Against all odds, Evin would become the only church many of them had ever known.
In Captive in Iran, Maryam and Marziyeh recount their 259 days in Evin. It’s an amazing story of unyielding faith—when denying God would have meant freedom. Of incredible support from strangers around the world who fought for the women’s release. And of bringing God’s light into one of the world’s darkest places—giving hope to those who had lost everything, and showing love to those in despair. Tyndale House Publishers
I arrived home from the dentist to an empty house, and my jaw was throbbing. As I poured a glass of water to take some pain medication, the phone rang. It was my sister, Shirin.
"I'm so glad I caught you at home," she said, her voice anxious. "I had a terrible dream about you last night. I dreamed you had disappeared, and a voice told me you would be in a dark and dreadful place where you would be afraid. Suddenly the sky opened above your head and you were pulled upward by your hair into a beautiful green landscape. Then the voice said, 'This is what is happening to your sister.'"
"Forget about it," I said lightly. "You're getting yourself all worked up over nothing. Everything's fine. Marziyeh and I are going on vacation for two weeks during the New Year's holidays, and you and I can talk again while we're on the road."
The truth was that Marziyeh and I would be traveling, but not on vacation. That was just the story we told our friends and family for their own safety. We would actually be spending the time in other Iranian cities, handing out New Testaments.
To be honest, Shirin's dream bothered me more than I would admit, because I had also recently had a disturbing dream, one in which Marziyeh and I were standing on a hill with a group of boys and girls. A shining old man told a prophecy about each of us. When he looked at Marziyeh and me, he said, "You two will be taken."
With our upcoming trip, and now these two dreams occurring so close together, it was more than a little unsettling.
Whatever God has planned is what will happen.
* * *
I was dozing on the couch when the doorbell rang. I heard Marziyeh's voice in the hallway and some other voices I didn't recognize.
That's odd. Why doesn't she just come in? Maybe she forgot her key.
Peering through the peephole, I saw Marziyeh, another young woman in Islamic dress, and two young men.
"Open the door," the young woman said.
My mouth hurt and my mind was fuzzy from the medication, and I needed time to think.
"You'll have to wait until I change my clothes," I said through the door. For a man who was not a relative to enter the apartment, Islamic law required that I observe the strict dress code prescribed by the Koran.
"Don't worry," the woman answered. "Only I will come inside."
When I opened the door, the woman pushed her way in and immediately escorted me to my room to put on acceptable clothes. When we returned to the living room, Marziyeh was sitting on the couch with her hair properly covered, and the two young men were ransacking our apartment. As we watched in shock and horror, they methodically rummaged through every corner of every room, emptying drawers, cabinets, and closets, and pawing through our books and CDs. They even searched the food pantry in the kitchen.
Of course, they had no search warrant, no written orders of any kind. They were basiji, part of the Revolutionary Guard, and they didn't need permission to do anything. Like most basiji, these two were young and arrogant, bullies in their late teens or early twenties dressed in ragtag outfits that reflected their semiofficial status, somewhere between government militiamen and common thugs. They wore no uniforms, and because they wanted to blend into the crowd, they didn't even wear chafiehs, the black-and-white-checked scarves that some basiji wore symbolically as followers of Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Their clothes were as dirty as they were.
Marziyeh and I had shared this simple apartment north of central Tehran for the past year. It was a quiet flat on a hill, with a fireplace in the living room, white walls, dark red curtains, and modern furniture covered with bold, dark orange fabric and big poofy pillows. The windows in the two bedrooms looked out onto the beautiful Darkeh Mountains, a popular destination for mountain climbers. From the balcony off the kitchen, we could see the street below and the severe, high walls of a nearby prison.
This apartment was our home, our refuge, and also the meeting place of a secret church of young people and others who risked imprisonment or death to worship Jesus Christ with us in violation of the law. In our bedrooms, we each had a stack of plastic chairs and a supply of Christian New Testaments and other literature. From our base of operations, we were quietly spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ in this sprawling city of more than seven million. Now these strangers had arrived without warning and were ordering us around.
"Sit on the couch," one of the basiji snapped, "and don't talk to each other."
He was lanky and nervous, more a boy than a man, with heavy eyebrows, a shock of thick black hair, and a sparse, fuzzy beard. Emboldened by his position and by Islamic law—which places women under the authority of men from age nine, the time girls are considered old enough for marriage—he left no question that we had better cooperate and keep our mouths shut.
