POCATELLO, Idaho - Nearly 500 people throughout the community filed into the Calvary Chapel church Sunday evening, including Mayor Brian Blad, to show support for Naghmeh Abedini and her two children as they continue their pleas for Boise pastor Saeed Abedini's safe release.
Abedini has been held captive in Iran for the past two years after kissing his family goodbye in June 2012 to continue working on an orphanage he and his wife had started back in 2009.
"Five revolutionary guards raided the house he was staying at in Iran with his parents and took him to Elvin prison," Naghmeh said. "He was beaten and tortured to deny his Christian faith."
Today Naghmeh and her two children, six-year old Jacob and seven-year old Rebecca, awoke to find out the Iranian government has agreed to release more than 600 of its prisoners.
Unfortunately, Abedini was not one of those on that list to be freed.
"I have reached such a deep world of despair and darkness and depression that I knew I just couldn't get out unless there was a miracle," Naghmeh said.
She said he had sustained such bad internal injuries from his time spent in the Iranian prison, he was recently moved to a nearby hospital where he is being treated for his severe internal bleeding.
She said now, the campaign for his release has stretched worldwide with both the United States government and even the United Nations both plotting his safe return home.
"It has been a lot of up's and down's; a lot of promises where we thought, 'oh, he's going to come out now,' and then a lot of down's where the Iranian government seems to just continually resist."
For now, her only way of communicating with him is by writing him letters.
"He has missed two, going on three, birthday's, now - it has been really heart-wrenching for the kids."
But despite going through so much emotional turmoil, waking up almost every morning to face yet another day of struggling to stay strong, Naghmeh said the only light of hope that keeps her staying strong is holding onto her Christian faith that Abedini tenaciously refuses to be persecuted for in a nation separated by religious factions.
"No matter what bad news I hear, it can't destroy me because I find that strength in Jesus Christ," Naghmeh said.
Abedini has been sentenced to spend eight years in prison, and has been charged with "undermining the national authority of Iran," which, Naghmeh said it is perfectly legal in the country for "gatherings of religious minorities" so her husband is being held there illegally.
For a link to sign the petition relating to Abedini's release, click on this website here: http://beheardproject.com/saeed
The cause has also taken to Twitter, under the hashtag #FreeSaeed