On October 19th, a member of the Payam-e Aramesh (meaning "Message of Peace") house church in Dezful was arrested and transferred to another city known as Ahwaz. Shortly before arresting Abdol-Ali Pourmand (also referred to as Elyas), security authorities raided his home while he was away working on his farm. During Abdol's absence, officials searched the house thoroughly and confiscated a few Bibles and Christian CDs.
The initial arrest was made after Abdol received a call from the Ministry of Intelligence, summoning him to their office in Dezful. Three days after the arrest, Abdol was allowed to make a short phone call to his family, informing them that he would not be held in prison for very long.
Just a week prior to Abdol's arrest, another member of the same house church, Mohammad Ali Torabi (also known as Davoud), was arrested and transferred to Ahwaz immediately. Similarly, Mohammad's family was told that he would be released soon. However, he has not been released since his arrest.
Persecution of Christians in the southwestern province of Khuzestan has intensified in the past several weeks, especially in the city of Dezful. Over the past three and a half decades, the Islamic regime of Iran used different methods -- including harassment, terror, arrests and heavy sentences -- to persecute Christians, especially those who speak Farsi. Imprisoned believers are typically beaten and told they will be forced out of the country, or they are threatened with death, if they don't renounce their faith in Christ. (A prayer alert update concerning other imprisoned believers in Iran may be reviewed here.)
Considering the intensifying persecution that Abdol and the other Iranian believers are presently facing, please pray that God's Spirit will imbue His persecuted people with overcoming power and strength, so they will not only survive these fiery battles but triumph victoriously over them. Throughout the process, may their testimonies be as brightly shining lights effectively dispelling the darkness surrounding them. Additionally, pray for the families of the imprisoned men who are anxiously awaiting their release, that they will also be comforted by our Eternal Father who promises to be their refuge in times of trouble and to lovingly shelter them with His everlasting arms (Deuteronomy 33:27).