Connect & Encourage

Write to people being persecuted as a result of their beliefs

“These letters mean so much to us. We know they are from people all over the world and when we hold these cards it is as if the people who wrote them are here in the room with us.” Pastor Mario Felix Lleonart Barroso, Cuba

When you write to someone who’s suffering because of their faith, it gives them incredible encouragement – but it’s so much more than that.

  • It can get better conditions for prisoners.
  • It gives you an easy way to connect directly with people you have been praying for.
  • It’s a great opportunity to spur one another on to doing something practical about injustice.

Got any more questions about how to use Connect & Encourage?  Just read our FAQs! 

Spread Christmas hope and blessings to Meriam Ibrahim!

Although Meriam Ibrahim and her family are now safely living in the USA, they still need our support, love and prayers.  As the family come to terms with what happened to them and continue to adjust to their new life, your cards and letters will bring them great joy and hope.

Please send your cards directly to CSW and we will facilitate delivery to the family:

Meriam Ibrahim and family
c/o CSW
PO Box 99
New Malden
Surrey
KT3 3YF

  

Want to do something life-changing with your church?  Send cards to Iranian Christians in time for Christmas…

Please write to the men listed below, who are all Christian prisoners in Iran. If they receive a large quantity of cards in prison, it will remind the authorities that the world has not forgotten them.  Your cards have the potential not only to affirm their faith, but maybe even help them walk free!

If you’re planning to send cards in time for Christmas, you should aim to send them by the end of November to ensure that they reach the prisoners in good time.


Pastor Behnam Irani
Behnam IraniPastor Behnam has been in prison since 2011, with rapidly deteriorating health as he serves a six-year sentence on false political charges. He has been beaten regularly by prison authorities and other inmates – including a severe assault in June 2014. As a result he can barely walk, has acute stomach ulcers and impaired vision. He has been denied adequate medical treatment during his time in prison.

He is married to Christine, an Armenian Christian, and has a daughter, Rebecca, eleven and a son Adriel, four. He became a Christian in 1992 and has been a church leader since 2002.

Write to him: 

Pastor Behnam Irani
Ghezelhesar Road – opposite Shahin Chamran barracks
Penitentiary Prison in Karaj-Section 2, Hall 7
3187694111
Hesarek, Karaj
Iran

Pastor Matthias Haghnejad
Pastor MatthiasPastor Matthias was charged on 3 August 2014 with moharebeh, ‘warring against God’, and has been pressurised to falsely confess that his church is involved in anti-government political activity. He was initially detained on 5 July, after Iranian security forces raided his home in Karaj, and was charged with moharebeh on 3 August following a two-hour interrogation. He was held in solitary confinement for a week in a detention centre, and is now imprisoned in Ghezal Hesar prison.

Write to him: 

Pastor Matthias Haghnejad

Ghezelhesar Road – opposite Shahin Chamran barracks
Penitentiary Prison in Karaj-Section 2, Hall 10
3187694111
Hesarek, Karaj
Iran

Shahin Lahouti
ShahinShahin Lahouti was arrested along with seven other Christians during a raid on a prayer meeting in October 2012. He was sentenced to two and a half years in prison on false political charges.

Shahin is a talented musician and well known for his generous heart – he’s played concerts for autistic children, and regularly performs for charity. So despite the dangers he knew he faced after becoming a Christian last year, he decided to stay in Iran so he could continue helping people through his music. He is now in prison because of his faith.

Write to him: 

Shahin Lahouti
Adel Abad Prison
Shahrak-e-Shahin Motahhari
Shiraz
Iran

Farshid Fathi
FarshidFarshid Fathi is a Christian serving a six-year sentence on false political charges. He was among 30 prisoners who suffered injuries when guards and security agents assaulted inmates on 17 April 2014. The prisoners had been protesting an aggressive five-hour inspection.

At least 29 other prisoners are reported to have sustained injuries from the assault, ranging from a fractured skull to broken ribs and limbs. Farshid is married and has two young children, Rosanna and Bardia.

Write to him:  

Farshid Fathi
Rajaei-Shahr Prison
Moazzen Boulevard
Karaj
Iran


Write to Nguyen Van Dai in prison in Vietnam

“These postcards and letters encouraged me to overcome the difficult situation[s]”

Nguyen Van DaiNguyen Van Dai is a prominent Christian human rights lawyer who was given a five-year prison sentence for ‘disseminating slanderous and libellous information against the Socialist Republic of Vietnam’; he was later placed under house arrest. He is due to complete his sentence on 6 March 2015, but he’s suffering some health problems.

He wanted to send this message of thanks to CSW supporters:

“Dear brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ,
Firstly, I thank God because of his blood we became brothers and sisters without the border.

Secondly, I would like to say thank all of brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ in United Kingdom.

During the years when I was in prison or I have been under house arrest, I always received postcards and letters from Christians in the UK. These postcards and letters encouraged me to overcome the difficult situation in prison and under house arrest. Each time I got the postcards and letters, I always feel God closely. He protects and helps me.

I hope to continue to receive the postcards and letters from brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ in UK.

Again, thank you all and God bless you!

Christian lawyer Nguyen Van Dai”

Write to him care of his wife, at this address:

Mrs Vu Minh Khanh (wife of Mr Nguyen Van Dai)
Phong 302
Nha Z8 Bach Khoa
Hanoi
Vietnam



Frequently asked questions:

“I’m not convinced my card will make a difference to the person who receives it.”

Yes, it really will!

Gloria told us, “Sometimes I ran out of the strength to pray myself. In the darkest moments, when we felt totally hopeless, alone and desperate and we couldn’t even pray for ourselves, it was alright because we knew there were people all over holding us up in prayer, when we ourselves could not.”

Imagine thinking you’re facing a horrific situation all alone. Maybe your husband is a church leader who was shot dead after he refused to stop preaching. That’s what happened to Gloria’s husband. Or maybe you’ve been imprisoned because of your faith – and then you get a card from a person on the other side of the world who’s thinking about you. Your cards could be a lifeline in someone’s darkest moments, just like they were for Gloria.

 

“OK, that’s great, but it won’t really help their situation, will it?”

Yes, it will!

We’ve seen many times that a prisoner’s conditions improve once they start getting post from abroad. They’ve received extra food, more exercise, and much-needed medical care – as a direct result of your cards and letters. What’s more, Pastor Truong in Vietnam was able to share his faith with his prison guards after they asked him why he was getting so many cards!

If a prisoner receives lots of post from abroad, the prison authorities know that people outside the country have heard about this prisoner’s case, so they can’t get away with mistreating the prisoner.

 

“But I don’t know what to write.”

We’ve made it easy for you! Here are some guidelines.

  • Just write a little bit about yourself – where you live, what the area is like, your family, your hobbies, and so on.
  • Most of the people in Connect & Encourage are Christians, so you could write an encouraging Bible verse in the card, and some Christian greetings such as ‘God bless you’ and ‘May the Lord be with you’.
  • Even if the person who gets your card can’t read English, receiving it will still encourage them by reminding them that they’re not forgotten.
  • Writing relevant Bible references is useful for non-English speakers so they can look up the verses in their own language.
  • If you’re happy to receive a reply, it’s safe to include your name and address on the cards. Many people have developed rewarding relationships in this way, by writing to and hearing from people who suffer because of their faith.

You’ll find answers to a few more questions you may have, inside Connect & Encourage. Download it today and get writing!

 

 

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Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) is a human rights organisation which specialises in religious freedom, works on behalf of those persecuted for their Christian beliefs and promotes religious liberty for all.

For more information, please call 0845 456 5464, email admin@csw.org.uk or visit www.csw.org.uk