The power of friendship evangelism and healing prayers in the Middle East!

Report: Bibles for Mideast and an underground Assembly of Loving God (ALG)  church in the Middle East

Born into a large Muslim Arab family in the Middle East, Aslam Shukkoor* firmly believed the only way to live properly and make your way to heaven was to follow the strict rules of radical Islam. He devoutly practiced his faith and followed its teachings. He never allowed non-Muslims even to visit his house.  He also made a good living owning date plantations and fuel stations.

He and his wife had three boys and three girls, all well-behaved, intelligent children. When the oldest son reached 15, a mysterious illness struck. It began with fever and body pain, then progressed to severe weakness in his legs until he became completely bedridden.  Aslam took him to several super-specialist hospitals, but doctors could not diagnose the cause of his ailments. Every treatment they tried failed, and within two months, the young man died.  

When the second son reached 15, the same disorder began to plague him. The imam of the local mosque told the family it must be because of an ancestral curse. So they invited a number of famous Muslim priests to pray for the children and all in the household. But nothing improved. Someone suggested to Aslam that their house surely had strong demons living in it, drinking the children’s blood one by one. So they decided to move to an area far away.

 Bibles for Mideast gospel team sharing with locals

Bibles for Mideast gospel team sharing with locals

Several missionaries of Bibles for Mideast working in that region, on hearing of the tragedy in Aslam’s family, decided to go visit them.

“We are Christians,” they boldly announced at his gate. “Our Lord Jesus Christ is the living savior. He was crucified, died and rose from the dead. He is able to heal the sick and cast out all demons. If you allow it, may we see your sick son and pray for him and for the rest of your family?”

Aslam would have none of it.

“You kafirs!” he shouted [a derogatory expression for anyone not believing in Islam—Ed.] “How dare you come to my house?  We don’t need your prayers. Allah is merciful. We know he hears our prayers. Get away from my house before I call the police!”

The missionaries attempted to leave a sample gospel with him. Yelling again, he grabbed it from them before tearing it to pieces and throwing it in a nearby waste basket.

Aslam and his wife decided to take their second son, now in debilitating pain, to another country for, they hoped, better treatment. Unfortunately, he too died.

Soon afterwards, they boarded a plane for the flight home, bringing their son’s lifeless body back for burial. Another Arab couple, who ‘just happened’ to be members of an ALG (Assembly of Loving God) church, sat across from them.

They could easily see how distressed Aslam and his wife were—she weeping inconsolably and he trying his best to comfort her in the name of Allah. They obviously and palpably worried about their other children as well.

The Christian Arab couple gently questioned them, and learned they were travelling home with the body of their second dead son. They sympathized and consoled in such a kindly way that the Muslim couple soon considered them trustworthy friends. Aslam shared all they had gone and were going through.

The Christian woman related to them her own family’s unfortunate experiences and how the Lord Jesus Christ—through the prayers of Christian missionaries—had saved them. “If you believe in Jesus and pray in faith, he will certainly help you to overcome the problems. Our own lives are witnesses to that,” she assured them. She and her husband then shared the message of the gospel.

Aslam and his wife grew increasingly irritated.

“Islam is the most holy and true religion in the world,” Aslam let them know with certainty. “Prophet Mohammed is the true messenger of Allah. Prophet Jesus is only a human being and lower than Prophet Mohammed. Whatever Allah wills, he does. Though we are sad about our children, we know it is Allah’s will. We obey him and his truth. So our advice to you is not to become kafir.”

In spite of the tension, the four remained friendly for the rest of the flight. The Christian couple helped the bereaved parents at the airport, and even accompanied them as they took their son’s corpse back to their house.

The relationship continued to blossom as the weeks went on, discussions often centering on religion. The church couple naturally kept up their attempts to convince their new friends of the need for salvation.

It wasn’t many months before the Muslim couple’s third son came down with the dreaded illness. The Arab Christians decided to visit them, accompanied by the same Bibles for Mideast missionaries Aslam had ‘thrown out’ few years earlier. Aslam recognized them but said nothing about it. He simply invited them within the gates of his property and offered them seats in the yard.

The Christian woman they’d met on the plane went inside the house, where Aslam’s wife introduced her to her sick son and the couple’s other children. The woman again tried to explain the all-importance of prayer in Jesus’ name.

Aslam’s wife then called her husband inside. She asked him to invite the missionaries in as well, and allow them to pray for the boy. He agreed!

 Poor former Muslim woman reading Bible

Poor former Muslim woman reading Bible

Once inside and before praying, the Bibles for Mideast workers related their own dramatic stories of moving from Islam to Christianity. All listened intently, and continued to as the missionaries went on to share the gospel.

“I believe in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior!” they suddenly heard from the sick boy’s room. “I believe He will heal me and deliver me and others of my house from this strange trouble. Please pray for me.”

So of course the missionaries did. As they laid their hands on his head and prayed, the young fellow explained later how he felt a man’s hands gently touch his whole body. He also sensed a horrible smell leave his body and then, a beautiful aroma totally enveloped him. Finally, he caught a glimpse of the hands and saw what looked like scars in them.

Immediately, all the pain vanished. He shook his legs and found them stronger. When he tried to put them on the floor, he found to his delight they worked! He began walking and running around as everyone else watched in amazement. Only moments later, all believed in Jesus as their personal savior and Lord.

 Praying in an underground church

Praying in an underground church

Since then, no sickness has come near that family. They now regularly attend an underground Assembly of Loving God (ALG) church and worship the Lord Jesus Christ in Spirit and truth.

Please pray for them as well as all missionaries, staff and believers of Bibles for Mideast and the growing ALG churches.

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­____________________________
Name changed for security reasons

Dramatic conversions, healing and deliverance in the jungles of South Asia

A seven-member team from Bibles for Mideast returned victorious last week from an exhausting but exhilarating mission trip in South Asia! Many thanks to all who held them up in prayer. 

High and deep in a remote, thickly-forested region of South Asia, two Bibles for Mideast missionaries have lived and worked among a group they call ‘jungle people’ for close to two years. Despite the area being infiltrated by sorcerers, witches and communist terrorists, several locals had made decisions to join the Kingdom of Christ and a small underground ALG Church was born.

But battles proved intense and were worsening. While the workers sensed an eagerness among many to accept the gospel, fierce backlashes from the Kingdom of darkness led to increasing fear and hesitancy among the inhabitants and death threats to the missionaries

So they did the best Kingdom logical thing: they declared a five-day period of fasting, prayer, house visits and gospel meetings. On hearing of the plans, Pastor Paul,  ALG pastors Peter Haneef and James Irshad and four other Bibles for Mideast evangelists decided to join up with the missionaries.

Simply getting there involved days of demanding travel, much of it on rough, stony roads and paths inaccessible to most vehicles. At one point they were stranded by torrential rains at a forest station near the foot of the final pathway up to the people they hoped to reach. As God would have it, the forest officer is a strong believer in Jesus, stays in fairly regular contact with the hilltop believers, and gladly sheltered, fellowshipped with and prayed with the evangelists. The plan was for some of the hilltop believers to make the three-mile trek down the mountain to meet the visitors and accompany them back up to where they lived.

As the rains, now accompanied by thunder and lightning, continued, dangerous rock and mudslides began rolling down the mountain.

“Our missionaries and believers could not come down from the hills,” Pastor Paul explains. They thought they might have to abort the mission.

 oFFERING A BIBLE TO A LOCAL

oFFERING A BIBLE TO A LOCAL

“But that night we prayed until the rain finally stopped at about two in the morning. Then, finally, we went to bed. We did not have any idea about the hill people, whether they would come to receive us or not.”

About three hours later, the men woke to hear loud knocking on their door. They opened, stunned to see the ‘hilltop missionaries’ along with the new converts waiting to take them up the hill! Hours of torturous trudging later, they reached the top by ten that morning

“Physically we all were tired, but spiritually we were strengthened,” Pastor Paul reports of the ascent.

The original plan had been to stay among the people for five days: praying and fasting each morning, visiting in people’s homes each afternoon, then holding gospel meetings each evening. While they kept to the prayer and fasting even while and after climbing that first day, due to fatigue they canceled the afternoon visiting and evening meeting. Instead they pretty well passed out on floor mats in the hut they stayed in, but woke refreshed the next morning.

“We held our prayer and fasting again and a few more villagers attended,” Pastor Paul recounts. “Someone brought a deaf and dumb man to the gathering, and all joined in prayer for him.  After the service he knelt down before the Lord Jesus in front of me. I put my hands on his head and prayed. As I prayed, he suddenly said, ‘Praise the Lord Jesus and hallelujah!’  Then he said he could hear!”

 THEIR ORIGINAL SCEPTICISM TURNED TO ACCEPTANCE

THEIR ORIGINAL SCEPTICISM TURNED TO ACCEPTANCE

The news of course spread quickly and by that afternoon, all of the houses in the area opened their doors wide to the missionaries and their message. Many more attended that evening's meeting.

Communist terrorists have a strong influence in this region, forming almost as dire a threat as ISIS.

“They were directing people against Christians and our ministry,” Pastor Paul explains. “They had a large stockpile of landmines they planned to use to destroy our church along with us during the meetings.”

In a wondrous God-twist, the landslides which had so threatened the evangelists’ trip up the mountain had also completely buried and washed away the terrorists’ collection of landmines. Shocked at their sudden loss, the terrorists still sent agents to spy on the church’s evening meetings.

On the third day, the believers meetings and visits went according to plan. That evening, one of the communist terrorists unknowingly stepped on a landmine planted by one of his comrades. Placed to explode when the missionaries walked towards one of the villager's homes, it instead nearly blew apart the terrorist.

Severely injured, he had no chance of getting to a hospital in time to be saved.  Believers who witnessed the explosion told his friends to bring him to the gospel center for prayer. They refused at first, but the locals persisted until they relented and brought him.

“We shared the gospel and prayed for him,” explains Pastor Paul. “At once our Lord poured out His healing power and restored him.  He knew the power of prayer and accepted Jesus Christ as his personal savior and Lord.”

His friends, now totally free of misgivings, followed suit. They then warned the believers of the many other landmines they had planted all around the prayer hall. After the whole group prayed together again, the former terrorists went out and, under the direction and leadership of their healed comrade, located and removed all the hidden landmines.

