After spending nearly four years in an Iranian prison, pastor Saeed Abedini is grateful for things most American citizens take for granted -- such as access to healthcare.
In a recent Facebook update, Abedini, who was freed in January alongside three other American citizens as part of a hostage exchange, wrote, "Today was a big celebration for me. My second miracle and answer to our prayers after my freedom from prison. I was at the hospital with my father and my sister Zeebandeh Abedini for most of the day getting a checkup and running tests."
He added, "Most people dread going to the hospital but when you have been imprisoned and have no access to a doctor, you actually get excited about seeing doctors and finding out if you are healthy."
The pastor went on to explain that his experience at U.S. hospitals have been the opposite of his treatment at the hospitals in Iran.
"They beat me in front of my mother, picked me up by my arms and legs and threw me to the car. Just one more reason why I love the United States," he wrote. "I have a few physical issues to get healed but God is able and I trust him to heal my body. I know you are also praising God with me that here in America we have wonderful doctors and hospitals."
As reported by The Gospel Herald, Abedini was originally imprisoned under accusations that his faith undermined the Iran government. During his first post-release interview back in the United States, he told Greta Van Susteren of Fox News that he had been beaten and tortured in captivity and passed the time by praying nearly 20 hours a day.
The pastor said that he was tortured by interrogators who tried to get him to sign confession papers to crimes he didn't commit, and was punished for refusing.
"In interrogation, once they beat me very badly," Abedini said at the time, noting how one beating caused him stomach to bleed.
On February 14, the pastor shared another Facebook update expressing his joy over being reunited with his two young children and thanking supporters for their thoughts and prayers. However, he admitted that his relationship with his wife, Naghmeh, "is not good at this point," and asked for prayers during the counseling process.
In January, Naghmeh reportedly filed a "domestic relations case," which is similar to a legal separation, after revealing her husband was abusive and struggled with a pornography addiction.
In a Facebook post, Naghmeh said she hoped for reconciliation with her husband, but had to establish boundaries to work toward healing.
"I love my husband, but as some might understand, there are times when love must stop enabling something that has become a growing cancer. We cannot go on the way it has been. I hope and pray our marriage can be healed. I believe in a God who freed Saeed from the worst prisons can hear our plea and bring spiritual freedom."
Naghmeh in her Facebook statement apologized to her followers for not disclosing the abuse sooner.
"I sincerely had hoped that this horrible situation Saeed has had to go through would bring about the spiritual change needed in both of us to bring healing to our marriage," she said. "Tragically, the opposite has occurred."