The other basiji—older and taller, with fair skin and green eyes—who seemed to be in charge, took a more conciliatory approach. "Don't worry, ladies," he said. "Just stay seated and remain calm."
Though the two men were clearly in command, they had to have a female chaperone, according to Islamic law, in order to enter our home, because we were not relatives of theirs. The young woman wore a chador, the long, loose, lightweight robe that Muslim women must wear in public or in the presence of men who are not relatives. Underneath, we could see her green uniform. Maybe she was some kind of police officer.
Fortunately, while the basiji were searching, Marziyeh and I found an opportunity to hide our cell phones. Our address books, text messages, and photo archives could tie our friends to us and put them in danger. There were pictures on our computer of our missionary trips to India and South Korea. Unfortunately, I hadn't turned off the television before the intruders burst in; our TV was illegal because it had satellite service with programming that was uncensored and therefore a threat to the purity of the Islamic state.
* * *
As the minutes stretched into an hour and then more, the young policewoman kept a close watch on us as the two men began tossing our belongings into boxes on the living room floor. They had found hundreds of Christian-themed CDs and New Testaments in Farsi, the language of Iran. They noticed Christian messages posted on the refrigerator.
"Have you become a Christian?" the older basiji, whose name we learned was Mohammadi, asked Maryam.
"Yes," she answered, her voice strong and confident. "I have been a Christian for eleven years."
He turned to me. "Why did you become a Christian? What bad has our Imam Husein ever done to you?" he demanded, referring to one of our Islamic religious leaders.
"I became a Christian because I met Jesus," I explained. "I didn't turn away from anything. I turned toward Jesus because He came into my heart and called me to Himself."
"So you met Jesus?" Mohammadi asked sarcastically. "What did he look like? Was he black or blond? Did he have a beard?"
I didn't answer. As I watched the systematic destruction of our apartment, I remembered the dreams I'd had that I would one day be in prison, doing battle for my faith. I had told only Maryam and a few other friends about this premonition that I would somehow end up behind bars. "Aren't you afraid of the thought of prison?" they had asked me. "Aren't you afraid of being tortured or raped?" My answer was always the same. "God is my Father, and He would never let these horrible things happen to me. If He did, it would be to fulfill His will in a way I could not understand. It is a mystery, but I will always trust the Lord."
By now it was after 6:00 p.m. and the basiji had been ransacking our apartment for more than two hours. Asking permission to leave the couch, Maryam and I brought them New Testaments and CDs they had overlooked, and even helped to count them: 190 New Testaments and 500 CDs.
Refusing to be intimidated, Maryam said, "You must return all of these to us!"
"I'm sure you'll get them back," Mohammadi promised unconvincingly.
Maryam picked up a NewTestament and handed it to him. "You should take one of these and read it."
"I have," he insisted. "But I've read the real and true version, not one of these distorted ones."
By that he probably meant that he'd read the so-called Gospel of Barnabas, a false version of Scripture, published in Farsi in the 1700s, that portrays Jesus not as the Son of God and Savior of the world, but as a lesser prophet in line with the Koran's description of Him. Many Muslims think this is a Christian Gospel because they've never had a chance to read the real thing.
He held up another book, The Confessions of St. Augustine. "What are you doing with this book?" he demanded.
"You can get it in bookstores all over the country," I replied. "We thought it would be interesting."
As Mohammadi continued poking through our books, I wasn't sure he could even read. If he could, his knowledge of books was sketchy at best—typical of the close-minded, poorly educated people the government had on its payroll by the thousands. He couldn't tell Christian books from the rest. He didn't recognize CDs we had by one of the top music groups in the country.
"The Lord seems to be everywhere in this house," Mohammadi said after a minute.
"You won't find anything but the Lord here," I replied, "because we live with the Lord."
We were on dangerous ground. These people had searched our apartment without a warrant. Now they were likely to arrest us without bringing any charges. Technically, it's not illegal to be a Christian in Iran. However, in practical terms, policemen, Revolutionary Guards, judges, and every other authority in the country interpret the law for themselves and aren't accountable to anyone. These two boys and the young woman with them could charge us with anything, or hold us and not charge us at all. And though being a Christian was not a crime, converting from Islam to another faith and evangelizing on behalf of that faith were considered crimes of apostasy and punishable by death.