On the fourth day, Sunday, most of the villagers attended the worship service. Everyone who did confessed before the Lord and accepted Him as his or her personal savior. That afternoon, the team visited all the remaining homes.

 gROWING PRAISE AND WORSHIP AMONG NEW BELIEVERS

gROWING PRAISE AND WORSHIP AMONG NEW BELIEVERS

One of those happened to belong to the village sorcerer. She had a giant black idol as her ‘goddess’, the villagers explained, and when possessed, would begin to shudder violently. Then, taking hold of a huge sword, she’d find a rooster and kill it in front of her goddess. Screaming, she would proceed to drink the animal’s blood in hopes of pleasing the idol. Now completely demonized, she’d ‘tell the fortunes’ of those in attendance and dictate what they should and should not do to be blessed. All would obey.

Unfazed by the stories, the missionaries invited themselves into her home and shared their testimonies and the message of the gospel. They made it clear ALL worship and praise must be to the one and only Creator and Savior, Jesus Christ.

"He came down from heaven, suffered, was crucified on the cross of Calvary and died for our sins," they boldly told her. "On the third day—which was around 2000 years ago—He rose from the dead and still lives for usI In Him we have salvation and eternal life. Accept Him as your Savior." 

Not surprisingly, Pastor Paul says, she refused their message and further, “angrily asked us to get lost.”

But as they found out later, “she lost her peace and could not sleep at night,” he explains.  “Several times she tried to please the idol with her black practices. She’d pull her hair, grab it together and smash the floor with it, beat her chest and scream in front of the idol.”

Suddenly she heard a loud, horrifying noise. She looked to see that her precious idol had somehow been smashed to pieces and now lay scattered all over her floor.

In absolute terror, she ran out to find the pastors. With the believers, all were deep in prayer at their evening gathering. She rushed in among them and "prostrated herself before us,” Pastor Paul recalls. As she trembled on the floor in fear, the women prayer warriors gathered around her and helped her up. She explained all that had happened and begged them to pray for her.

for site nite time baptism.jpg

“We shared the gospel again and she accepted Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior,” says Pastor Paul.  “After that she did not go to her house because of fear, but stayed with us.” 

The group held a glorious baptismal ceremony on the fifth evening, baptizing many. They then wrapped everything up with the Lord’s Supper. The next day they set out on the long, arduous, but beyond-joyful journey back home

Please keep this growing gathering of believers and the missionaries working among them in your prayers!

It depends on whose hands

By Pastor Paul, Bibles for Mideast

A basketball in my hands is worth nothing.
A basketball in Michael Jordan’s hands is worth much.
It depends on whose hands.
 
A cricket bat in my hands generates little.
A cricket bat in Sachin Tendulkar’s hands generates fame and popularity.
It depends on whose hands.
 
Nunchaku [a karate stick weapon] in my hands is useless.
Nunchaku in Bruce Lee’s hands is a deadly weapon
It depends on whose hands.

Paul w bibles lower.jpg

A rod in my hands will keep away a street dog
A rod in Moses' hands will part the forceful sea.
It depends on whose hands.
 
A sling shot in my hands is a child's toy.
A sling shot in David's hand is a mighty weapon.
It depends on whose hands.

Five loaves and two fish in my hands can only feed me.
Five loaves and two fish in Jesus’ hands fed multitudes of people.
It depends on whose hands.
 
Nails in my hands might produce a birdhouse. 
The nail-scarred hands of Jesus produce salvation for the entire world.
It depends on whose hands.

My hands are small and weak.
God’s hands are big and strong.
Since He is willing to bear my anxiety,
Shouldn’t I commit my worries and anxiety into His hands?
 
Little becomes much in the Master’s hands.
My strength is little.
But if I commit my strength into His hands,
I have much more strength.

smaller hands for bottom less intense.jpg

________________________
But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”
The Apostle Paul writing in 2 Corinthians 12:9

Attacked by wild pig, rescued by ‘man with nail-scarred hands’

Pastor Paul's wife Mercy shares a pivotal, transformational experience in her grandmother's life

My grandmother Eliyamma grew up in a heavily-forested area in a highrange region of India. Her family was religious but hadn’t been taught what it meant to have a living relationship with Jesus Christ. Child marriage was common in India at the time, so at the age of 13 she married a man named Mathai.

Eliyamma and Mathai lived with her family in their mud house in the forest. They had no electricity or running water, and there wasn’t a local market to buy food. Her father and Mathai worked hard to reclaim the forest for their small farm, where they cultivated coffee and spices such as pepper and cardamom.

Because the family had no pipes to get suitable drinking water to their house or even a well nearby, it was part of the women’s daily chores to fetch water from the river.

One day, when Eliyamma was 27, she walked down to the river to fill up her water pot. As she bent over the water’s edge, a wild pig charged out of the underbrush and brutally attacked her. She fought back, using the water pot as a defensive shield and weapon to swing at the pig’s head.

wild pig lr.jpg

But as they fought, the wild pig became even more enraged and fierce. His sharp teeth ripped her legs and arms. Eliyamma knew her life was in jeopardy when blood began to flow profusely from her torn body. She cried out for help, but no one was nearby.

Suddenly a man appeared out of nowhere. He drove the pig away and then knelt down beside her to tend to her wounds. When his hands touched the torn places on her body, she was immediately healed.

Still in shock, Eliyamma’s eyes grew wide with astonishment as she saw the palms of the man’s hands. They were nail-scarred; he carried the markings of crucifixion. Reverence and awe filled her heart. Only one response came to mind as she recognized who attended her. She prostrated herself on the ground and said, “My Lord and my God!”

It was but a moment that she was face down in the soil, which was damp with river water mingled with blood. When she slowly raised her head, her Rescuer had disappeared.

After this dramatic incident, Eliyamma had an insatiable hunger to know more about Jesus. She accepted Him as her personal Savior and, as a result of her testimony, her entire family believed and received Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

In their lifetimes, Eliyamma and Mathai had a total of sixty-seven children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

 Eliyamma at 100!

Eliyamma at 100!

Being one of them, I grew up knowing Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I married a man named Paul who, though Muslim by birth, accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Savior and Lord on his twenty-first birthday while studying at university. Now we are winning souls for Christ.

My grandfather, Mathai, went home to be with the Lord when Eliyamma was 62. Thirty-nine years later, Jesus took Eliyamma home when she was 101. Up until that day, she eagerly awaited being with her Rescuer face-to-face, and she devoted her life to studying the Bible, praying for others, and glorifying her Lord as His living witness.

“The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear?” (Ps. 27: 1)

__________________

This forms a chapter from Amazing Modern-Day Miracles:  52 True Stories to Strengthen Your Faith by Suzanne Frey. 

Mohammed finds Jesus in Mecca!

Mecca! Mohammed shivered with excitement. To think he was really here, at the heart of Islam in Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of the great Prophet whose name he bore—the dream of a lifetime!

Although Mohammed served as an imam (pastor) at his local mosque on the island of Sumatra, Indonesia, he had never before made a pilgrimage to Mecca, as all devout Muslims must do at least once. This first hajj in May 1992 fulfilled Mohammed's commitment to the fifth and last pillar of Islam. He went full of expectation that the trip would represent the spiritual climax of his life.

On his first day in Mecca, Mohammed signed up for a bus tour of some outlying holy sites. The next morning he arrived early for one of the many regularly scheduled departures, and he sat right behind the bus driver to get a good view out the front window. He was glad the coach did not fill up and seats nearby remained empty.

The bus shifted into gear and headed down the road toward the city of Medina and the shrines they would visit. In Medina the Prophet Mohammed had established his theocratic state after fleeing a murder plot in Mecca in the year 622. With Medina more than 200 miles north of Mecca, Mohammed had plenty of time to strike up a conversation with the bus driver.

Above the drone of the engine they exchanged chit-chat, using English as a common language.

"Yes, this is my first hajj," Mohammed told the dark-haired driver whose face framed deep, penetrating eyes. "I'm from Sumatra, a Malay—one of the largest Muslim people groups in Southeast Asia."

The driver swiveled his head sideways enough to see Mohammed. "You know, you really shouldn't have spent all your money coming here."

Mohammed figured he had misunderstood. He leaned forward to catch the driver's words. "Excuse me?"

"Coming here on pilgrimage is really a waste of money," the driver repeated unmistakably. "All the rituals seeking to get into Allah's good graces—when you stop to think about it, Islam is full of hypocrisies."

Stunned, Mohammed  could only listen as the man went on to point out issues he had never considered. For over an hour they conversed as the bus rumbled on through the desert.

"The truth is," said the driver, turning to look straight at his passenger, "God wants to know you personally, as a friend, not just at a distance through rituals. Islam can't give you that kind of relationship."

With their destination approaching, the driver slowed and downshifted to park at the site. Everyone disembarked, but Mohammed's head spun with new, unthinkable thoughts. In a daze he followed the tour group, yet now everything seemed confused.

What did the driver mean? Where did he get such a perspective? How could I possibly run into a person like that in the Holy Land!

After the tour Mohammed hurried back to meet the returning bus, eager to get a seat by the driver and resume their conversation. But when he boarded, he looked up to see the face of someone new. His spirits sank.

"What happened to the earlier driver?" he asked the man behind the wheel.

He got little more than a shrug in response.

 Intense pleas to Allah for forgiveness in Mecca

Intense pleas to Allah for forgiveness in Mecca

Mohammed found a seat and stared out the window. During the trip back to Mecca, his heart burned with the words of the man on the morning bus. He felt he could recall the whole conversation from beginning to end.

Mohammed's hajj lasted more than a week, but the excitement and anticipation he had brought with him fizzled like air from a leaky tire. Everything he saw and did etched fresh questions and doubts into his mind. As he continued his pilgrimage, he scanned all the buses lined up at each tour site, but never saw his driver again.

Back at home, Mohammed's family wondered why he had not returned bubbling with joy from his spiritual zenith. In the solitude of his thoughts he pored over the events of his hajj. He could not forget the driver's words or his face. Yet Mohammed's spirit grappled with perplexities. If Islam is not the true faith, what is?

A few days later, Mohammed dropped by the home of a neighbor we will call A-Ching, a Chinese Christian, to borrow something. A-Ching welcomed him inside with customary Indonesian hospitality. As they chatted, Mohammed's eyes lit on something hanging from A-Ching's wall. There within a picture frame he saw the face of his bus driver from Mecca!

Mohammed gasped, pointing to the picture. "A-Ching! Do you know this man?"

"Yes, I do," came the reply. "That's Jesus. You know Him as Isa."

