Marziyeh (Marzi) Amirizadeh and her friend Maryam Rostampour were arrested in 2009 and sentenced to death for sharing their Christian beliefs. Little did the authorities know that they had not only shared their faith; they had also illegally distributed more than 20,000 Bibles throughout Tehran over three years. This crime was punishable by death without hesitation.
Although they were still sentenced to death for refusing to deny their faith and converting to Islam, international pressure to have them released was building. They were eventually released due to the international uproar. However, staying in Iran was not safe and they fled Iran to Turkey. Here, they began documenting the horrors of Tehran’s brutal Evin Prison, where prisoners are tortured and often executed. After being granted asylum in the United States, they published their book Captive in Iran. Their story, which described the horrors of Evin Prison and the miracles that impacted prisoners as Marzi and Maryam shared their faith, inspired millions around the world.
A Love Journey with God
Marzi has written a new book called A Love Journey with God that describes her faith journey from the time God revealed Himself to her and the challenges she faced when she shared her faith with her family, which led to separation and much suffering, poverty and hardships.
She relates her life as being similar to Joseph’s story in the Bible because of her brothers’ jealousy toward the love her father showed her. Her dreams of a college degree were unfulfilled because her wealthy brothers deprived her of her inheritance. This left her struggling to earn a living in a culture where single women are viewed with suspicion and derision.
Marzi also shares the reality of growing up as a young woman under strict Sharia Law imposed in 1979 by the Iranian government. Sharia Law is particularly stringent for women. From the age of seven, Marzi had to cover herself, wear a hijab and faced many challenges when she fought for her rights.
A Love Journey with God also recounts the culture shock of arriving in America and her struggles to establish herself in a new world. Having experienced the misery of living in a country where a powerful government took away freedoms, Marzi delivers a stark warning to Western countries to hold on to the freedoms they currently take for granted. She believes the overreach of liberal socialism is a real threat to democracy.
A Thirst For the True God
‘I questioned Islamic rules since my childhood because the way that Islam introduces God to people is mostly about punishment. And I remember at school they would describe different kinds of tortures if we disobeyed God or disobeyed any Islamic rules,’ said Marzi. ‘Those punishments, especially for women, were much worse than for men. That’s why, as a child, I could not understand or accept such a definition of God, that he’s such a cruel God, that for doing the slightest sin, he’s immediately going to punish me.’
Marzi began to question the Islamic rules, such as why she had to pray the Namaz prayer, which was to keep repeating Arabic words five times a day while bending in front of God. She didn’t understand why she had to pray in Arabic instead of Farsi, her native language, why she had to pray at specific times during the day, or why she had to cover herself. Marzi’s theology teachers were angry at her questions and told her to ‘just follow the Islamic rules.’
But Marzi was thirsty to find truth and sought to have a more personal relationship with God. That’s when a dream revealed the true God of love to Marzi. At the time, she knew nothing about Jesus, but she decided to stop her Islamic prayers and start talking to God as a child speaks with her father. A few years later, a friend who converted to Christianity told her about Jesus, and that’s when her life took a dramatic turn.
Discovering Jesus, The Son of God
‘I was curious because it was the first time I heard about Jesus and that He is the Son of God. I got a Bible and started reading, and other miracles just started happening. I had more visions that I shared in my second book, A Love Journey with God,’ said Marzi. ‘A day that really changed my life was the day I was alone in my room praying to God. Suddenly, I was baptised by the Holy Spirit, and I started praying in tongues without knowing those languages. And while I was praying, I saw Jesus right in front of me in white clothes.’
That experience was when Marzi says God removed the veil from her eyes, and everything became clear. She sang and prayed for hours as all doubts about Jesus were gone. At that moment, she dedicated her whole life to Him.
Marziyeh Brother Ordered to Kill Her
Marzi’s younger brother asked her to tell him about her faith. When she told him about Jesus, it prompted him to research the difference between Islam and Christianity. Unfortunately, his studies made him start practising Islamic rules, which Marzi found very disheartening. She did not understand why God would let this happen.
When Marzi’s brother mentioned to the Mullah, a teacher of religious law, that he was studying Islam and that his sister had become a Christian, the Mullah told him to kill her. The Mullah said he would not be charged for her murder and nothing would happen to him.
‘The regime always wanted to push the family members to kill their wives, sisters, daughters. That way it’s easier for them to take care of people like me who convert to Christianity,’ said Marzi.
Marzi’s brother eventually gave his heart to Jesus.
Marzi continues to spread the Gospel and fight for Iranian women’s rights. She is a public speaker and activist for religious freedom.
To find out more about Marziyeh and to purchase a copy of A Love Journey with God, click her book title link or visit her website: Marzi’s Journey | A Love Journey with God (marzisjourney.com)
To hear Marzi’s interview with Andrew McLennan, click the link below: