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Farshid Fathi
Photo: FreeFarshid.org

On Christmas Eve, a group of believers gathered at the home of Mr. Hosseini were arrested when Iranian security authorities raided their Christmas service. The plain-clothes officials searched the believers and the residence, seizing all Christian books, CDs and laptops. They also confiscated the satellite TV receiver. Mr. Hosseini's neighbours, who witnessed the raid, were warned by officials not to speak with anyone about what they had seen. Their home was also searched, and the father of the family was insulted and beaten. At last report, the whereabouts and condition of the arrested Christians were not yet known.

In recent years, Christians have faced increased pressure and threats during the Christmas season and a greater number of churches have been monitored. Many have even celebrated Christ's birth while in jail, separated from their families and loved ones. One such believer, Farshid Fathi, has been incarcerated since 2010. (You can read more about his case.) In a recent note to fellow believers, he wrote:

"Dear brothers and sisters,
We are celebrating Christmas in prison with honour and unexplainable joy in Christ. 2013 is going to end and we are very thankful to the Lord for everything we were given this year. I had called 2013 'the year of revelation.' Now I am very excited because I am calling 2014 'the year of God's presence.' God calls us to walk before Him and be blameless, as He said to Abraham. So far, walking before Him is very sweet and so exciting. It is filled with great endurance, afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, sleepless nights, hunger, purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love, truthful speech and the power of God. So my dear brothers and sisters, if you read this, be ready for a very exciting journey in 2014. Thank you so much for remembering me in your prayers after 1,100 days.
With blessings in Christ, your brother, Farshid."

While the Christmas season has come to a close for another year, please do remember our brothers and sisters who continue to languish in prison for their faith in the Christ Child. May they trust their unknown future to our God, who intimately knows each detail of their lives. Intercede on behalf of the recently arrested believers that they may soon be freed from prison. Also ask the Lord to bless Farshid. May the year ahead indeed be one in which this imprisoned believer, and other incarcerated Iranian Christians, sense the Lord's presence in a very real and tangible way.