Mohammed sat still as a stone. Isa! The second-highest prophet in Islam—the Christians' Messiah! Could it be ...?

When he found his voice, he spoke up quietly. "I have a story to tell you, A-Ching."

His neighbor, just as shocked at the tale, listened in silence. When Mohammed finished, he began to choke up, suddenly overcome with conviction of his sin. A-Ching explained the truths Jesus had declared about His own identity and purpose.

"Mohammed, you can receive salvation as the free gift of God through Jesus Christ," A-Ching told him. "You can have a personal relationship with God."

Mohammed prayed and committed his life to Christ. When he returned home, he gathered his family and spilled out the whole account. Awed at his story and his transformation, they, too, confessed Jesus as Lord and Messiah.

A-Ching introduced Mohammed privately to the pastor of his local fellowship. Then, for their own protection, a network of believers spirited the new convert and his family to a safe house in another city where they could receive biblical teaching without risking retribution from angry Islamists.

book cover v small.jpg

Mohammed's trip to Mecca indeed proved to be the turning point of his spiritual life. But he never expected supernatural revelation to come through his bus driver.

____________________________
This story has been excerpted, with permission, from Stories from the Front Lines by Jane Rumph.

Freedom for Middle East missionaries imprisoned for evangelizing; healing and salvation for fellow prisoners!

Report: Bibles for Mideast and an Assembly of Loving God (ALG)  church in the Middle East

Pastor Zakkir of Bibles for Mideast labored long, hard and secretively in one of the most restrictive countries in the Middle East, as we reported last year in our story From Islamic enforcer and Christian killer to underground church leader: a modern-day Muslim Saul.

After his dramatic conversion, he had been pastoring an underground ALG (Assembly of Living God) church and taking care of a number of persecuted Christians who had converted from Islam. He lived with and was training seven young men in how to effectively evangelize in the Middle East.
 
About seven months ago, he and his team headed out to evangelize and distribute gospel tracts and bibles in a particularly dangerous area. They shared with many Muslims in the region and on returning home, sat down to intercede for the salvation of those they'd reached out to. 

As they prayed, a group of policemen and angry locals barged in on them, brandishing guns. They brutally attacked Zakkir and the team, burned their bibles and gospel literature along with their clothes and other items. While the men who’d accompanied the police aimed to kill the Christians, fortunately the officers decided to 'only' arrest them. They were whisked away to a religious court for trial and sentenced to prison for blasphemy and proselytizing.

When thrown into a common cell with notorious criminals and murderers, their real trials began. For over a month they faced cruel torture by jail wardens and relentless, often violent harassment from fellow prisoners. Yet they report now they felt the ever-present love of the Lord Jesus Christ. Compared to what He endured for us, they explain, their sufferings amounted to nothing.

 Inside a Mddle Eastern jail cell

Inside a Mddle Eastern jail cell

On first arriving at their cell, they immediately knelt down and prayed in the name of Jesus. Seeing this, other prisoners beat them and made it clear they were not to ever pray like this. So the men resorted to waiting till the others were sound asleep, then join hands in fervent worship and prayer. They figure the Lord must have induced deep sleep in their fellow prisoners, just to allow His children to worship Him in spirit, truth and safety. They prayed especially for their jailers and cellmates.
 
One day a man imprisoned for murdering three people developed severe chest pains and began vomiting blood.  He had been the one encouraging others to torture the gospel team members. 

“Shall we pray to Jesus for your healing?” Pastor Zakkir asked him.

“No!” he replied. “You cannot pray for me in that name and I do not want to hear that name again!” 

When his vomiting resumed even more severely, the man, now exhausted, thought he was going to die.

“Shall we pray for you?” Zakkir inquired again. ”Jesus is the mighty healer and He will heal you and will give you life, for which we are the witness.”

The criminal didn’t turn down the offer this time. So the pastor touched his head and prayed over him. The other team members laid their hands on him as well, joining in the prayers.

His stomach settled down immediately, as did his chest pains. Leaping to his feet as if absolutely nothing had been wrong, he marvelled that he'd felt something like an electric current flow through his body when the men prayed.

Others in the cell were equally stunned by his swift relief. The atmosphere in the cell soon transformed as the convicts grew friendly and accommodating. The missionaries could now freely pray as and when they wanted.

Furthermore, when any prisoner felt sick, depressed or upset, he'd now ask for prayer and find rapid, remarkable relief. One by one the convicted murderers, rapists, thieves and other outlaws joined the gospel workers in their times of prayer. Without the jail wardens or officers knowing, the whole cell resembled an underground church each night, with praise, worship and prayers rising to the heavens. 

Zakkir and his team related their own stories of salvation to the others, and the pastor shared the gospel message. Each and every prisoner confessed his many sins before Jesus Christ, and readily accepted Him as personal savior and Lord. They agreed that if released from jail, they too would become witnesses of Jesus to others.
 
Three months ago, a new officer took charge of the prison. Apparently trying particularly hard to prove he was tough and up to the task of controlling those in his charge, he behaved harshly towards prisoners. He could not figure out, however, why the men in this one particular cell actually seemed calm and happy. They behaved well and kindly to each other and even more surprising, when beaten or tortured, responded with “Praise the Lord!” Keeping a close eye on them, he discovered it was all because of the prayers of the gospel team members. So after two weeks, he moved Pastor Zakkir and his team into a separate cell.
 
And he continued to watch them. One night, as soon as he heard them praying, the officer entered their quarters. The gospel workers’ initial fear turned to wonder as he walked unthreateningly towards them and sat down. He then opened up about his own life. He had studied at a western university, he explained, and while there, had many Christian friends. Through their influence, he learned about the sacrifice of Jesus and had even accepted Him as his personal savior. He attended worship and prayer services with his Christian buddies and had numerous experiences with God at the time.

But on returning to his homeland after studies, he joined the government services and lost all Christian fellowship. He did however still begin his day reading the bible and secretly prayed to Jesus both morning and night.

Now, he eagerly joined with the evangelists in prayer. He asked each of them to share their testimonies, which they of course did. The men continued in worship and prayer till dawn. From then on, the officer interceded with them every night. With his help the prisoners in the team's previous cell continued their prayers as well.
 
Since the new, secretly-Christian officer held sway in higher circles within the prison system, he took the initiative in securing their release from jail, with one condition: they must leave their native land.

Agreeing to this, the evangelists were freed from jail several days ago. Before departing, Pastor Zakkir asked two of the prisoners to lead in regular prayer services in the jail, as the Lord Himself would lead him. The Christian prison officer offered his full support to this. 

 Worshippers in an underground church

Worshippers in an underground church

The officer then made arrangements for Pastor Zakkir and his brave team of seven to leave the country. They are now safe with Bibles for Mideast pastors in another region, and continuing ministry there.

Please pray for them and the entire ministry, all ministers and believers of Bibles for Mideast and the ALG Church, and the ministry as a whole. Pastor Zakkir and his team also want to sincerely thank all who have prayed for them over these challenging yet God-ordained seven months.

Jesus heals and saves Afghani girl brought up by Taliban

Report: Bibles for Mideast and an Assembly of Loving God (ALG)  church in the Middle East

Sameera* grew up in a fanatically fundamentalist Muslim family who had actually been leaders in helping establish the Taliban in their native Afghanistan. They strongly believed the whole world should be ruled according to Islamic Sharia law, and anyone not following Sharia must die.

During their official reign of terror in Afghanistan (1996-2001), the Taliban murdered thousands of people and destroyed countless churches and temples. When the US-led forces attacked Afghanistan in 2001, Sameera was seven. Three of her brothers died in the assault, and her older sister went missing.**

 Taliban fighters in afghanistan (EPA)

Taliban fighters in afghanistan (EPA)

Their mother, completely undone by the tragedies, soon developed heart problems. As her heart began to fail and knowing she faced imminent death, she begged her husband to take their remaining children—Sameera and her four-year-old brother—and flee Afghanistan at any cost and in any way. Like many in their country, they believed Christians were behind the invasion, aiming to destroy both their nation and their religion.

So right after the mother died and without even taking time for a proper burial, Sameera’s father fled the home with nothing but his young children. He knew it was practically impossible to escape without being seen by the invading army, but also knew he had to try.  

The young family hadn’t gotten far before being captured by armed forces in a military truck patrolling the streets. Sameera’s father felt certain they would be killed.  But when the soldiers saw the innocent little ones with him, their hearts melted. Sameera has a clear memory of the men then joining hands and actually praying in the truck, eyes brimming with tears. She heard the words ‘Lord Jesus’ over and over. While she had no idea what they were saying, she memorized the name ‘Jesus’, somehow keeping it lodged in her heart.

When the truck reached a deserted area, the soldiers touched each of them kindly on the shoulders and told them to get out and flee. Knowing the family couldn’t understand English, they did their best to make themselves understood by gesturing and pointing to the children. One of the men tearfully tried to explain how they all had small children like Sameera and her brother at their homes in America. The family did finally grasp the men were urging them to escape, and as they clambered from the truck the soldiers again spoke using the name Jesus—likely, we think now, praying their Lord Jesus would bless and protect the family.

After a gruelling journey lasting many days, the family somehow ended up in a Middle Eastern kingdom. Sameera’s father found work and labored hard to support his growing youngsters.

Whenever they thought about their brothers, sister, mother and other dead and missing relatives, their rage towards Christians, the supposed invaders, grew. So they pledged to fight them to the death. Every day they prayed to Allah for strength and courage for the battle. Sameera’s brother figured his best option was to leave home and join forces with ISIS, which he did four years ago.

Eight months ago, Sameera’s father died in a tragic accident. Being so close to him, the shock of the loss proved near unbearable. Her emotional and mental anguish further increased when her brother didn't show up for their father’s funeral. No one knew where he might be, or even if he was still alive.

Sameera grew increasingly disturbed and even violent, to the point she had to be admitted to a psychiatric hospital and confined to a separate room.

As only our Lord could work it, one of the hospital staff ‘happens’ to be a member of the Assembly of Loving God (ALG) Church and a voluntary evangelist with Bibles for Mideast. She loved and cared for Sameera like a sister, praying for her and spending time with her in her isolation. She often shared her testimony of having once been a Muslim, her decision to leave Islam, and the message of the gospel.

As their friendship grew, one day she prayed over Sameera in Jesus’ name. A lightbulb went off for Sameera as she remembered the soldiers in Afghanistan who prayed over her as a little girl, using the same name. The very men who had showed her family such unexpected loving kindness and had helped them escape the battle zone.

