"God is good. All the time."
So began Meriam Ibrahim's address at the Faith, Family and Freedom Gala Dinner, at the close of the 2014 Values Voter Summit. Ibrahim was the recipient of the inaugural "Cost of Discipleship Award" in recognition of her immense courage and steadfast faith while being imprisoned and sentenced to death in her native country of Sudan for refusing to renounce Christianity and for marrying a Christian man.
Although Ibrahim was raised Ethiopian Orthodox, her father (who left her family when she was a young child) was a Muslim, and in the eyes of Sudan's government, Ibrahim was as well. It is against the law in Sudan to commit apostasy, and Muslims are not permitted to marry non-Muslims. A court in Sudan found her guilty of apostasy, and she was imprisoned while eight months pregnant and eventually gave birth to a daughter while shackled in a jail cell.
Speaking through a translator, Ibrahim told the crowd about her time in prison, and thanked the members of Congress and human rights activists who worked to free her. Ibrahim's husband, Daniel, is an American citizen. She and her family arrived in the United States in late July.
Ibrahim also offered words encouragement to Naghmeh Abedini, wife of Pastor Saeed Abedini, who has been imprisoned in Iran for the past two years.
A video of her speech can be found here. Ibrahim's speech begins around the 62-minute mark.
I cannot even begin to fathom what this courageous woman has gone through during the past six months. I feel incredibly blessed to have been born in a country where religious freedom is a guaranteed right.