Persecution.org introduced two former Muslim Iranian women who after being saved by Jesus Christ, decided to spread the Word of God to other people; they actively were involved in evangelizing and smuggling Bibles in Teran. Eventually, they had been caught by police and were sent to the notorious Evin Prison, commonly known as Iran's "terror factory." When they thought everything was over for them, they realized the secrets to deep suffering through persecution.
Maryam and Marziyeh helped to distribute 20,000 New Testaments in different parts of Tehran for three years. Distribution of the Bible is illegal in Iran, so they had to risk themselves and smuggled Bibles secretly.
"Usually at night we would carry all those New Testaments in our backpack, about 140 New Testaments each night. We would take them to different areas and put them in the mailboxes," said Marziyeh.
"Everywhere we go, we had Bibles in our purses, like 10 New Testaments, very small New Testaments. And even we went for shopping, everywhere we went, we had those Bibles and we would hand them to people."
Because of the activities they had been doing for four years, police were monitoring them. At that time, they were very open to their faith and preaching the Word of God to their neighbors, and somebody had reported them to the police.
"They entered, they ransacked our apartment, and they took both of us with all our belongings, like Bibles, Jesus movies, everything they had discovered and was related to Christianity. And they transferred us to the police station that first day," said Maryam.
They hugged each other and thought it was their last days on earth. When police physically tortured them and they started praying in tongues. They praised "God for this gift" because they "could see how in those difficult moments, the presence of the Holy Spirit really strengthened" them and helped them pray on their behalf.
Afterward, they were sent to Evin Prison and they thought everything was over for them. However, when they got sent to prison, they realized that God had placed them there. The prisoners at Evin Prison were "hopeless, who were going through extreme stress and who were desperate." In prison, people were without any resources to rely on and they were hungry for God. This was yet a perfect position for them because they didn't have to worry about being caught anymore in prison.
They spent a lot of time sharing the gospel, brought a lot of people to Christ. They had many great opportunities to share their faith with other prisoners because they were now more free than outside, they could now talk to anybody and nobody could stop them since they are already in prison. Before going to that prison, they "had to pray and ask God to show" them "the right person to speak." But inside Evin prison, they could talk to anybody.
"And I remember one day, one of our interrogator was very angry because they heard that we talked to prisoners about Jesus and he shouted at me and told me during my interrogation, he told me that, 'I heard that you are talking to prisoners about Jesus. You should shut your mouth here, not talk about Jesus. You're brainwashing people.' And I told him, 'I'm so sorry. I believe this is not our fault. This is your fault because you arrested us. You put us in this prison and prisoners are curious. They ask us, 'What is your charge? Why are you here?' So we have to explain to them why we are here. That's why we talked to people.' And they were so desperate. We could see that. That they couldn't do anything else because we already were in that prison. That's why we believe we were more free inside prison," said Marziyeh.
Iranian Christians learned that God does work in their life through suffering. They were put in a position where only God was the source of their lives. They realized that they don't have strength on their own. When all of their hope was taken away, they were able to fully embrace the suffering that was given to them and realized that through suffering, God's work is revealed through them. Through suffering, they have become a better leader and their faith has deepened. This story showed that God can really get into people's hearts and work.