As she slept that night, the Lord Jesus Christ appeared before in a dream.

“Daughter, you are not alone,” she heard him say. “I am always with you as your eternal Father and Comforter.” He showed her his nail-scarred hands and the wounds in his side. “I have suffered all of these—have been crucified on the cross of Calvary, died and rose from the dead—for YOU and your salvation. By my blood you are washed and by my stripes you are healed. You are no longer a patient. Believe in me and follow me.”

She awoke immediately, jumped from her bed praising the Lord, and tried to pray by herself in Jesus’ name.

Early the next morning she asked to see her beloved friend.  When the Christian staff member arrived, Sameera joyfully shared what had happened. The friend praised and thanked the Lord and then, as they held hands, led Sameera in a prayer to accept Jesus Christ as her own personal Saviour and Lord.

The staff member later introduced Sameera to her pastor, who began visiting and praying for her as well.

When discharged soon afterwards from the hospital, Sameera had nowhere to go. The owner of her family’s house had repossessed it when she entered hospital and been unable to pay the rent. So the pastor arranged for her to stay with some Bibles for Mideast women, where she remains, studying the word of God and ministering alongside them.

She shared her testimony with her new church and has committed the rest of her life to the Lord’s ministry. At her request, the pastor baptized her.

 Atrocities in Afghanistan continue; here, Children run away after an explosion in Kabul in May, 2013 (REUTERS)

Atrocities in Afghanistan continue; here, Children run away after an explosion in Kabul in May, 2013 (REUTERS)

We of course don’t know whether her brother will return. If he does, we cannot guess how he will react to his sister becoming a Christian. So please pray for Sameera and also for her brother’s salvation, if he is still alive. Pray also for the safety of the women she lives with and other workers and believers with Bibles for Mideast and the ALG Church in that region.

Please keep all the missionaries and ministries of Bibles for Mideast and the many ALG churches in Asia, Africa and Middle East in your prayers. We could not do any of this without your help.

____________________________
* Name changed for security reasons
** Even after being ousting from official power in the U.S-led invasion of 2001, the Taliban—with ISIS and others—continue to terrorize, murder and destroy in Afghanistan and beyond. 

Everyday prayers to be set free!

By Pastor Paul, Bibles for Mideast

Gracious Heavenly Father, cleanse me and set me free today by Your Holy Spirit, in the Mighty and Holy Name of Jesus Christ, I pray.

I.   I, Your faithful child   ___________________ , pray the following over myself and all of my household  ________________ . (Say your own name, for God asked Jacob his name, called Abraham by name as well as Saul, who became the Apostle Paul. You can also name and pray over your specific loved ones.)

2.  Abba Yahweh, I am not worthy to say Your Name in my mouth, but still You loved me, called me by name, saved me from sin and death through Your only begotten Son Christ Jesus.

3.  I love You, confess all my iniquities and commit myself before you in Jesus Christ. 

4.  I cast away all evil and demons from my life, in the name of Christ Jesus. 

5.  I covenant myself to the blood of Jesus Christ. Therefore any contrary covenant in my life now breaks in the name of Christ Jesus.

6.  I soak my blood with the blood of Christ Jesus.

7.  Every generational curse working against me is nullified by the blood of Jesus Christ.

8.  Every satanic manipulation of my destiny is terminated in the name of Christ Jesus.

9.  Lord, deliver me wherever I need deliverance in Jesus Christ.

10.  I commit all of my income and expenditures to be sealed by the blood of Christ Jesus.

11.  I commit my health and life to be sealed by the precious blood of Jesus.

12.  I commit my spouse, children, parents, brothers, sisters, friends, partners, neighbors and all living in my country into the nail-scarred hands of Jesus Christ.13.  I commit the house where I live, the property, and all of my/our household things to be protected by the angels of our Lord Jesus.

13.  I commit the house where I live, the property, and all of my/our household things to be protected by the angels of our Lord Jesus.

 Based on painting   ‘Intercession: Praying the Perfect Will of God  ’ by Rebecca Brogan

Based on painting ‘Intercession: Praying the Perfect Will of God’ by Rebecca Brogan

14.  I commit our purposes, journeys, businesses and other activities for the glory of Jesus Christ.

15.  Grant me and my beloved the power of healing by the stripes of Christ Jesus.

16.  Every blessing God has purposed for me this year and in the coming years that I have not yet seen I possess NOW  in the name of Jesus Christ.

17.  Abba Father, I commit everyone whom I should remember in my prayers, all who have asked me to pray, and all of their prayer needs to You for Your kind answers  in the mighty name of Christ Jesus.

18.  Abba Yahweh, bless me and my generations indeed as You blessed Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; as You heard Jabez’ prayer and blessed him; as You healed Hezekiah and added more years to his life. God enlarge my borders. Let Your Hand of Might be with me. Keep me from harm in Messiah Yeshua's name.

19.  Heavenly Father, keep the Church, ministries, pastors, ministers, and all believers in Your Hand, that they be always guided by the Holy Spirit in the mighty name of Jesus Christ. Protect them from persecutions and show Your love and salvation to those who are persecuting Your Church and children.

20.  Abba Yahweh, let Your peace shower upon Jerusalem and Israel in the name of Messiah Yeshua.

21.  Abba Yahweh, bless all the people in this world. Bless our leaders, bless our nations, bless the entire globe that all would come to experience the salvation of Jesus Christ who alone was crucified on the cross for all our sins, and who died and rose from the dead to give us eternal life.

22.  Heavenly Father, allow me not to be ashamed by unbelievers and scoffers. Help them and lead them into understanding and accepting Your eternal love.

23.  God Almighty, bless all the angels, bless the seas, bless each and every star in the sky, all of the planets and satellites, bless the Milky Way and the whole universe with all of Your Creation that the entire universe be filled with your peace and glory in Christ Jesus!

24.  Lord JESUS, give us hope that we will surely meet you on that Great and Wonderful Day and will be with You in Heaven as Your Bride forever and ever.

25.  Lord, let Your will be done for me and all of these requests in the name of the FATHER and of the SON and of the HOLY SPIRIT. Amen!

Note: Feel free to print this out, pray every day , and share with your prayer partners.
Also please remember me, my family, the ministries of Bibles for Mideast, the Assembly of Loving God Church, its pastors, ministers and believers in your daily prayers.

With love, prayers and shalom, in Jesus’ mighty name,
Pastor Paul, Director of Bibles for Mideast

Healings, salvations and a new underground church in South Asian village

Report: Bibles for Mideast and the ALG Church

Naseema*, 22, grew up the only child of poor Muslim parents in a village in South Asia. To support the family, her mother prepared snacks and bakery items at home which her father peddled door-to-door, balancing the food items in a large basket on his head.

As a brilliant and active little six-year-old, Naseema loved going to school. That being a fair distance from home, one of her parents would generally take her there and back.

One day when neither was able to accompany her, she made the trek home by herself. The youngster arrived back breathless, shivering and terrified. She managed to explain to her parents she had been running for her life from a stray dog who had chased her most of the way. She didn’t seem to have been bitten, but when the shaking increased and she developed a fever, her parents rushed her to hospital.  

She was admitted and as the night wore on, her fever and seizures increased, She became weaker and weaker and while wanting to speak, could not. Doctors were mystified at what might be plaguing her.  They began suspecting perhaps she had polio, or hemorrhaging in her brain, but were never able to definitively diagnose her illness. Soon she could no longer sit up, unable to balance her head or body, and became completely bedridden.

Her parents invested all of the little income they had for treatment and even hope for help. They invited many religious leaders of Islam to come and pray over her. They visited countless Muslim pilgrimage sites to offer vows and prayers for her healing. This went on for sixteen years.

Last year, Pastor Ishaq* of Bibles for Mideast—who regularly ministers in the region and had heard about the sick young woman—visited the family with his gospel team. He asked permission to pray for her, but her parents, dedicated Muslims, would not allow it. Christians were hated enemies, after all. The team left a sample gospel outside the house as they left.

A month later they were back. This time, the parents practically exploded in anger and forbade them from seeing Naseema. When the missionaries returned a third time, neighboring Muslims began gathering around, brandishing sticks, weapons and challenging questions.

“We have just come to pray for Naseema,” Pastor Ishaq answered them gently. “We believe our Lord Jesus Christ can heal her. For the word of God says that Jesus Christ was crucified, died and rose from the dead to save all human beings. It also says that by His wounds we are healed. So we believe that prayer in Jesus' name can heal Naseema.”

Hearing the name of Jesus, the crowd erupted in rage and rushed to attack. Pastor Ishaq and his team fled, the angry neighbors in hot pursuit. With God’s help they managed to escape safely … and of course they kept up their regular intercession for Naseema, her parents and the neighbors.

Not long ago, Naseema’s father met misfortune while out selling his wares. As he attempted to cross a busy road a car ran into him, knocking him down and scattering his basketful of food. The driver ignored the man he had just injured and kept driving.

Pastor Ishaq and his assistant ‘just happened’ to be by the same roadside and witnessed the accident. They rushed to help the hurt man get off the road, and administered first aid. Only then did the pastor recognize the man as Naseema’s father. He wanted to take him to hospital, but the father pleaded to be taken home instead. So the pastor hired a three-wheeled rickshaw and brought him to the family’s home. As they traveled, he talked of the love of Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on the cross.

“It is because of His love that we love you and are praying for you,” he explained. This time the man seemed to be listening. 

When they reached the family’s house and Naseema’s mother heard about the accident, the missionaries were warmly welcomed inside. The parents even invited the pastor and his assistant to pray for Naseema, and for them as well. After praying, Pastor Ishaq offered to hold three days of prayer and fasting in the house if the family agreed to it, and they readily did.

On hearing of the plan, Pastor Paul travelled 18 hours by train and 5 hours by bus to take part. On the very first day, a recent Thursday, Naseema had a vision of Jesus while the team prayed. She felt Him touch her head with His nail-pierced hands, she explained later. At the time however, all she could do was open her mouth and say, “Jesus is my Lord!” She had hardly moved and had not been able to speak for years. All were beyond astonished.

When she asked for assistance sitting up, Pastor Paul stepped forward to help and for the first time in 16 years Naseema could balance both her head and body and sit upright on her own. As the group began singing and praising, she clapped her hands in joy.  