While it was true that Maryam and I had been raised in Muslim households and had Islamic names, we had not embraced Islam as children or young adults. In our minds, we had never "converted" from Islam because we'd never really believed in Islam to begin with. We had met each other at an evangelical conference in Turkey, had decided to work together, and had spent the last three years in Tehran quietly sharing the gospel with anyone who was interested. For two of those years, having divided the city into squares on a huge wall map, we had gone out at night between 8:00 p.m. and midnight, visiting one sector at a time. We handed out New Testaments in cafés, gave them to taxi drivers, and left them in cabs, coffee shops, and mailboxes. When we finished a section, we marked it with a cross on our map. In three years altogether, we had given away about twenty thousand New Testaments.
We also traveled outside Tehran, taking Bibles to other cities. We even left some New Testaments inside the temple at Qom, the most sacred holy place in Islam, a place Christians are not even allowed to enter. But what better place to introduce people to the truth of Jesus Christ! Over the years, we had learned to be cautious and to depend on God to protect us wherever we went.
Nonetheless, we had aroused official suspicions. We weren't going to deny our faith or hide it, under any circumstances, but now that the government had its eye on us, our challenge would be staying true to Christ while continuing our ministry without getting caught.
These thoughts and memories raced through my mind as Maryam and I helped the basiji pack up everything they wanted—New Testaments, CDs, our private journals, personal belongings, identity documents, and more. They ordered us to come with them, though we weren't allowed to take any extra clothes or supplies. We had no idea where they were taking us or when we would be home again.
"Should we take winter clothes or summer clothes?" Maryam asked, trying to lighten the mood. There was no answer.
The young woman escorted us out to a small, dingy white car and sat between us in the backseat. The men followed, carrying boxes of our belongings. It was dusk and the wind was getting cold. The street outside our apartment was quiet, but as we drove through the neighborhood, the streets became crowded with holiday shoppers preparing for the Iranian New Year's celebration, which was a little more than two weeks away. Cars jostled for room along the narrow roadways, and the sidewalks were packed to overflowing.
We drove past the prison walls we could see from our kitchen. It was Evin Prison, a notorious compound built during the reign of the Shah to hold those who opposed his regime. Since the Shah's fall from power in 1979, Evin has been used for political prisoners, solitary confinement, and torture of those considered enemies of the Islamic state. We passed its towering red brick walls almost every day. Often we had wondered who was imprisoned there and what their lives were like. Maybe we were about to find out.
Finally we pulled up to the police station in the Gisha neighborhood, a three-story brick building where people came and went all day for motor vehicle documents. As usual, the main entrance was busy. But instead of taking us in through the front door, the basiji ordered us out of the car and escorted us to a quiet back alley out of public view, with extra guards at the door. This was the entrance to Base Two, the facility for the security police who deal with crimes against the state.
* * *
Our incredible, frightening journey had started early that morning, March 5, 2009. As Maryam and I were getting ready to go our separate ways to run some errands, I received a mysterious phone call. A polite voice on the line informed me of a problem with my car registration and asked me to go to the Gisha police station before two o'clock to sort it out. I quickly called the former owner of the car to see if he knew of any problem, but he didn't answer his phone. Then I called an attorney friend to ask if I should be concerned.
"No," my friend assured me. "These problems come up all the time. It's nothing to worry about."
Even so, I couldn't help thinking about what had happened a few days earlier when I went to have my passport renewed. One of the forms had asked me to indicate my religion, and I had checked the box for "Christian." When my turn came at the counter, the clerk was indignant.
"How is this possible?" he demanded. "You have an Islamic name. Your parents are Muslims. How can you be a Christian?"
"With the Lord, anything is possible," I said. The clerk shot me a stern look but said nothing more.
I remembered that exchange as I went on my errands and visited my sister, Elena, before arriving at the police station at about 11:30. A guard at the door stopped me.
"What is your business here?" he asked.
"I received a call saying there might be a problem with my car registration," I explained.
"You should not enter here dressed that way."
I was modestly dressed, with my hair completely covered, as required in public, but I was not wearing the Islamic chador because I am not a Muslim.
"But I have covered myself," I said.
"I've said what I have to say," the guard replied. "The rest is up to you.
