At 7 p.m. Monday, Rostampour and Amirizadeh will share their story at the School of Christian Thought at North Boulevard Church of Christ, 1112 N. Rutherford Blvd.
Although both women didn’t meet until their 20s, Rostampour and Amirizadeh were raised Muslim. While their family members weren’t devout Muslims, the women tried to study the Quran and follow its teachings.
But something was missing, said Amirizadeh.
“As a child, I had many questions about God. I always asked many questions and I couldn’t get the right answer because in Iran, we only had access to Quran and Islamic books,” Amirizadeh said, explaining that she was unable to do research on other religions. “Why did we have to pray five times a day? Why did we have to cover ourselves? Why did we have to speak to God in Arabic? Could God not understand our native language, which is Farsi?”
Rostampour was always “disappointed” when she read the Quran and never felt a closeness with God by reading it.
“Many verses in the Quran are against women. Many verses encourage war. There are verses that say if you convert from Islam to another religion, you are an infidel,” Rostampour said. “But I had this passion to know God.”
In separate parts of the country, both went in search of God.
“We are honored to host these two courageous women on Monday night, hearing how God used them to comfort the suffering and teach the truth about Jesus in one of the worst prisons in Iran,” said Renee Sproles, associate director of the School of Christian Thought.
Amirizadeh believes that even before she found Christianity, God revealed to her the “true face of Islam” through a dream when she was 17.
In the dream, Amirizadeh was praying to the sky when a white horse came down from the clouds and took her to the city, where people were coming out of a mosque. “All of them had savage features. And as soon as they saw me, they tried to kill me,” she recalled.
Rostampour was introduced to Christianity by a friend and through reading a booklet about Jesus, she “could feel something happening” in her heart.
Islamic law forbade them from sharing Christianity, but it didn’t stop them. They attended house churches in secret and over a period of three years, put Bibles into the hands of 20,000 Iranians.
But eventually they were arrested for their actions and sent to the torturous Evin Prison.
The prison officials separated them to interrogate them and tried to get names of fellow Christians, Rostampour said.
“They told us if we didn’t convert, we will face execution by hanging. It’s easy to talk about now, but we lived in this condition for nine months,” Rostampour said.
Even in prison, they didn’t stop sharing the gospel of Jesus. Although they had no access to Bibles, they had both studied so much and memorized verses that carried them through the awful conditions, Amirizadeh said.
“It wasn’t easy. But there is a verse in Matthew that talks about forgiving your enemies and those who persecute you,” Amirizadeh said. “I asked God to help me to live those verses.”
More than a decade after coming to Christ, they continue to share their harrowing story at conferences, churches and schools across the world.