News of the miracle began to spread. The next day, one of the neighboring families joined in the prayer and fasting.  By the third day, two more families and some other Muslim individuals had come along to take part.

When the pastors shared the message of gospel, all accepted Jesus as their personal savior and Lord.  On the fourth day, a Sunday, Pastor Paul conducted a worship service in the home and planted a new house church on the spot.

 in another part of south Asia, worshippers gather outside their own 'house church'

in another part of south Asia, worshippers gather outside their own 'house church'

During the service, Naseema stood up from her bed, walked towards the others, sat on the floor and listened intently. Soon filled with the Holy Spirit, she began dancing before Jesus as the worship continued.

Since then, others have begun attending Sunday worship services at the new house church. Naseema's father has also completely recovered from his accident. Unfortunately, many other Muslims have begun persecuting the new believers.

Please pray for Naseema, her parents, the newly-saved people, Pastor Ishaq, his gospel team and other believers in the region. Also keep the ministries of Bibles for Mideast and the Assembly of Loving God (ALG) Church in your prayers.

____________________________
names changed for security reasons

I killed Jesus

‘They’ (that collective, scholarly, holy group of people) say that when you read the Bible you should place yourself in the story,” young American writer Christina Mead explains as an introduction to her article below. 

Deciding to try the exercise while reading through the Easter events in Matthew, she asked  herself throughout:  “Which character am I? What is God trying to teach me?” Her insightful reflection and dramatic conclusions will, we believe, both inspire and give you pause to ponder your own walk with our Lord. 

I killed Jesus
by Christina Mead

I am an apostle, sleeping in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matt. 26:40). I’m prone to and give in to laziness in the presence of holiness. I don’t put up a fight against the pull of distractions; sometimes I even sleep.

I am Judas. Jesus has every right to call me both 'friend' and 'betrayer' barely thirty seconds apart (Matt. 26:46, 50). My heart is fickle and weak and sometimes my commitment to being Jesus’ friend is blown off on the whim of an emotion.

I am Caiaphas, the high priest. I want Jesus to prove Himself to me (Matt. 26:63). I want signs and wonders to know that I really can trust Him. I want my prayers answered in my way. I want concrete proof over humble faith.

I am Peter. Sometimes I deny Jesus (Matt. 26:72). I deny Him in the face of the homeless when I chose to look away. I deny Him when I am afraid of being judged and condemned by those around me.

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I am in the crowd yelling: “Crucify Him!” (Matt. 27:21-23)  And I say it again and again every time I knowingly choose to sin.

I am Barabbas. I am chained in sin and holed up in the prison of my own pride. And instead of suffering the full punishment for my sins for which I am guilty, Christ takes my place (Matt. 27:26). And I often forget to thank Him.

I am Pilate. I want to give up when life is too challenging (Matt. 27:24). I’m ready to wash my hands of Christianity when being a follower of Jesus means pursuing virtue over mediocrity, a life of prayer over a life of pleasure.

I am Simon of Cyrene (Matt. 27:32). I suffer reluctantly. I will take the cross but I won’t seek it. I’ll only take it if it’s been placed on my shoulders … and I don’t love it.

I am a passer-by. These passers-by mocked Jesus while He was hanging on the cross (Matt. 27:30). How quickly they had forgotten all the good works He had done among their cities and towns. When popular opinion about Jesus changed, they followed suit. How quickly I forget the good He has done for me. In a brief moment of pain, all my gratitude is forgotten and replaced by resentment.

I am one of the Roman soldiers (Matt. 27:35). I killed Jesus. My sins were the reason He was nailed to that cross. It was my fault and I know it.

But sometimes …

I am the centurion. My eyes are opened to who Jesus is in my life (Matt. 27:54). My heart swells with the truth that God became man and died for me. And this knowledge brings me peace and a resignation to amend my life.

empty dark cross less blue used 2016.jpg

I am one of the women standing by the cross (Matt. 27:55-56). When I’m open to God’s grace, I can be a faithful and constant Christian. In the midst of pain and suffering, I can stay close to the cross. Jesus, my beloved, is my strength and He’s all I need.

I am Joseph of Arimathea (Matt. 27:59). Again, only by God’s grace, I can be selflessly compassionate, putting others’ needs before my own. Moved by God, I will use what He has given me in the service of others. My time, talent, and treasure are all for Him.

I am every character in the story of the passion and death of Christ. And I think that’s the whole point. Why wouldn’t every dimension of the human heart be represented in the greatest story of all time? It only makes sense because the story is timeless. We have to apply it to our lives today because the reality of its events matter today.

This isn’t just a story in some history book. It’s the story of your salvation: how God saw the good and the bad in our humanity and He came anyway. He died anyway.

I killed Jesus. But I am also the reason He rose from the dead.

____________________
This story originally appeared here.

Destitute and unloved, 'untouchable' Dalit villagers being touched and saved by Jesus

Report: Bibles for Mideast and an underground ALG Church in Southeast Asia

Dalits—also known as ‘untouchables’—have traditionally been regarded as having such low status they don't even register on the caste system. Despite laws designed to protect them, they continue to face widespread discrimination and often shocking levels of abuse. Access to education, healthcare, justice and in some areas even safe drinking water remains restricted. They generally live in segregated neighborhoods or in satellite hamlets away from main population areas.

Chotti* and her husband  Minju* lived as Hindu Dalit in a village nestled within a jungle in Southeast Asia. Without education or access to much of what the world considers necessities, all in the village are illiterate, with simple survival their main goal. During the day, men head deeper into the jungle to hunt small prey; women venture out to collect forest foods and firewood. If they find honey or more food than needed for their families, they sell it to people living in nearby villages and towns. Some produce their own ‘moonshine’, and overconsumption often results in drunken brawls and fights. Women must obey the men in their lives or face brutal beatings. 

Sorcery regulates their belief system, and the chief sorcerer has the final word, even for matters of health and security. With training based on witchcraft rather than medicine, he serves as the community doctor and his wife. the village midwife, assists women with pregnancies and deliveries.

 A remote jungle village in southeast asia

A remote jungle village in southeast asia

When Chotti gave birth to a girl, her husband’s family were furious. Girls surely bring a curse on the family—that is what the sorcerer had told them. So the family determined the baby must die.

Chotti cried and begged her husband to help save their child. Since she was their firstborn, and because his wife was so distraught, Minju finally, though reluctantly, agreed. He argued with his parents and the rest of his family until they decided to let the girl live. The youngster barely subsisted however, mostly unloved and uncared for by others. When a tiger attacked Minju one day as he was out in the forest, the sorcerer explained it happened because of his little girl. Minju believed him.

Around the time the toddler reached three, Chotti conceived again. By then, a Bibles for Mideast missionary couple had begun ministering in a nearby jungle village. Renting a shed not far from Minju and Chotti’s home, they went around to the villagers, inviting them to attend educational programs for both adults and children. They also of course shared the love of Jesus Christ wherever they went.

 Life is hard in Dalit villages

Life is hard in Dalit villages

Few attended the classes, but the missionaries prayed faithfully for and with those who did, and invited them to share their needs. As the villagers saw more and more answers to the prayers, their interest grew and eventually belief in Jesus did as well. 

At first, Minju’s family were pleased with the missionaries’ activities and attended some of the class and prayer times. But when the sorcerer came to know about their involvement, he hurried to their house, scolded them, and gave them dire warnings to stay away from the Christians. If they persisted, he assured them huge troubles, including terrible deaths, would come to the family. So at his instruction, they built a hedge of thorn plants between their home and where the Christians were meeting. 

By now, though, Chotti had come to believe in Jesus. Whenever Minju and his parents went out to find food in the jungle, she would secretly attend meetings with the Christians.

When Chotti was five months along in her second pregnancy, the sorcerer and his wife declared this child also to be a girl. Further, they said, the coming girl would be the cause for the destruction of both the family and the whole jungle. They, along with Minju’s family, ordered her to abort the child immediately. But Chotti felt convinced that whether girl or boy, the baby is a gift of her Lord Jesus. So she refused to go along with their demands.

One night, the sorcerer, his wife and several others—in a plan arranged by Minju’s family—arrived at the house and ambushed Chotti.  She screamed and cried out the name of Jesus, but they refused to listen. As they forcibly attempted to abort the baby, Chotti began bleeding severely, then fell unconscious. When her breathing stopped, the sorcerer declared her dead. He instructed the men in the group to carry her body to a place in the jungle called ‘suicide point’ by the locals … a cliff deep in the jungle where desperate villagers would leap to their deaths. Even if they survived, no one would come looking for them out of fear of the numerous wild animals. As the men carried away Chotti’s limp body, her little three-year-old ran behind them, crying loudly for her mother. So when they reached the cliff, the men threw both of them over and into the deeper recesses of the jungle.

But the mighty and living Lord Jesus Christ scooped Chotti and her daughter up into his nail-pierced hands and rescued them. Chotti had not yet died, but was simply unconscious. She says that as she gazed into the face of her Savior she felt as a baby must, looking into its mother’s loving face. The Lord brought them to the doorstep of the missionaries’ home, near the house they had just left. She knew she was safe in His hands.

The missionary couple were praying in their room when they heard someone at their doorstep. They opened their window, surprised to see the pregnant woman and her three-year-old child. They rushed to the door and helped them inside. The young mother tried to explain what had happened.

All of them knew Chotti could not stay there. It wouldn’t be safe for her, her child, or for the missionaries. So the next day the couple brought them to an ALG church in another state.

A few months later, the Lord blessed Chotti with a baby boy, now three months old. She named him Yiesho Das (servant of Jesus), and gave her first child a new name, Mary. They are all happy in our Lord, and Chotti has learned to read the bible.

Minju and his parents believe Chotti and the girl died in the jungle, and were likely eaten by animals. While his parents want him to remarry, he does not want to. Chotti still loves him and asks that we pray for Minju and his salvation. She holds in her heart the idea of having a faithful Christian life with him and their doing joint ministry among their own people.

Please pray for Chotti, Minju, their family and all the ministers and ministries of Bibles for Mideast.

____________________________
names changed for security reasons

Astonishing power of prayer: Jesus saves Muslim man from pirates and jaws of death at sea

Report: Bibles for Mideast and an underground ALG Church in east Africa

Gainful employment being as scarce as rain and healthy crops in Milad’s* drought-stricken east African country, many, including his family, struggled to survive.  As the eldest of nine children in an orthodox Muslim family, when an offer to work on a ship came along, he gladly accepted. At last he could help provide for his parents and siblings.