But if you come in dressed that way, you will be ignored and no one will help you."
In the interest of getting to the bottom of the documentation mystery, I went back to the apartment and changed, then returned to the police station. By then, the office was closed for lunch and for one of the daily calls to prayer required by Islamic law.
I explained to the guard that I had been told to be at the office no later than 2:00 p.m. The guard insisted the office was closed and that no one could help me now. After several minutes of arguing, I finally convinced him to let me inside, where I explained to the clerk at the counter about the phone call.
"That's impossible," the clerk declared. "I don't think we called you. You must be mistaken." He handed me an address. "Try this office instead."
At that moment, an overweight, middle-aged man in a police uniform walked by. "I am Mr. Haghighat," he said pleasantly. (Haghighat is the Farsi word for "truth." Police officials, judges, and other people in the Iranian government don't use their real names. This man's alias would soon prove ironic.) "I think I can help you," he said. "Follow me."
Excerpted from CAPTIVE IN IRAN by MARYAM ROSTAMPOUR MARZIYEH AMIRIZADEH JOHN PERRY Copyright © 2013 by Maryam Rostampour and Marziyeh Amirizadeh. Excerpted by permission of TYNDALE HOUSE PUBLISHERS, INC.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Posted July 18, 2013
Part Testimony, Part Political Memoir, and Entirely Fascinating.
Maryam and Marziyeh are two Iranian young women who accepted Christianity "legally" (i.e., they had never professed Islam and were free from the laws in Iran punishing conversion from Islam). After being arrested under false pretenses, their home was ransacked, their possessions confiscated, and they were held illegally in a detention center, and then prison, without ever being formally charged. The informal charges quickly became clear during the first and subsequent interrogations: Christianity. Maryam and Marziyeh had answered questions about Christianity, held worship services in their homes, and given Bibles to those who asked for them. And not the rewritten, pro-Islam Bible sponsored by the state: but imported Bibles from Turkey.
Told in alternating voices, their memoir/autobiography offers a detailed account of the life of a persecuted minority inside Iran's legal system. While the authors are straight forward with their testimony and their proselytizing efforts within the prison system, they also use their book to give a voice to the hundreds of other women in Iran's prisons who are held unjustly. Women who went out to buy bread, were imprisoned for unknowingly being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and whose families were blackmailed with the knowledge that once someone is arrested in Iran, they are guilty forever regardless of trial. Or women who were subjected to intolerable domestic and spousal abuse, defended themselves, and who were placed in prison, even executed, at their husbands' and in-laws' whims. Women who went to visit their children in camps, and were arrested for treason. Even the women prison guards and cleaning women have stories demonstrating the lack of freedom at every level. The plot may follow Maryam and Marziyeh's story, but the plot is driven by the many stories the authors share of the people they met along the way.
For that reason, as much as this book is a religious memoir and testimony, it is also a political protest against the corrupt government in Iran and its abusive treatment of humans in general and women in particular. While the authors are conservative and their hearts burn to serve God, some of their statements and desires might resonate with the American feminists of the 1960's. They love their country and their people, and desperately hope for change. This book is another way for them to do that.
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Posted March 21, 2013
"Captive in Iran" is a very extraordinary and incredible story of faith. Two young women get arrested and imprisoned for their Christian faith and for sharing it with other people. They are sent to Evin, the notorious Tehran prison. There they meet many women imprisoned for all kinds of weird reasons. It was very interesting to learn more about Muslim women, who are hiding behind the chador. We meet pious Muslim women, athletes, drug addicts, prostitutes, lesbians and simply abused ladies, victims of the circumstance, regime and religion. It was no news to me that women have little or no rights where the Sharia law rules but the most shocking thing was to read about one hour marriages. Women simply are used like disposable silverware and get thrown into a trash can. The worst part is that they have no way to defend themselves! To the defenders of Islam I would answer with this line from the book: "Anyone who says Islam is a religion of peace and equality should spend a week with the prisoners of Evin." p.136
So it seems like God used Maryam and Marziyeh to preach the Gospel to the poor, heal the broken hearted and preach deliverance to the captives. And they answered the call well, stood strong and bold. It was amazing how they were answering questions during interrogations! I am sure that they could put to shame even the bravest of men!
I am happy that they were released and I am sure that God has prepared something special for these wonderful women in the future!
