Captive in Iran“What made you become a Christian? Don't you know that makes you kafar?” the guard yelled. It was a serious accusation—kafar is the Islamic word for “infidel”—one that Maryam Rostampour and Marziyeh Amirizadeh would face many times during their stay at Iran's notorious Evin Prison. In 2009, Maryam and Marziyeh were arrested for their faith in Christ and spent the next 259 days behind bars. In a new memoir, Captive in Iran, they share their incredible story, showing that no place is so dark that the light of God cannot shine through.

Their story begins with an illegal search of their apartment in Tehran, where the police find Bibles and other Christian materials. Charged with promoting Christianity—a capital crime in Iran—they are arrested and taken away, first to a holding prison where they await charges and then to Evin Prison—a jail known for its wing for political prisoners, where Maryam and Marziyeh spend many difficult days.

The book is a harrowing tale, full of contrasts. On the one hand, the harsh conditions of prison: the lack of sanitation and nutritious food, cruel guards and difficult cellmates, the constant threat of physical punishment and even execution. But on the other hand, the abundance of God's grace: times of prayer and singing, opportunities to witness to other prisoners, the support of Christians inside the prison and around the world.

Captive in Iran is gritty. Maryam and Marziyeh are frank in their descriptions of the terrible conditions in the prisons and the abuse they suffer. The women they meet are often broken, struggling with addictions or abandoned by their families. Yet, much to their surprise, many unlikely friendships are formed. Maryam writes, “We were in the best place we'd ever been for witnessing to people hungry for the gospel of Jesus.”

Though at times they struggle with doubts, Maryam and Marziyeh refuse to deny their faith, trusting that God will be with them. The subject matter of Captive in Iran is disturbing, giving a face to the persecution of Christians overseas. But the book is ultimately a story of God's faithfulness, an inspiring read for Christians everywhere.

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