Not till he joined his new employers onboard did he realize the ‘work’ involved attacking and robbing ships. They were pirates! When he tried to abandon ship they wouldn’t allow him, and when he told them he had no intention of working for them, they bound his hands and legs with steel chains. He became a slave to the pirates, freed only when they found their next target of attack. They knew that if he got away, their secrets and information on who they were would escape with him. 

 Armed Somali pirates preparing to attack a ship (AFP/GETTY IMAGE)

Armed Somali pirates preparing to attack a ship (AFP/GETTY IMAGE)

One evening they attempted to rob a ship full of valuable merchandise in the Indian Ocean. The vessel’s strong security force fought back, and a fierce gun battle ensued. When a bullet hit Milad in his left shoulder, he jumped into the sea to save himself.

As he tried to swim to safety, a giant fish suddenly darted through the dark waters towards him. Whether a shark or a whale he couldn’t tell, but he could see its wide-open mouth ready to finish him off. Just as he felt himself sucked into the creature’s mouth, a strange reflection … a bright image of what appeared to be a man, but somehow in the shape of a cross ... appeared on and through the water. It was like it came down from above and both reflected off of, and pierced, the dark water. He noticed what looked like blood stains on the luminous image. He felt himself being pulled away from the gaping jaws, and then helped safely to shore.

By this point, late at night, bedraggled and alone, all Milad knew was that some supernatural power had saved him from certain death. But what could it have been? Looking around in the darkness, seeing no one, fear quickly overtook him. He sat down by the sea shore, his mind and emotions churning, his heart heavy.

As only God could arrange it, members of an underground ALG church in Africa were engaged in an all-night prayer vigil some miles inland from where Milad sat. Pastor Abu* had gathered believers at his ‘prayer shed’ for the night watch [more on that prayer shed in our earlier story about Pastor Abu and his ministry here: Miraculous multiplication of faith, food and believers in east Africa].

As they prayed, his wife had a vision of the Lord Jesus saving someone from pirates and a giant fish, and that the man, named Milad, was now sitting at the sea shore gripped with terror. She shared her revelation with the prayer group. Two others (including Hydrus, the former Muslim whose radical salvation we also relate in the story mentioned above) received the same vision. One even prophesied they were to go get him and ‘pick him up’ for the Lord’s work.

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As they continued praying, Pastor Abu also prophesied about the fellow on the seashore. Clearly an immediate rescue was in order, so the men determined to go find the survivor.  They headed out in the direction they’d been shown in the visions. Pastor Abu’s wife remained behind in charge of the vigil, and the women and children continued praying.

Walking the eight miles to the sea shore, the 40 or so men refrained from speaking, uttering only words of prayer and praise. Each carried his own Bible, and none felt tired or found the journey long. When Milad saw them approaching, his fear intensified. What now? But then he heard his own name being uttered by a calm, assuring voice.

“Don’t be afraid, Milad,” Pastor Abu called to him. “The one who saved you from the gunshot and from the giant fish in the sea has sent us to you to console you and rescue you.”

“He is Jesus, who was crucified for us on the cross of Calvary and rose from the dead for our salvation. He loves you and wants to make you His own child. Believe in Him and follow Him.”

Already incredulous Milad did not think things could get any more incredible until he then heard the pastor outline to him all that he had gone through. Could it be a dream? He touched the leader and several of the other men to see if they were real.  

“You are not dreaming,” Pastor Abu assured him. “All of this is real and true, and only because our Lord and Saviour Jesus is the way, the truth and the life.” He then held up his Bible.

“This is the word of the true and living God, who saves you from sin and death.”

Milad rushed to kiss the Bible, and then prostrated himself before the pastor. 

“No, I am just a servant of God,” he explained, stepping back. “You surrender before Him and confess all your sins to Him. He is our savior.”

Milad cried aloud and confessed all of his sins before God. He then readily accepted Jesus as his personal savior and Lord. The men prayed over the new convert and joyfully brought him back with them, praising and thanking the Lord for His marvelous wonders as they journeyed back to the shed.

Milad now stays with Hydrus at the underground church’s 'prayer shed' under the guidance of Pastor Abu. Please pray for Milad and Hydrus as they grow in their faith and walk. Also keep Pastor Abu, his family and all the other believers in Africa in your prayers.

____________________________
names changed for security reasons

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Essential note

As an important ‘back story’ here, we asked Milad if he knew of anyone from his past who may have been praying for him. He then remembered that several years ago, an American missionary team had visited his town on a charitable and medical mission. One day, Milad and one of his sisters visited the temporary quarters set up by the team, hoping for help for the skin disease they both suffered from. Missionary doctors examined each, and gave them medicine. One took a special interest in the two siblings, making note of their names. She began telling them about the healing and saving power of Jesus.

Milad and his sister had no idea what she was talking about. Then, when she put her hands on their heads to pray for them, the young man angrily pushed her away. The doctor simply smiled, and let them know she would continue praying for them. She also asked them to come back in two days for checkups and more medicine, but the siblings never returned.

What an encouragement to continue praying! We thank the Lord that missionary doctor kept up her prayers for Milad, and for you for praying for the ministry of Bibles for Mideast in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Never give up.

Billy Graham: from life to LIFE

 The inimitable Billy Graham, 1918-2018

The inimitable Billy Graham, 1918-2018

While we mourn the loss of Billy Graham, we celebrate his graduation to glory.  God’s words through the Apostle Paul ring loudly today:

"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing." (2 Tim. 4:7-8)

We are expecting to see Evangelist Billy Graham face-to-face on that beautiful shore with our Bridegroom Jesus Christ on HIS great Day.

—Pastor Paul (Director) and the whole family of Bibles for Mideast

 

 During his 1960 African crusade, Billy Graham explains the Bible to a group of Waarusha warriors living in a village at the base of Mount Meru, not far from Kilimanjaro, in Tanganyika (now Tanzania).

During his 1960 African crusade, Billy Graham explains the Bible to a group of Waarusha warriors living in a village at the base of Mount Meru, not far from Kilimanjaro, in Tanganyika (now Tanzania).

 Reading from Isaiah 33:2:  “Lord, be gracious to us; we long for you. Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress.” [from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association]

Reading from Isaiah 33:2:  “Lord, be gracious to us; we long for you. Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress.” [from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association]

Miraculous multiplication of faith, food and believers in east Africa

Report: Bibles for Mideast and an underground ALG Church in east Africa

Hydrus*, born and raised in a fanatic Muslim family in eastern Africa, carefully followed all the prescribed rituals of Islam. Unfortunately, poverty, drought and starvation has long afflicted his country and caused tremendous suffering for many—including Hydrus’ own household. While willing to work, like many others, he can simply find no available jobs.

Pastor Abu* of Bibles for Mideast lives and ministers in the area. He lives with his family in a tiny home more resembling a hut, and uses a small shed nearby for local ALG church gatherings. So many attend for Sunday services that they often spill out onto the grounds around the shed.  Most, however, come for the physical food served afterwards rather than any spiritual sustenance.

Undeterred, the church loves to provide the food, and hungry attenders bring along their own plates for the post-service meal. Pastor Abu often uses his own family’s allowance to buy the provisions. 

Despite warnings not to attend from local Muslim leaders, close to 300 would usually show up, plates in hand. Even Islamic devotee Hydrus often attended, as clandestinely as possible, because of the food. He’d hear the gospel message each time of course, but refused to take it seriously. 

Then came the Sunday the area’s poverty and famine had become so severe that Pastor Abu and his church had no meal to serve. With a sorrowful heart he had to report the lack to the hungry people, who began muttering among themselves and against him.  What could he do? While they all trudged away unhappily, tired and feeble Hydrus lay down on the prayer shed floor, too weak to leave.

Pastor Abu noticed him lying there. He had seen the young man receiving food from them many times, but didn't know him personally. He got down on the floor beside him, and helped him sit up so they could talk. Hydrus explained he hadn’t eaten since the last church service.

The pastor went into his home and brought out his own meal for Hydrus. His wife, realizing that would hardly be enough, gave him hers as well.  Even their two young children wanted to share theirs, but he refused to take it. Pastor Abu then noticed the filthy, torn clothes Hydrus wore and gave him a pair of his own clean pants and a shirt.

The family then left Hydrus to rest in the church shed, where he soon fell soundly asleep. As he slept, the Lord Jesus Christ appeared before him.

“I am the bread of life,” he heard Jesus say. “He who comes to me shall never hunger and thirst. For I am from heaven and I give life to the world. Believe in me as your Lord and savior!”

Hydrus stood up immediately. He noticed a bible on the table, went to it and opened to John 6: 33-35—which to his amazement sounded almost word for word what he had just heard Jesus say.

Bible in hand he went off to look for Pastor Abu. He found him with his wife, praying for him in their house. As he shared his experience with them, they praised and thanked the God they had just been praying to. Inviting Hydrus to sit with them, the pastor shared the word of God along with his own testimony of conversion from Islam.

Hydrus knelt down and accepted Jesus Christ into his life as his personal savior and Lord. Full of joy and peace, he didn't want to leave, and asked if he could possibly stay with them. Since their little house had hardly room for themselves, they offered him the prayer shed, which he gladly accepted.

Within a week, Hydrus learned a tremendous amount from and about the word of God, as well as how to pray. That next Sunday, he shared his testimony at the service.

Only about half of those who'd been there the week before came, the remainder certain there'd again be no food. Those who did come heard Hydrus’ testimony, and then listened intently to the Word of God. When the opportunity came, most readily accepted Jesus into their own hearts as Lord and Savior.

 A SOMALIAN BOY COLLECTING FIREWOOD; LET’S BE PRAYING HE FINDS HIS WAY TO THE TREE OF LIFE [GETTY IMAGES]

A SOMALIAN BOY COLLECTING FIREWOOD; LET’S BE PRAYING HE FINDS HIS WAY TO THE TREE OF LIFE [GETTY IMAGES]

More miracles

But God had more miracles for His precious African people that day! Again, the pastor and the church had no food to offer them. With sad and heavy hearts they had prayed earnestly before the service for all the help they’d need to get through the day.

The pastor’s wife had filled a small aluminum pot with water and prayerfully put it on her wood-burning stove. She gave Hydrus a packet with about 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of wheat flour in it to add to the pot, which he did, along with his own prayers. He then put the lid back on, and they went to join the others.  

