Nagmeh Panahi is an Iranian woman who fled to the US during the war with Iraq. While in the US, she became a believer in Jesus through a dream her twin brother had. Despite resistance from her parents, she and her brother continued to follow Jesus, until finally her parents also became believers.
She felt called to return to Iran to work there as a missionary. She was involved in the growth of the house church movement and witnessed the beginning of a revival among young Muslims hungry for truth. During this period, she met her husband Saeed Abedini, a pastor in the house church movement. They married and continued to minister together. Threats and arrests were part of their reality as evangelists, but when they found out Saeed was actively searched for by the authorities, they left the country and ended up back in the US. They continued their ministry from a distance, and Saeed would travel to Iran from time to time to coordinate work for an orphanage. On one of those trips, he was arrested and imprisoned.
For years Naghmeh advocated for his release. She was interviewed on multiple TV channels, was invited to speak to the UN, to the EU, to congress, in the White House and she campaigned in churches around the country. Through her public advocacy, she became a well-known face in the Christian world and was supported by many Christian leaders and politicians. But unexpectedly she cancelled all her public appearances. Through the years, she had carried a dark secret and the burden had become too heavy to carry. Her husband had seriously abused her all through their marriage, sexually, physically, and emotionally. Even in prison he continued the abuse through a smartphone that had been smuggled in. While Saeed was in prison, Naghmeh slowly began to realise how much she herself was imprisoned in a violent marriage.
Shortly after that, Saeed was released and Naghmeh took out a protection order to give Saeed the chance to find help for his violent behaviour, while protecting herself and her children. She hoped they would be able to address the abuse and rebuild their marriage in a healthy way. Saeed then
decided to file for divorce. With that, Naghmeh had lost everyting. Her identity as the wife of a persecuted hero, her ministry, the support and admiration of the Christian community and her dreams for her future. But God did not let her go and used all these tragedies to set her free from what kept her in bondage and give her life a new meaning and direction.
Naghmeh is once again closely involved with house churches in Iran, and with the comfort she herself received, she comforts and helps women who have experienced abuse.
Why does Naghmeh come to the Netherlands?
Naghmeh comes to the Netherlands at the invitation of Back to Jerusalem Nederland. Back to Jerusalem is and organisation that supports the missionary work of the Chinese church in the countries between China and Jerusalem. One of these countries is Iran. Naghmeh has been involved with the work of Back to Jerusalem for several years. Eugene Bach, the leader of Back to Jerusalem international has recently written her life story in a book that will be released on October 10 th , called ‘I didn’t survive: Emerging Whole After Deception, Persecution, and Hidden Abuse’. We would love for Christians in the Netherlands to be encouraged by her story of God’s work in Iran and to become more involved in praying for the persecuted church there. We also would love for other Iranians in the Netherlands to hear her testimony and for women who have experienced similar abuse to be encouraged.
Where and when can I hear her speak?
There are three meetings in English/ Dutch and two in Farsi only. The following meetings are in English/ Dutch:
Urk: October 27 th from 19:00 (program starts at 19:30) Address: De Morgenster, Rotholm 20 8321 DK
Apeldoorn: October 28 th from 19:00 (program starts at 19:30) Address: Het Kruispunt, Zilverschoon 114, 7322 GH Apeldoorn
Urk: October 31 st Ladies meeting at 9:30 AM Address: De Poort, Lange Dam 52, 8321 XS Urk (Farsi translation available at one of the tables)
The following meetings are in Farsi only:
Apeldoorn: October 28 th from 16:00. Address: Het Kruispunt, Zilverschoon 114, 7322 GH Apeldoorn
Luttelgeest: October 31 st at 15:00. Location: House of Joy, Luttelgeest. This meeting has very limited seating, please reserve a place by sending an email to email@example.com
Naghmeh’s book will be available in English at the meetings. There will also be a book table with other English (and Dutch) books. Entrance is free of charge. There will be an offering for the work of the house churches in Iran. For more information about the meeting places and times, see www.backtojerusalem.nl