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Victory: Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani Free!

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what

we do not see. Hebrews 11:1



Saturday, September 8th was a beautiful sunny day in Red Wing,MN for the Diversity Festival. I was one of the many participants along with fellow Voice of the Martyrs Regional Representative Ed Stych. While we were meeting and greeting people at the festival, Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani was in an Iranian courtroom in a hearing that would determine his fate.

I thought of nothing else that whole day. All of us at the festival were laughing, talking, meeting and greeting with each other and I pondered whether or not Pastor Youcef would soon be doing the very same after his hearing.

Ed and I wondered that same thing and talked about it for a bit. As people came by our VOM table and we talked about what it is The Voice of the Martyrs does, how it advocates for the persecuted, gives them aid, Bibles and provides them with blankets and clothing, the pleas to God to let Pastor Youcef go home kept repeating themselves in my mind. Did the judge hearing Pastor Youcef's case hear the people pleas being made to God too. The answer came in my e-mail about an hour after the festival when Ed notified me that after a 6 hour hearing, the judge acquitted Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani of all charges and sent him home.

After three million tweets from around the world(5,600 tweets of which were my own!), e-mails and phone calls to state representatives calling for his release, this was the day he would be able to finally say to the family he was ripped away from three years ago, "I'm home!"

Organizations like Christian Solidarity, ACLJ and PresentTheTruth Ministries posted pictures of the reunion of this husband and father being reunited with his friends and family. I am not ashamed to say that tears were shed at this beutiful sight of a father and husband being received by his family.

As much a victory as this is for the persecuted, we must continue to pray for Pastor Youcef because his life may still be in danger. People who have been released from prison there, have been executed days after being set free. So we must keep him and his family in our prayers. We must also continue praying for those who have not yet been granted their freedom and for those Human Rights lawyers who are brave and courageous enough to defend them.




Liz Ciccone


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