Formerly imprisoned pastor Saeed Abedini has filed for divorce from his wife, Naghmeh, nearly 10 months after she sought legal separation from him, the two revealed on Facebook.
"My heart is deeply saddened to be sharing the news that Naghmeh and I will be divorcing," Saeed Abedini posted the evening of Oct. 5. "She has been my wife of 12 years and she will always be the wonderful mother to our amazing children. While we have experienced struggles, she, along with my children, will forever be my heroes, both for what they had to deal with during my imprisonment in Iran and for how they never gave up fighting for my freedom."
Naghmeh Abedini's Oct. 4 post was brief, but she said details would follow.
"It is with a heavy and broken heart that I inform all of you who have prayed and wept with our family the last few years that Saeed has rejected counseling for anger and abuse and has filed for a divorce," she wrote on Facebook. "There will be a time to share more fully, but for now, we appreciate your prayers."
Saeed Abedini, an American citizen of Iranian descent, was released in January from an Iranian prison where he had been held three and a half years as punishment for his Christian faith and evangelism. Naghmeh Abedini had advocated and campaigned extensively for his release, speaking at churches and other venues, meeting with President Obama, leading international days of prayers and fasting, among other initiatives.
However, she filed for legal separation from the pastor Jan. 26, the day he returned to Boise, Idaho, after the U.S. government negotiated his release from Iran as part of a nuclear disarmament deal. The two are parents to 10-year-old Rebekka and 8-year-old Jacob.
"There are no words to describe the ongoing effect of the trauma I experienced and my family has experienced both during and in the aftermath of my imprisonment. We are different people, and we are hurting people," Saeed said of the divorce. "It pains me to say, but I have decided the only path toward healing is apart, and not together."
He maintained his faith in Christ.
"My personal pain, and our family's struggle, does not diminish my commitment to Christ or my resolve to preach his Gospel to Iranians and to Muslims around the world. It also doesn't effect [sic] my resolve to stand up to the Iranian government whose human rights abuses are among the worst in the world," Saeed said. "Sometimes as Christians, we experience pain for which there is no explanation in this life, yet we must continue, even in the hardest of times, to look to Christ for strength, grace and comfort."
Diana Chandler is Baptist Press' general assignment writer/editor. BP (bpnews.net) reports on missions, ministry and witness advanced through the Cooperative Program and on news related to Southern Baptists' concerns nationally and globally.