Life in a Solitary Cell
(Source: VOM Radio. Edited for length and clarity. Photo: A church in Iran. The pastor’s face is covered to protect his identity.)
Robert Aserian was a pastor in Iran, where most people are Muslims. The government in Iran does not want anyone to teach Muslims about Jesus. But Pastor Aserian wanted to tell everyone about his Savior — including Muslims. That’s how he ended up in prison.
The pastor told Todd Nettleton of VOM Radio what going to prison in Iran is like. “It was very difficult because they came to our home early in the morning, and I was arrested before the eyes of my two boys. For me it was difficult that my small boys observed what happened.
“I was placed in a solitary cell, a difficult experience. The cell was a small room, maybe 2 meters by 2 meters [about 6 ½ feet square]. Nothing is there. No bed, no newspaper, no book, no TV, nothing. You are sleeping on the ground. For five or six hours, I was under interrogation. [“Interrogation” is questioning by the police.]
“I started to pray and worship, then I started to preach. I imagined that I stood before a congregation, and I preached to that imaginary congregation.
“There was some exercise in that small room — just walking in the small space hundreds of times. I tried to remember the words of the Bible, books that I read, and childhood memories. [I remembered that] in Colossians 1:24, Paul rejoiced in his suffering.
“Twice in the prison, the Lord spoke with me directly. That was a big comfort for me. I found out that I’m not alone. God is with me, and I am in God’s plan. God told me, “If you are here, it is My plan.’ From that point, my fear was gone.”
Pastor Aserian was released from prison and has left Iran to live in a safer place. Please pray for him and for all the Christians still in prison in Iran.
To Talk About
*How did Pastor Aserian keep busy in his solitary cell?
*Measure an empty space 6 ½ feet by 6 ½ feet. Talk about how you would spend one day in the space.
*Using the pastor’s story as a guide, what can you pray for Iranian Christians in prison today?
*Should Pastor Aserian have stopped telling people about Jesus so he could stay out of prison?