Modern Witnesses: Meeting today’s heroes of faith (Part One)

modern witnessAbout two years ago, I joined the world of bloggers, only I did it with a secret identity. I wasn’t sure I had enough interesting things to talk about on my own, but Jake—now there was a boy who had a lot to say. Jake was a character I had created for a children’s series I am writing (it’s not published yet, but I have hope). Jake loves adventure and exploring, but he can only do so much with his weekly allowance—and his mom wasn’t crazy about the idea of taking a trip to Mongolia. So Jake explores the world through what he learns each week at Sunday School. He meets people from all over the world, learns about their countries and their cultures, and most importantly, he learns how he can pray for them. Let’s eavesdrop on some of what he discovered this year as he met Modern Witnesses who suffer for their faith in Jesus Christ.

Mehdi Forootan

Mehdi lived in Iran. On December 26, 2010, police came to his house early in the morning and arrested him. They dragged him out to a car and turned on a video camera. They had already taken his books and his computer. Now they wanted him to confess to his “crime” on tape.

But, he told them he didn’t know why they were arresting him. He hadn’t done anything wrong. They asked him again, and he told them he didn’t know. Then, they turned the camera off and threatened to hurt him if he didn’t tell them what they wanted him to say. When they turned the camera back on, Mehdi admitted he was a Christian. The police officer gave him a chance to give up being a Christian and follow the religion of the state instead. Mehdi said no. The officer said they would take him to a prison called Evin.

That’s when Mehdi knew things were going to get very bad. After they got to Evin, they treated Mehdi like a murderer. They locked him up in a tiny cell all by himself. He didn’t have a bed or a chair. All he could sleep on was the cold floor, with just a thin blanket to try to keep warm.

Some days, the guards would come and ask him all kinds of questions. One would threaten to kill him. One would promise everything would be OK if he would just tell the guards what they wanted to know—who were the other Christians he knew, how big was the secret church in Iran, and lots of other things. Mehdi didn’t want to tell them anything that would hurt anyone else.

There were other days when the guards wouldn’t come at all. Day after day after day, Mehdi would just sit by himself in his cell, with no one to talk to. He would try to pray, but he still felt sad and lonely. He missed his parents, his fiancé, and his friends.

Finally, after one hundred and five days in prison (over three months), on April 9, 2011, the guards released him. He still doesn’t know why he was let go. He eventually escaped Iran to the country of Turkey. He and his fiancé were finally able to get married. They were married for two months when she had to leave to live in another country. He hopes they will be able to be together again someday and have a family.

Mehdi knows how hard it can be to live for Jesus. But, with God’s help, he is living for Him each day.

Zafar and Zhang

Zafar Bhatti is from Pakistan. He was arrested in July 2012 because someone accused him of sending text messages that insulted the religion of most of the people in Pakistan. He has been in prison more than 400 days.

Zhang Huamei is from China. He and four other ministers were arrested in 2009. A mob of people—including police—had attacked members of a Christian church. When Zhang Huamei and the four other ministers tried to go to Beijing to protest the attack on the other Christians, they were arrested. Zhang is still in jail today. He has been in jail more than 1,300 days.

Exploring With Jake If you’d like to join Jake on his adventures, he is currently traveling All Around India. We’d love to see you at Exploring With Jake.

As a special Christmas gift, please check out A Martyr’s Christmas Unit Study, downloadable for free at

Bonnie Rose Hudson3Bonnie Rose Hudson lives in central Pennsylvania. Along with spending time with her family and writing, making kids smile is her favorite thing to do. Her heart’s desire is for every child to feel the love of God and know how special they are to Him. She creates curriculum for as a member of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine’s® Star Contributors Team and would love to tell you more about how you can join the team. Please stop by and meet the star of her children’s series at Exploring with Jake, or visit her at her author’s website at

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