Report: Bibles for Mideast and an ALG church in the Middle East
Halima*, born into an Arab Muslim family in the Middle East, grew up faithful and obedient to the many practices and rituals of Islam. She married as a teenager, set up home with her new husband, and the couple soon had a baby girl to look after. Within a few years, she conceived twice more, but unfortunately miscarried each time.
About four years ago, Halima developed severe pain throughout her whole body and found herself growing weaker and weaker. After a thorough medical check-up, doctors diagnosed a serious, life-threatening type of blood cancer.
Her husband loved her desperately. He could not imagine life without her or raising their now two-year-old girl on his own. He took her to many oncologists and even to specialists abroad for further treatments. But all medical efforts failed, and a year ago, she had reached the final stages of the disease. Doctors gave her no hope, advising her husband to take her home and give her whatever she needed to help her be as comfortable as possible for the limited time she had remaining.
Before being discharged, however, two Bibles for Mideast women visited her as part of their hospital ministry. When they offered to pray for her, her husband refused and angrily demanded hospital security get the evangelists out. Security staff complied, actually dragging the women out. Halima, however, quietly tucked the sample gospel away in her purse.
Back in her own bed at home, waiting to die, she retrieved the gospel tract from her handbag and began poring over it. Like all Muslims, she knew historical Jesus had healed all manner of diseases and who knew? Maybe He could still do it. It seemed to her it was worth trying.
She told her husband what she had read and showed him the pamphlet. She then asked if he would call the mobile number printed on its back and see if someone might be able to come and pray for her.
“This is just wicked propaganda of the Christian religion!” he exclaimed. “It is not right for us to contact Christians and ask them to pray for us. Only a Kafir [Arabic for infidel, or unbeliever—Ed.] would do that. If we die, we should not die as infidels, but as Muslims. That is the real way to heaven. This Christian connection would only lead us to hell.”
Gazing at her little daughter by her side, now five, Halima began to cry. She reached out to her, pulled her close and held her tight, kissing her sweet face. The girl started crying as well.
This all proved too much for her husband. Relenting, he picked up the brochure and called the number printed on it. A Bibles for Mideast pastor answered. Halima’s husband outlined the details of his wife’s disease, and explained that she would like someone to come and pray for her. He handed the phone to Halima, who spoke to the pastor as well.
After praying for guidance, the pastor called several members of his congregation to join him at the church. Along with the pastor’s wife, they joined together in further prayer. [Situations such as these can be difficult in restricted areas of course. The possibility of a trap to ‘out the Christians’ always exists—Ed.]
"Lord, don't send me to Halima's house unless you come with me," the leader prayed. Sensing affirmation from the Lord, he headed off to the home, asking two church members to join him.
Halima's husband answered the door, invited the Christians in, and led them to his wife’s room—extremely unusual for a Muslim to do.
After the prayer time, the pastor asked the man if it would be okay if he and his church members held three days of fasting and prayer right there in his house.
“We will pray and fast from morning to evening,” he explained. “We won’t eat anything at all. And you must join with us.”
"Well, I will allow you to do your prayers and fasting in this room, only because it’s one of her last wishes,” the husband replied. “But I will not participate with you."
"Your presence is so important for our prayer and fasting," the pastor reiterated.
Halima then spoke up, pleading with her husband to go along with the pastor’s requests. Clearly annoyed, he finally gave in.
The ALG church began their mission in the home the next day, Halima’s husband a reluctant participant. On the first day he ate his regular meals in his dining room, but by the second and third days he fully joined the fast. Not only that, he carefully listened to the prayers and gospel messages. At his request, the family servant, maids and driver even joined in. The Holy Spirit wonderfully moved among them.
On the third day, Halima saw Jesus! She watched and felt Him touch her head with His nail-pierced hands, and said that it felt as though blood flowed into and through her body from those hands. She jumped to her feet as power surged through her.
"Lord Jesus, you alone are my savior!” she exclaimed repeatedly, dancing and clapping. “You are my everything! Praise you Lord and thank you Jesus!" To the surprise of those around her, she even began speaking in tongues. All the pain had vanished, she announced.
She, her husband and daughter all surrendered themselves before Jesus and accepted Him as their Lord and Savior. The servants and maids also accepted Jesus into their hearts and lives.
The fourth day proved a great time of celebration as the church gathered in the couple’s home to give thanks. All praised and worshiped their saving, redeeming Lord in Spirit and in Truth. As the time of praise and thanksgiving wrapped up, Halima and her husband served everyone food.
Halima of course checked in with her oncologist soon afterwards, who, after examining her and testing her blood, looked at her in amazement.
“This is a total miracle,” he said. “Your blood has no cancer cells. You are completely healed.”
A few days later, all were baptised and began attending services regularly at the underground church in their area. But the Muslim community, on discovering they had become Christian, did their best to convince them to return to Islam. The little family remained firm and bold in their witness. Militants took to attacking their home with rocks, and threatened to kill them. They felt they had no choice but to escape to another region.
As they planned their departure, their driver and household help all wanted to join them since they had all become Christians as well. But the family knew they would no longer have the finances to support them and said they simply had to find work somewhere else. Still, two of the workers pleaded to come along, even knowing they could no longer be paid, and the family relented. Those left behind promised to never leave their faith in Jesus.
On settling into their new home, in an area with no known Christians, they continued worshipping on their own. The pastor who had prayed for and baptised them visited regularly for the first few months to lead a midweek service for them. With Halima and her husband, he began evangelising in the area. Some listened as they shared the Good News, many scoffed and scolded, and once they barely escaped when attacked. Still, they have managed to win a number of locals for the Kingdom of Jesus and a new underground ALG church was born! ALG Church President Peter Haneef recently appointed a minister to lead the new congregation, with Halima’s husband assisting.
Just last week, Halima gave birth to a baby boy. Both mother and baby, whom they named Abdul Masih—meaning ‘Servant of Messiah’—are healthy.
Please pray for Halima, her husband, children, and all the new Christians meeting in their home. Please also pray for the ministry of Bibles for Mideast and the ALG Church—that our Lord will protect, guide and bless His work being done in so many dangerous situations.
* Name changed for security reasons