I loved the book and would highly recommend it, it is a worthy read!
P.S. I received this book for free from Tyndale House Publishers for review purposes.
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Posted July 30, 2013
I was hesitant to read Captive in Iran because I wasn’t sure I wanted to know the brutalities of an Iranian prison. However, I was pleased to find that the book focused on the women they met in prison and how God worked through their whole imprisonment. They did share about the brutality of their experience, but it wasn’t the driving force of the story. It was amazing to get a glimpse of God at work.
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Posted July 8, 2013
How strong is your faith? Could it withstand torture, violence, abuse and still proclaim Jesus as your savior? Maryam Rostampour and Marziyeh Amirizadeh, two Christian women were imprisoned in hell on earth. In Tehran, it is illegal to hand out New Testament tracts let alone be a Christian. The women had an opportunity to witness to Christ among prostitutes, angry guards, thieves and many others who were imprisoned unfairly. This amazing book is full of courage, love and most important faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus can turn all evil into good for those that love Him and are called according to His purpose!!
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Posted July 7, 2013
After reading this book, I have never been so grateful to be a US citizen.
Maryam Rostampour and Marziyeh Amirizadeh were arrested and held for 259 days in one of the world's most terrible prisons - Evin Prison in Iran. They were arrested for "advertising and promoting Christianity" as well as the more serious charge of apostasy, which can result in a sentence of death by hanging. Because the justice system (if you can call it that) in Iran is very subjective and quite corrupt, there was much confusion and a roller coaster of emotion for the women that they suffered throughout their entire experience. Their own experiences are difficult enough to comprehend, and they also tell story after heartbreaking story of other women inside the prison, many of whom should not have even been there in the first place. The conditions were so deplorable that they spent essentially the entire time dealing with varying illnesses; malnourished, as the food was laced with formaldehyde and most was contaminated or inedible; not enough beds, bathrooms, showers, etc. and more. However, because they were able to share the very thing they had been imprisoned for - Jesus - the lives of just about everyone they came into contact with during this time period are now forever changed, and Maryam and Marziyeh will tell you that it was worth it all.
Maryam and Marziyeh's love for Jesus, and their commitment to their faith even under such adversity are certainly remarkable. I feel sure they would tell you it was only by God's grace that they were able to be strong, never changing their commitment to the truth. This book was extremely compelling - I am so grateful to have heard their story, and I will recommend this book to everyone I know.
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Posted December 30, 2014
Posted August 31, 2014
Captive in Iran is the autobiography of Maryam Rostampour and Marziyeh Amirizadeh detailing their time in the notorious Evin Prison, Iran. These two women were Christians in an Islamic country. They made no attempts to hide their beliefs when called in to the police station for questioning. No matter what the authorities did, they would not recant their faith. So began their months in Evin Prison.
I enjoyed this book as a refreshing change from fiction. What Marziyeh and Maryam went through and saw is completely true.
Much of the story gives an account of the women Marziyeh and Maryam met during their stay in Evin and the temporary prison. The two women shared Christ with nearly everyone they met despite the harsh, discouraging conditions. They were already in prison for their beliefs; what more could be done to them? They write about the women in prison to show that so many were in prison only because of the government’s tyranny and lack of tolerance for others’ beleifs.
The first chapter or two were a little confusing because the story keeps jumping forward and backward in time. After that, it’s fine. I was also a little confused about whose perspective the story was written from many times. Before each change of perspective, there is a name written; however, the authors’ personalities were somewhat indistinguishable, so that there was no other way to tell who was “speaking”.
I loved this book. It helped me grow in faith and see the harsh realities of those outside my comfy America. I hope everyone who reads this book will, if nothing else, pray for those in prison for their faith.
Posted August 26, 2014
This is an inspiring true story. It is encouraging to learn about people who have willingly suffered for Christ, just like the early Christians did. In the United States, it is hard to understand what persecution is like, so we need books like these to remind us of what Christians in other countries go through.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 25, 2014
Captive in Iran takes you into one of the worst prisons in the world. Two young Christian women are arrested and put into prison for 9 months. Just because they practiced Christianity in a Muslim world. It amazes me that sort of thing could happen. The horror and brutality that these two women had to endure is unbelievable. But beauty of it all is that they never lost hope or their faith. They continued to express their in the prison walls and were an inspiration to many of the other prisoners who continually asked them to pray for them. It is a powerful story but the book could be a little slow at times.