As the service ended, they were amazed to discover the pot full of prepared food much tastier than simple cooked wheat should ever be. Obviously such a small quantity could only, and barely, serve the pastor’s family of five, plus Hydrus. Half the usual congregation still meant there were about 150 hungry mouths out there.

Pastor Abu and his wife decided to share the pot with everyone. He announced this to the people, and tried to calculate how much that would mean for each person. As he began dishing out, he found that whatever he scooped from the pot would immediately be replenished! He praised and thanked the Lord in a loud voice and continued to serve until everyone had enough and was satisfied. All joined in exuberant praise and thanks to the Lord for His love, care and provision.  

From then on, more and more people began coming for services and truly listening to the Word of God. Other Bibles for Mideast pastors, especially those from the Middle East, began sharing their church and ministry offerings with the African church to cover the growing food expenses.

Close to 600 people now attend the worship services. Local Muslim leaders, while upset with the growth of the church, have so far kept quiet because of the food being provided to the hungry.

Please pray for all of them, especially for those who are not yet fully saved, and for the Islamic leaders.

____________________________
names changed for security reasons

Saved first from Islam, then by a giant bird of prey from Islamic extremists

Report: Bibles for Mideast and an underground ALG Church

Fadila* and her husband Al Rafeeq*, both former Muslims, serve in the Middle East as volunteer evangelists with Bibles for Mideast.

Fadila, once a strong devotee of Islam, converted to Christianity through the miraculous healing of her bedridden mother. As a result of that dramatic healing, she, her parents and siblings all accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior and began regularly attending an ALG underground church in their area.  

As we reported two years ago in our first story about Fadila (Bedridden Arab Muslim woman healed by Jesus; she and her family now believe), her father’s second wife and her children by him—Fadila’s half-siblings—became hostile to the new Christians in the family and even threatened to call religious authorities. While her father came to faith in Christ as well, he kept it quiet out of fear of possible reprisal from the threats of this other wife.

But Fadila, along with her brothers and sisters, regularly prayed for their step-mother, and if opportunity arose, would try to talk to her about the salvation possible only in Jesus.

When one of the second wife’s younger children developed a severe fever with seizures. Fadila prayed over the little girl, and immediately she was healed. So the woman, no longer able to deny the power and reality of Christianity, finally accepted Jesus as her personal savior. Her young children all readily followed her into the Kingdom.

This emboldened Fadila to share her testimony and the gospel message with many of her friends and relatives. When possible, she would also join some missionaries for Bibles for Mideast in her area, distributing bibles and sample gospels.

One of her distant relatives, a young man named Al Rafeeq, grew increasingly furious as all the members of Fadila’s household converted.  Unfazed, she went out of her way to meet with Rafeeq and at least try to share the gospel message with him.

He not only refused to listen, but ordered her to ‘get lost!’—as she had done when Christian pastors several years earlier visited her home to pray for her mother. Still, out of both stubbornness and perseverance, she refused to give up. And many visits later, she did finally persuade him of his need for salvation. Fadila brought him to her pastor, who gave him further instructions in God’s Word, will and ways. Finally, convicted and convinced, he accepted Jesus as his own personal Lord and savior.

The bond between Fadila and Rafeeq grew and soon blossomed into love. Not long ago, they married in an ALG church with the full support and participation of her household and other new believers. The newlyweds now volunteer with Bibles for Mideast, doing personal evangelism and distributing bibles to many of their fellow Arabs in the Middle East.

Their path together has been short so far, but treacherous. They have been threatened numerous times, even with death. Still they refuse to worry, completely trusting and believing, they say, in the powerful, mighty protection of their Lord Jesus Christ.

Two weeks ago, as they walked home late one evening after visiting and sharing the gospel with a neighbour, three masked men suddenly jumped from the darkness and attacked them.

 A furious falcon attacking university researchers (who were trying to tag their young) in the US. [Photo courtesy Caters News Agency]

A furious falcon attacking university researchers (who were trying to tag their young) in the US. [Photo courtesy Caters News Agency]

“Jesus, save us! Jesus save us!” Rafeeq and Fadila screamed.

The words of their cries provoked the attackers even more.  While one man aimed his rifle at Rafeek, the other two attempted to rape Fadila.

“JESUS!!!” the couple screamed again.

A giant falcon-like bird swooped out of seemingly nowhere.  It first attacked the man holding the rifle, and then lunged at the other two with its beak and talons. All three attackers ran for their lives. 

Just as swiftly, the bird disappeared. Rafeeq and Fadila say they have never seen such a bird before—close to four times larger than a common falcon. They have absolutely no doubt their awesome Jesus saved and rescued them from certain harm. They fell to their knees on the spot, praising and thanking the Lord for his mighty deliverance. 

Please keep them and their ministry in your prayers!

____________________________
names changed for security reasons

Warrior angels just one factor in many connected radical salvations

Report: Bibles for Mideast and an underground ALG Church

Al Bilal*, a fanatic Muslim, had long been an active member of his local mosque in a Middle Eastern kingdom. While studying at university, a Christian friend—who also happened to be the son of a Bibles for Mideast evangelist—gave him a sample gospel. As a courtesy to the friend he read it, but didn’t believe a word.

Not long after, Jesus surprised him by appearing before him in a vision.

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” he said to Bilal. “I am the beginning and the end. I died on the cross and rose from the dead to give everyone eternal life. Those who believe in me will have a place with me in heaven. Follow me without hesitation!”  

Bilal managed to find the gospel tract again, and contacted the number printed on it. A Bibles for Mideast pastor answered the call, and shared the message of the gospel clearly with him. He didn’t need much convincing to accept Jesus as his personal savior and Lord, and soon afterwards made a full commitment to Christianity through baptism. 

Being highly educated both academically and in Islam, Bilal’s community had tremendous respect for him. But on his embrace of Christianity his parents, relatives and community leaders desperately wanted him back in the Islamic fold. Bilal boldly held to his precious new faith.

The angered community eventually excommunicated him from the mosque. Each and every one—his family included—came to consider him a dangerous enemy.

Bilal began going to a deserted area around midnight each night. He would kneel down in the sand, alone before his Lord, and for nearly two hours would pray and praise in the Spirit.

Some young people, under the leadership of Bilal’s first cousin Sulfiker*, began formulating a plan to kill him. They first found out where and when he headed for his nightly prayers. Then, armed with steel rods and sharp knives, they snuck out after him one night and prepared to lunge. 

But angels of the Lord surrounded Bilal, and fought back the attackers. In absolute terror, Sulfi and his gang took off in all directions.  Bilal however remained so engrossed in his time with the Lord he didn’t even notice the commotion!

 Some angels you do not want to mess with

Some angels you do not want to mess with

As Sulfiker bolted away, he suddenly fell into a deep pit. He broke both his hands and legs in the fall, so of course could then barely move, let alone climb out. 

As his time of prayer and praise ended, Bilal stood and shook the sand from his knees. He then felt the Holy Spirit leading him to the pit his cousin had fallen in to. He could see immediately Sulfi needed help getting out, so climbed down and managed to get the young man mounted on his shoulders. Sulfi thought his cousin must be furious with him.

“Don’t kill me!” he screamed.

Bilal dragged and pulled him from the pit and administered some first aid. He also prayed for his cousin. He then took him to his home, and from there to the hospital.

Sulfi remained in hospital several weeks, with Bilal almost constantly by his side. When the time seemed right, he shared the gospel message with his injured cousin. Sulfi then blurted out all that had happened the night of his fall. Embarrassed and overwhelmed, he confessed his sins and accepted Jesus Christ as his personal savior and Lord.

Sulfi’s friends—the fellow-attackers—also visited him in the hospital. They had obviously been just as terrified seeing and experiencing the mighty, fighting angels. When Sulfi shared with them the salvation available and possible in Jesus Christ alone, they likewise needed little convincing and joined him in praying to accept Jesus into their hearts and lives.

All have now been excommunicated from their mosque and face severe persecution. They also all secretly attend worship services in an underground ALG Church and work for the Lord through Bibles for Mideast.

Please pray for them and all other ministers and ministries of Bibles for Mideast! We so appreciate and need your prayerful support.

____________________________
* names changed for security reasons

Hindu sorcerer turns to Christ and now lives for Him

Venkatesan, born into a Hindu Dalit (depressed or ‘untouchable’ class) family in India grew up worshiping idols and learning black magic from his sorcerer father. His mother, however, regularly attended Christian prayer meetings. She constantly prayed for her family, and attempted to teach them about the divine help and salvation possible in Jesus alone. But they would have nothing to do with her beliefs.

Venkatesan, disagreeable even as a young person, grew even more depraved as the years passed. He constantly squabbled with others, and hatred toward him increased.

One day when he was 32 and out on his bicycle, he attempted to cross a motorway. An oncoming truck rammed into him, dragging him a fair distance and continuing on without stopping. He lay near death by the side of the road for close to an hour, blood flowing continuously from his wounds.  No one would stop or help; all presumed him dead. When the police finally arrived and found faint signs of life, they had him transported to the hospital. He remained there in a coma for several days.

His mother stood by him with her prayers. Her church family, a Bibles for Mideast church, prayed and fasted for Venkatesan as well.

While all this was going on, Venkatesan had a vision of Christ coming down from heaven with thousands of angels and then felt him touch him with his nail-pierced hands.

"I love you my child,” he heard Jesus say. “You are always my child; I will never leave you alone and my love will never end. Be healed!"

 Venkatesan receives Bibles for further distribution

Venkatesan receives Bibles for further distribution

Venkatesan opened his eyes. He saw his mother and the members of the prayer team kneeling beside his bed and praying, their eyes full of tears. He called out to his mother. In joyful surprise she praised the Lord! 

Medical staff, hearing the commotion, rushed in to his bedside and he lost no time in telling them exactly what he had just experienced. His doctors declared it a miracle, and he declared he would now live for Jesus Christ!

His and his mother’s prayers, and the witness of their lives for Christ, encouraged Venkatesan’s father to turn to Jesus before he died several years later. Now married and with a son, he remains faithful in service to the Lord through the ministries of Bibles for Mideast.

Please keep him, his family and the many others serving Jesus in restricted areas of the world in your prayers. We could not keep functioning without you!

From hired thug, to the morgue, to serving Jesus!

Report: Bibles for Mideast

Kunjukunju and his family came from the lowest rung of Indian society, the Dalit or ‘untouchable’ class [while now officially outlawed, the caste system in India still operates in less obvious ways—Ed.]. They worshipped Hindu idols and practiced sorcery.

