Those in Prison

In the last week I’ve been reminded that “those in prison” are not merely historical. I first heard news of Zac Niringiye, a Ugandan friend, being arrested for distributing brochures protesting governmental corruption. Zac is a former Anglican bishop. He wasn’t held long but is under orders to report regularly to the police station–a demand that is a way of threatening him with trouble if he keeps making trouble, I assume. Zac is helping to organize regular protests called Black Monday, in which people wear black each week to express their feelings about governmental theft of public resources.

I was glad to be on the receiving end of a series of email reports and requests to pray for Zac’s well being. Zac has friends all over the world.

Not so much another friend, Mehrdad, whom I met at an international literature conference a few years ago. He was a young, engaging, hopeful Iranian, who told a remarkable story about coming to faith in Christ through reading the Bible. He found it very difficult to locate a Christian who could explain the faith to him; when he eventually found a church, the members were too afraid to let him in. Eventually he located another church, where he became a member leading a large cohort of young people.

Now Mehrdad, I am told, is in an Iranian prison because of his Christian faith. He was arrested about a year ago and imprisoned for some months. He was released, but his business was confiscated. Now he is imprisoned again. His wife, a poet whom I also met, is desperate.

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