Saeed Abedini Celebrates Son's 8th Birthday as Free Man, 'Answer to Prayer From Millions'

Saeed and Jacob Abedini
Pastor Saeed Abedini celebrating son Jacob's eight birthday in Boise, Idaho on March 17, 2016. |

Pastor Saeed Abedini has marked his son, Jacob's, eighth birthday as a free man after being released from prison in Iran earlier this year, calling the occasions the "answer to prayer" of millions of people around the world.

"This moment is the answer to pray (sic) and the work of millions of people all around the world," Abedini wrote Thursday on his Facebook page, sharing pictures of Jacob's birthday party with his supporters.

"Today Jacob stands as a witness saying, 'The Lord has answered my prayer,'" he added.

The pastor also told his son at school: "Son, I am so proud of you, who patiently waited so long to see your father stand beside you here. Thank you for standing beside me in my journey of walking with the Lord the last four long years."

Abedini spent three and a half years in prison in Iran, where he was held hostage behind bars for his Christian faith. Millions of people signed petitions advocating for his release, supported also by political and religious leaders in America and around the world.

Abedini faced torture and intimidation during his time in prison, and in letters he managed to send out he shared of his pain at missing the birthdays of his children, including his daughter, Rebekkah.

Last year for Jacob's seventh birthday, the pastor sent Jacob a letter in response to an invitation for his birthday.

"I saw your beautiful birthday invitation that you had made me and I know how much you want me to be there on your birthday," Abedini's letter read.

"Daddy loves you so much. I long to be there for your birthday and to make this reunion happen, but my chains are keeping me from you."

The American citizen, who was freed in January following a prisoner exchange with Iran, and has since returned to his home in Boise, encouraged Jacob back then to trust in God, writing, "I know the One who is there on your birthday who is there for you and cares for you more than anyone could imagine."

President Barack Obama met Abedini's wife, Naghmeh, and the couple's two children back in January 2015, where he promised the family to do all he can to bring their father home.

Naghmeh said back then that the meeting "means the world to me and my children and has given me a renewed sense of hope."

At the meeting, Jacob apparently asked Obama: "Mr. President, can you please bring daddy home for my birthday?"

Obama responded that he will make every effort to grant the boy his wish.

And while Jacob did not get his wish fulfilled last year, he has now been able to celebrate his eighth birthday with his father.

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