Have you ever watched a show that is so intriguing that you were glued to the tv? Or how about, have you ever heard a story that was so interesting that you just had to listen? That is kinda what happens to me when I watch David Letterman’s new show on Netflix, “My Next Guest Needs No Introduction….”
Last week at IMM, we had a special guest that should be on Letterman’s new show. Her name is Shahla.
Shahla grew up in a sensitive country in the Middle East. One of the ones that the United States had troops in not too long ago. She lived her life like any other woman in her country. She worked, went grocery shopping, and spent time with her family and friends. You know, the typical everyday life kind of stuff.
One day in late spring, several years ago, Shahla was arrested by government soldiers. She was immediately tried, threatened by death, and stripped of her normal clothes. She was given a heavy winter wool prisoner's jumpsuit, blindfolded, and thrown in a small cell. The cell, as she described it, was dark, grungy, and had a repulsive stench that made her gag. She said that the cell was about eight hands wide by eleven hands long (measuring from the tip of her pinky to the tip of her thumb). Shahla spent four months in this solitary confinement cell only to be brought out blindfolded to use the restroom (if the guards remembered), tortured and interrogated. After the fourth month of her time in prison, she was released into the normal ward with other prisoners. Her new cellmate was a prisoner who was a known murderer.
But what was the crime that fit a punishment like this!? What did she do that was so horrifically atrocious?
Shahla’s only offense was that she is a Christian, and helped the church evangelize in her country.
The first day she was in solitary, she cried out to God “Why is this happening to me!? Why!?” What happened next is completely mind-blowing. Shahla said that within just a few short hours of being in prison, she saw the wall move. The wall slid down, and on the other side was a man. The man said, “Shahla, everything will be ok. I am with you. Do not fear.” After He said that, the man disappeared, and the wall returned to normal. The man who appeared to her was Jesus Christ. After that, she knew that there was a reason she was in prison. She then had the encouragement she needed to continually worship God, and pray almost the entire time she was in solitary. And when she was released into the ward with the other prisoners, she led her murder cellmate to Christ!
After a year of being in prison, Shahla was released. Shortly after she was able to escape the country to safety. There are so many more miracles that she told our team about, that we can’t even begin to tell you all of them. What Shahla went through was simply because she believes in Jesus Christ (as her Lord, God, and Savior), and for following through with the Great Commision. Now she lives in Spain and travels to share her story in Churches, and to lead others to Jesus.
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, OUR VERY SPECIAL GUEST… SHAHLA! A TRUE HERO OF THE FAITH!
This is why we do what we do. To give people like Shahla, who face the threat of death and imprisonment every day, the resources that they need to effectively reach the lost in some of the most spiritually dark places around the world.
It has been a great honor and privilege to get to know Shahla over the past week and create her portraits.