Posted August 7, 2014
Horrible Conditions Resulting in a Strong Testimony. I was not aware of the depth of persecution in those countries mentioned. The abuses, prison conditions, disease, malnutrition, interrogations and beatings were shocking and difficult to read about. There were many chances to pray for people, even ones they had not seen, and the prayers were answered. The two authors were witnesses in powerful ways to many people through their ordeal, even the guards and officials. These ladies were an inspiration to many, and their hope and joy were beautiful examples of Christianity. Their courage and dedication to their faith were impressive.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 31, 2014
This was another one of those books that it is hard to say I liked. Mostly for the content. I mean how exciting can a story be about two brave women who are thrown in an Iraqi jail for living out their Christian faith? While I felt that the book was true and hard to imagine bring in their situation, I got tired of hearing how "dear" different friends were to them. Being in this particular prison has to be one of the worst prisons in the world, I really cannot fathom what they went through. I have an idea based on the descriptions, which were horrifying. But unless you are in that situation, I don't think we will ever "get it". At least I certainly hope I never am. I know the women who wrote the book really didn't want to leave out anyone that they made friends with or witnessed to in prison, but the story was a little too drawn out for my taste. I think they could have summed it up in about 100 less pages. And now I really need to move onto a book that is less depressive! Well written and certainly gave you a slight glimpse of what others have to endure, that us Americans take for granted so easily. This book makes me even more proud to say that I am an American. Praise The Lord!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 23, 2014
This book is so absolutely inspiring! I could not put it down. It's something I believe every American Christian should read. Very thought-provoking--a story that I think will stay with me for the rest of my life. The book is written in first person by the women who experienced almost one year in Evin Prison in Iran. I immediately felt like I knew these women, they brought me into their story, and they made me ask myself the same questions they asked. Would I risk everything to live God's will for my life? Would I flourish in prison the way they did? An amazing read!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 14, 2014
This book was so inspiring, encouraging, convicting and though-provoking. I am still thinking a lot about the freedoms we have in America and how far I would go for my faith. These two women could have easily avoided and ended all their physical suffering by denying their faith, and yet they consistently insisted that life without Christ was worthless to them. It was a convicting reminder to me about where my priorities, joy, strength, and assurance should be. Also how God did so many amazing things through them in prison was encouraging and inspirational. This book was well worth my time and I highly recommend it.
Posted July 7, 2014
This is a fascinating story on many levels. The amount of patience and trust in the Lord that these two women experienced is a
testimony that should inspire other Christians. The relationships they formed with other women in prison and how these relationships
changed prisoners as well as the many miracles they witnessed that God provided, should make Christians step back and consider
their own lives and how God wants to work in and through each of us.
Posted June 30, 2014
I never expected a true story of two young Christian women captive in a prison in Iran to be as exciting as a fictional murder mystery, but this book certainly was that and more!!! For three years Maryam and Marziyeh had given thousands of Bibles to their countrymen and had started two house churches. When they were arrested, they admitted they believed in Jesus, they gave Bibles to those who asked for them, and they talked about God. The charge against them was Christianity which usually meant a death sentence. However, they refused to tell the court any names of people who they saw. Finally they were taken to a loathsome prison, dirty, smelling strongly of urine and vomit, crowded, cold, with backed up toilets, where they would be held until they were sentenced, possibly to death. How crazy it appears that they would actually spend over 250 days in the worst prison in Iran before being sentenced! In prison they were able to speak so freely about Christ that they felt sure this is why they were sent to prison. If Christ wanted them out of prison, He would get them out. Even the question, why are you here, gave them the opportunity to tell about Christ. Each chapter was filled with either new obstacles they faced or stories of different women they met who were in prison often for things their husbands had made them do. But the inhumane treatment of the women, such as no food for days, little or spoiled food when they got some, too many women crowded into a room, forced to stand hours in the cold outside, etc. caused their health to fail. As their story made its way to the United States and other countries, pressure was put on the government in Iran for their release. Like the women in the prison I was fascinated by their story, their attitude and what was happening to them. I found it very difficult to put the book down long enough to fix meals or eat. It truly was a real life page turner.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 16, 2014
A simple, factual, non-emotional book
This is a hard book for me to review. The tagline says it is "a remarkable true story of hope and triumph amid the horror of Tehran's brutal Evin Prison." But that doesn't seem to be the appropriate tagline. Honestly, it's not (or shouldn't be) that remarkable. I cannot say what I would do in the circumstances of these two ladies, but I hope that I would respond as they did: full of confidence and hope in Jesus without wavering in the faith. This is what ought to be the response of any Christian, which is why I feel it is not quite "remarkable".