A powerfully-built young man, his face marked by a prodigious horn-like moustache draped around his mouth, he worked as a ‘goonda,’ or hired thug, for several wealthy individuals.

As an enforcer for such questionable enterprises, he made a good number of enemies. One day about 20 aggrieved victims of his strong-arm tactics decided to get even, surrounding him and brutally attacking. When he fell bloodied and unresponsive to the pavement, they left him lying there—presumably dead—and ran off.

Police found his battered body in the street and checked his vital signs. Finding none, they transported his body to the morgue. During the routine post-mortem examination, the medical examiner got the surprise of his life when one his toes moved!

Astounded by this—and now detecting a faint pulse—the pathologist immediately transferred Kunjukunju to a local hospital.

 Kunjukunju with Bibles for distribution

Kunjukunju with Bibles for distribution

After he’d regained consciousness and stabilized, some workers with Bibles for Mideast visited him in his room. They told him Jesus loves him and that only Jesus can conquer death, demonstrated by his bodily resurrection from the dead.

Having been himself given up for dead—like Lazarus—Kunjukunju could see that God really had given him a second chance at life.

The evangelists as clearly as possible explained the message of the Gospel to him. He followed their words carefully, nodding his head. Finally, his heart overcome, he repented of his sins and accepted Jesus Christ as his personal savior and Lord.

The workers put their hands on his head and prayed. As they did, Kunjukunju saw Jesus standing before him smiling and holding out his arms, and then he felt himself being pulled in closely for a hug. With childlike faith, he knew that he could lean on Jesus for the rest of his life. The Lord Jesus came into his heart, imparting a deep settled peace to both his mind and heart, something he had never known or felt before.

After he left the hospital he was baptized, God anointed him with the Holy Spirit, and showered him with the fruits of the Spirit.

As Kunjukunju grew in the Lord, he began to speak in churches, prayer meetings and corner meetings. He also began distributing bibles with Bibles for Mideast … all of which he continues to do! He now goes by the name Kunjukunju Upadesi, ‘Upadesi’ meaning adviser or gospel preacher.

Please keep him and all our workers and churches in your prayers.

Saved from Islam and suicide by a raging river

Report: Bibles for Mideast and an underground ALG Church

Asmath*, born and brought up in a predominantly Muslim country in central Asia, never met her natural father. Five months before she was born, her father divorced her mother and left the family home. When she was only three, her mother re-married, but her stepfather refused to accept her as his own. So she was handed over to a Yateem Khana (orphanage). She grew up there according to the tenets of Islam, and learned to practice all the required rituals.

 Girls at a Yateem Khana (representational image)

Girls at a Yateem Khana (representational image)

When she reached the age of 20, a much-older man asked the orphanage if he could marry the young woman. Even though the 60-year old had other wives and children older than Asmath, the orphanage officials told her she had little choice but to marry him. After so many years of isolation and loneliness, she decided to go along with the proposal.

But the man had a heart condition, and died within two months of their marriage. With the funeral service barely over, his children forced her to leave their home, saying it was no longer hers.

So she decided to put an end to her life of misery. She found what seemed like the perfect way: leaping from a tall bridge into a deep river flowing below.

In a village near the banks of the same river, miles downstream, many Muslim families had accepted Jesus Christ into their lives under the ministry of an underground Bibles for Mideast ALG church in their area. The villagers, including the church’s leader Pastor Hamad* and his family, live in mud houses with no modern conveniences. The river banks serve for most of their ‘primary needs’, and Pastor Hamad baptizes new believers in the same river. He always conducts early-morning baptismal services to avoid the spying eyes of authorities and radical Muslim neighbors.

Early one morning, as church members prepared for another of these exciting services, they noticed the body of a young woman lying submerged near the shore of the river. Running to drag her body out of the water, they discovered she was still breathing, but barely.

As onlookers prayed, Pastor Hamad pushed and released her chest and stomach until water began gushing from her mouth. He then breathed into her as others rubbed her feet and palms to warm her up.

She gradually began breathing more easily, opened her eyes and began to talk. They learned how far upriver she had jumped to her death, and realized that only the Lord could have protected her and brought her to them. With the believers joining in, the pastor prayed over her.

He then gave a short gospel message to all gathered around, explaining the salvation possible only in Jesus Christ and the importance of baptism. He then baptized five people, with Asmath intently listening to and watching all that went on.

When the service ended, they brought her back with them to their church, where they participated in a joyful Lord’s Supper as she continued to observe.

That night, Jesus came to Asmath in a dream.

“Fear not. I am your Lord and God,” he said to her. “I am the only one who can be your very present help in trouble. And I am the life and resurrection.”

Then he showed her his nail-pierced hands.  “See, I have suffered this for you,” he said. “for I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands. Have faith in me.”

She knew that it had to have been the Lord Jesus who had rescued her and now offered her new life. The next day she shared her dream—as well as her story—to the pastor, and accepted Jesus as her personal savior and Lord.

Asmath now studies the word of God and helps out with the ministries of the church. She recently asked to be baptised, and just last week she was!

Believers in Asmath’s country attend underground churches and worship as secretly as possible due to severe persecution. Accusations of blasphemy happen regularly and mean dire punishment or death. And it’s not only government officials they fear; terrorist groups war against Christians there as well.

Please pray for Asmath, for all the underground ALG churches and the ministries of Bibles for Mideast.

____________________________
* Names changed for security reasons

A Muslim love story: first with Jesus, then each other, and now the world around them

Islamic teacher Davood* worked for years training children in the Koran at a religious school attached to a mosque in Africa. One day, he discovered a student with a gospel tract. Infuriated, he demanded to know where the fellow had gotten it. Someone had handed it to him as he walked to school, the boy explained. Snatching the leaflet from him, Davood warned him to never accept such foolish writings from anyone ever again.

But he held onto the tract, intending to show it to the mosque’s religious leaders. They absolutely must find out who was distributing the literature and, if he had anything to say about, punish them severely.

Since he wasn’t able to meet any of the leaders when school finished, he headed back to his home. Getting ready for bed that night, he again noticed the tract. He might as well see what nonsense they were writing, he figured, and read it through.

When he got to the part about there being “salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to people by which we must be saved” something—he wasn’t sure what—struck him and stuck in his mind.

That night Jesus—whom Muslims recognize as a great prophet and messenger of God—came to him in a dream.

“I am the way and the truth and the life,” he announced to Davood. “No one comes to the Heavenly Father except through me.”

As morning dawned the Muslim man had another look at the gospel tract, and finding a contact number on the back, called it. Pastor Musthafa with Bibles for Mideast in Africa answered [an earlier story about Pastor Musthafa here: The storms of heaven in Africa: punishment for some, salvation for others]. Soon Davood had many of his questions answered and was led in a prayer to accept Jesus as his personal Savior and Lord.

Meanwhile, in another part of Africa, young Minoo* lived with her parents, seven sisters and four brothers in a poor but fanatically Islamic household. 

“I wanted to go to school and college,” she explains, “but my parents directed me to go to work on farms before I was 12.”  

Because of the heavy labor and intermingling with other workers, she contracted HIV, which developed into full-blown AIDS several years later.

 tHE FATE OF MANY EBOLA SUFFERERS [gETTY IMAGES, LIBERIA)

tHE FATE OF MANY EBOLA SUFFERERS [gETTY IMAGES, LIBERIA)

“I was in severe pain, but doctors refused to treat me,” she remembers.  “My friends and relatives were also afraid to visit me.” With no medical treatment, other members of her family also contracted HIV, and then all were infected by the Ebola virus when it later raged though West Africa.

With neighbors refusing to visit or help in any way, and with little to eat and drink, the family began to waste away physically and emotionally. Minoo decided to put an end to her misery.

“I collected some poisonous fruits to end my life,” she explains, but her attempt failed.

Pastors and workers with Bibles for Mideast learned of the sad and dying family, and, ignoring the warnings of others in the community, brought them food and clothes. They also fasted and prayed for three days for the family.

“The Lord Jesus revealed to us to visit the family and pray for them,” Pastor Paul explains, so he and Pastor Musthafa visited, bringing more food and clothes. When neighbors reiterated the warnings of certain death if they went in the home, they stood firm.

“We are going to that house in the name of Jesus Christ, who is the living Lord and Savior and mighty healer,” they told the naysayers. “If it is His will they all will be healed and saved, and you all will see it with your own eyes.”

The pastors found the family to be “like skeleton people,” Pastor Paul recalls. The men knelt down in the power of the Holy Spirit, while some family members gathered in front of them. Minoo and several others lay on their beds, unable to get up.

 aS hE DID THEN, HE DOES NOW!

aS hE DID THEN, HE DOES NOW!

When the pastors began praying, “the power of Jesus’ victorious life-giving blood poured out on each in the family like electricity,” Pastor Paul recounts. Screaming, Minoo jumped to her feet and began dancing around.

“Glory to Jesus!” she cried, praising and thanking the Lord. Others stood to their feet, all experiencing the almighty awesomeness of God. They then knelt in His powerful Presence. The pastors shared the gospel with them, and each accepted the Lord Jesus as personal Savior and Lord.

Within days they had recovered their physical health, and grown leaps and bounds spiritually. But new trials began. The Muslim community they lived in insisted they reject their faith in Jesus as Savior, but with new-found strength and boldness, they held on. One night some radical neighbors set fire to their house, intending to kill all of them. The family managed to escape, and fled the region.

Minoo’s strong desire for higher studies finally found fulfillment as she went deep into the Word of God, and with the help of Bibles for Mideast, went on to university.

Before going, she began preparing for baptism with, unknown to her, her future husband—yes, Davood!—as a fellow candidate. They were baptized together by Pastor Musthafa, but only later, while studying at the same university, did they get to really know each other and fall in love.

Davood learned of her unfortunate past but did not let that get in the way of his desire to marry her. Pastor Paul officiated at their marriage and now, several years later, they have a young girl and infant boy. They lead an underground church, as well as evangelize Muslims in their area and distribute bibles. Please pray God’s protection, provision and guidance for this young couple, their church and their ministry … as well as for the ministry of Bibles for Mideast as a whole.

____________________________
*names changed for security reasons

Minoo Hussain reported several earlier stories for us: The storms of heaven in Africa: punishment for some, salvation for othersand God restores and redeems: an astounding update of attack on the African church.