This is the full conversation between Nicky Gumbel and Maryam Rostampour and Marziyeh Amirizadeh from June 2014. Listen as Nicky talks to Maryam and Marziyeh on how they found Jesus, being imprisoned for sharing their faith & surviving Iran’s most notorious prison.
In June of 2014, Nicky Gumbel sat down with Maryam Rostampour and Marziyeh Amirizadeh – Iranian evangelists and survivors of one of the world’s darkest places: the notorious Evin Prison. In this conversation, Maryam and Marziyeh recount their 259 days in captivity, and how this hell on earth was a place of unlikely grace.
Once both Maryam and Marziyeh came to know Jesus separately after years of questioning and searching, they met each other and decided to go on mission together illegally distributing Bibles in Iran. The two of them were so effective that authorities began to take notice. “Officials announced in parliament that a big Christian group had started distributing Bibles … in reality it was just us two girls with backpacks” says Marziyeh. Maryam and Marziyeh’s efforts to evangelize Iran region by region, were cut short one fateful day when they received a phone call from the police station.
After multiple interrogations, and 14 days in a cold, damp detention centre, the two of them were ultimately transported to Evin Prison – a prison where people are routinely tortured, abused, and violated. For Maryam and Marziyeh, this prison would become home for the next 259 days. In the midst of the brutal conditions and the constant threat of execution, the both of them made their jail cell a mission field, continuing to share the good news of Jesus. Marziyeh reflects on the experience saying “Everywhere can be a church – even a dark, brutal place like prison.” Against all odds, Evin Prison would become the only church many of these prisoners had ever known.
Perhaps the most compelling part of the interview comes towards the end, when Maryam responds to the question “What kept you going?” She says with deep conviction, that without God’s presence and power, both of them would not have been able to handle even one day in prison. Both Maryam and Marziyeh remarkably attribute every miracle, every prayer, every moment where the gospel was shared to the God who sustained them – the God who turned Iran’s darkest prison into a church.
We hope you are inspired and challenged as you listen to the story of these two great women of faith.
Captive in Iran by Maryam Rostampour & Marziyeh Amirizadeh
In 2009 in Iran, Maryam and Marziyeh were imprisoned and sentenced to death because of their Christian faith. Maryam and Marziyeh were born into Muslim families but converted to Christianity and began to share the Gospel with those around them. They were arrested in March 2009 after being accused of evangelism and apostasy. After 259 days in Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison they were released.