While the story is largely told from alternating perspectives, it doesn't draw you in emotionally. That's fine, I don't necessarily need to spend a lot of tears and invest emotional energy into something that has already happened to someone else. So that could be a plus ... however, I felt neither hope nor horror in what I read. It was all simply fact. I really cannot decide if this book should have pulled emotional strings, or if the removed nature of it is more beneficial.
Also, the story is about how Jesus moved and his protection and about drawing people to him - but that's not all the book is about. It is also about the injustice of the Iranian "justice" system, and the problems of Islam. These ladies, who grew up in Muslim families, pull no punches and make sure you know that Islam is NOT a religion of peace - anyone doubting that should definitely read this book.
My hope is that this book encourages people to draw near to God and that it builds faith. The sheer number of people they've unashamedly talked to about Jesus puts me to shame. They were intentional and prolific in an environment where it could have cost them their lives. I live in the land of free, shouldn't I share with even more people? Live for Christ, share Christ, don't deny Christ. That's the message of the book. "If we live, it is for the Lord. If we die, it is for the Lord. And so, whether we live or die we are the Lord's."
Posted June 9, 2014
As Christians in America we have it easy. This is the story of Maryam and Marziyeh, 2 Iranian women, who are thrown into jail for being Christians and sharing their faith – and it occurred in 2009! And jail in Iran is not a pretty place with overcrowding, no medicine, sometimes not even a toilet, little food and often bad food. Yet in the midst of the worst circumstances, the 2 ladies continued to tell about Christ – often having a more receptive audience then outside jail. Inside jail not only did inmates seek them out, but also guards, asking about Jesus and asking for prayer. What faithful witnesses they were to Him through the pain, fear, illnesses and danger of their 259 days of imprisonment and how amazing to see God move through their faithfulness.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 3, 2014
Captive In Iran is an amazing testimony! I was so captivated, I couldn't put it down! Not only did it kill any doubts I had, but it reminded me that sometimes we have to go through hard, sad, tough, nightmarish, painful, lonely times but God goes WITH us. He doesn't tell us, "meet you on the other side, when things get better." He's THERE, even when we don't feel His presence! He gives us that unfathomable peace and that unbelievable strength to endure; not just endure, to THRIVE and take the light of His hope to the darkest, ugliest places! I will try harder, to not complain about my problems when I think about Maryam and Marziyeh! I will try to always give God the glory no matter how bad things get! I will also remember to stop my busy schedule and pray for other's who don't just read about, but LIVE that kind of nightmare!
Let's all pray for them and see what God can do!
Posted December 8, 2013
"captive in iran" is an amazing book writtion by 2 sisters who grew up in iran and converted to christianity and begain a missionery and underground church knowing full well that it was agist the law and they would face prison and death for trying to convert people to christ this is a great book these 2 women were caught and arrested with christian materials and sent to one of the most ruthless prisons in iran there story is very haard to put down. my pastor bruce toms of palma ceia united methdist church highly recamended this book in his sermon. I would also like to recamend the new billy graham book the reason for my hope salvationWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 5, 2013
ive stars means amazing, and this is an amazing story. This story takes place just a few years ago (2009) starting with the arrest of these two Iranian Christians for the crime of proselytizing their religion in a Muslim country. The story takes us through their arrest, imprisonment, and trial, interspersed with personal stories of the other women who pass through the prison with them. Some of these women are freed and some are tried and executed. The fact that these two women where not found guilty and executed too, is a miracle. The rest of the story is also a miracle, as they go from witnessing for Jesus outside in Iran, to witnessing right inside the prison itself. Their insistence on their faith, and their conviction to stand for what they believe in, is an inspiration to everyone, not just Christians. If you are interested in Christianity, Islam, Middle-East affairs, Iran, life under a dictatorship, or just want a good story of faith, conviction, and perseverance, this is a book you will remember.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.