As news of Saeed Abedini’s release from an Iranian prison became known around the world, members of Calvary Chapel right here in Boise took a huge sigh of relief.
Saeed, a pastor who attends the church with his family but is not on staff there, has been imprisoned in Iran since September 2012 when he was detained after they accused him of trying to undermine national security by setting up home churches.
Saeed and his wife Naghmeh, as well as their children, have been supported by their church since the beginning, making the news of his release pure joy for the church. Members say they are anxious knowing that Saeed could be back on U.S. soil and walking through the doors of their church after 3 1/2 long years.
Pastor Bob Caldwell made the announcement in church service Saturday night, saying, “Father, we thank you that you answer prayers. We thank you for just the whole story.”
The Abedini’s church family says they’ve been praying for this for months.
“I was completely shocked,” Calvary Chapel member, Sergio Trevino, said. “You wonder if it’s actually true or not because you hear so many times [that] he might be released, he might not. Then when it was confirmed, it was God answering prayers.”
Many have been dreaming of this day for years, imagining how amazing it will feel for his family when they see him for the first time.
“Just absolutely incredible that it came through and he got released,” Trevino added.
That dream came true on Saturday morning when Iran announced that Abedini would finally be able to come home.
“It’s amazing how many people in our city, in this valley, have stood before them as well. So we’re grateful,” Caldwell said.
Abedini was helping start an orphanage in Iran when he was arrested and locked away in one of the country’s harshest prisons- charged with threatening Iran’s national security. His supporters say he was imprisoned for running Christian churches in an Islam-centered country.
“Spreading the word of God and Jesus is never a bad thing,” Calvary Chapel member, Michael St. Hilaie, told KTVB.
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