One year later, family of imprisoned pastor holds to hope and faith
"My daughter used to sing a song with daddy right before bedtime, and it's been over a year since he's sang that song to her."
A full year since Naghmeh and Saeed Abedini’s daughter Rebekkah Abedini last heard her father sing, she celebrated her seventh birthday without him.
"Night time is when the kids miss their daddy, when they want him there praying with them, and when I'm alone, when the kids are sleeping and I realize he's not here," says Naghmeh.
And those lonely nights keep adding up, with Saeed still behind bars in Iran.
While her nights may be lonely, today she wasn't, as she was joined by hundreds of people, praying with her on the state capitol steps for her husband's safe return.
"They were physically standing with our family through the storm and it was very symbolic," Abedini said of the event.
She says Thursday's vigil was more than just symbolism. She believes the group could end up helping bring her husband home - all through silent prayer.
"I think prayer can accomplish what governments can't,” she says. “As a Christian, I do believe what the Iranian government doesn't want to do, God can do. He can free Saeed and he's above any governments."
So, she's left hoping and praying that today's prayer might work. And she's being proactive.
After a year of traveling the world to get her husband home, Abedini says she's not done.
"I’ve told the Iranian government that I will not back down until he's on American soil, no matter what promises they make that they will free him. Until he's here, I can physically see him, I'm not backing away."
Abedini says she believes the tides have turned and recent pressure will help encourage the Iranian government to cut Saeed's eight-year sentence short - setting up a reunion she says she's been dreaming of.