Indian state laws make converting to Christianity increasingly dangerous

Last week, two Bibles for Mideast pastors were attacked by Hindu radicals in north India. The pastors, both converts from Hinduism, led a house church in the region. A group of people entered the church, demanding they discontinue all meetings and services.  The pastors refused, so two days later were brutally attacked. Pastor Stephen of Bibles for Mideast reports that the local government and police apparently fully supported the attackers.

India’s governing party, the BJP, continues to push forward in its stated Hindutva ideology, or the 'Hinduisation' of India. With power at both national and state levels, their philosophy basically holds that the nation can be cohesive and workable only by maintaining the beliefs, tenets and culture of one religion—Hinduism.

The Indian state of Jharkhand just last week joined five other states (Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat) in passing an anti-conversion law.

While dubbed the ‘Religious Freedom Bill 2017’, it is anything but. The new law bans people from attempting to convert others "by use of force or by allurement or by any fraudulent means," with punishments including fines of up to 100,000 rupees (US$1,600) and four years in prison. It also states that a person converting willingly must give Jharkhand’s Deputy Commissioner details of the time, place and name of the person administering the conversion.

"This is very unfortunate for the people of Jharkhand," said the Rev. Dr. Man Maish Ekka, a member of the Jharkhand Sadbhavana Munch, a local religious freedom forum. "This is not just an attack on Christians, but is an attack on the religious freedom that the constitution gives to the very citizens of this country.”

The Indian government’s pro-Hindu stance has left it unwilling to tackle Hindu extremism   [Photograph: Str/AFP/Getty Images]

The Indian government’s pro-Hindu stance has left it unwilling to tackle Hindu extremism   [Photograph: Str/AFP/Getty Images]

William Stark of International Christian Concern pointed out that Hindu radicals have taken advantage of similar laws in other states to harass and intimidate the country's minority Christian population.

"These laws are widely abused by Hindu radicals due to the legal ambiguity within the laws themselves. Often, these laws provide an easy excuse for radicals to attack Christian leaders with impunity. One simply needs to claim the pastor was forcefully converting an individual following an assault,” Stark explained.

"As a result, instead of the pastor's assailants being arrested, it's the assailed pastor who is arrested by police following an attack.”

As this ministry and many others have experienced and reported, harassment and threats on Christians in India in the first six months of 2017 have been the highest since the country’s independence (report on increasing persecution of Christians in India from Open Doors USA here). Extremists have tortured and killed believers and vandalized and demolished churches, some from Bibles for Mideast.

The anti-conversion laws of course make it extremely difficult and dangerous to talk about and share the Christian faith.

“It's based on the idea that conversion by force should be made illegal,” pointed out Andrew Boyd of Release International.  “I think everyone would agree that conversion by force would be useless."

"But actually, if you preach about heaven, then it's considered to be bribery. If you speak about hell, it's considered to be a threat. If you offer any kind of Christian charity, then it's regarded also as bribery.”

In many of the places Bibles for Mideast missionaries live and work, severe persecution from both Muslims and Hindus remains an increasingly harsh reality.

Please pray for all of our pastors, missionaries, churches and believers. As regular visitors to this site would know, Pastor Paul, director of Bibles for Mideast, has himself been the victim of threats and assaults by both Hindu and Muslim extremists. He is still recovering from a stoning attack which happened several months ago in a country neighboring India (URGENT call to fast and pray for Pastor Paul, director of Bibles for Mideast). He continues to improve and hopes to be back working in several weeks.

From radical Islamic murderer to ardent leader in the Kingdom of Jesus

Peter Haneef, now President of Bibles for Mideast's Assembly of Loving God (ALG) Church, grew up in a fanatic Muslim family in a predominantly Islamic Asian country. For reasons that should become obvious in his story below, we cannot share his real name, nationality or location for his and his family’s safety.

“I was strict to follow Islamic rituals and cultures,” he explains. As he grew in his extremist beliefs, he wouldn’t think of associating with anyone from other faiths. “I hated them from my boyhood,” he admits.

One day, he heard about a young Muslim fellow from his area who had become Christian. So he decided to round up seven of his friends and take vengeance on the apostate. They attacked the new convert while he walked to his church on a Sunday morning, brutally stabbing him to death.

“Before he died, I was shocked to see him start praying,” Pastor Peter recalls. The words of the prayer stunned him even more.

“Lord Jesus, receive my life in your hands,” he heard him pray. “I praise you Lord for giving me an eternal home with you in heaven. But Lord, show these friends your forgiving love and great salvation. Bring them unto your fold, so that they may know that you are the resurrection and the life. Amen.” Then he died.

“We laughed at his nonsense, spat on his dead body and threw away our knives. We believed he would surely go to hell as a kafir [Arabic for infidel or unbeliever—Ed.]. The leaders of our mosque appreciated our action. But the police arrested all of us that night.” 

“Because we did it for the sake of Allah and his religion Islam, we thought certainly Allah will save us from all troubles and the religious leaders will stand behind us.”

The court had other ideas. Three of the murderers, Pastor Peter included, received the death penalty. Four others were sentenced to life imprisonment in another jail, while the youngest, a teenager, was sent to a prison for juvenile offenders.

The leaders of the mosque offered no help whatsoever. They refused to get involved with the case, and did not even try to visit their loyal Muslim brothers. The men’s parents decided to try jointly filing an appeal to the higher court.

“The higher court changed our execution order to lifetime imprisonment,” Pastor Peter explains.  “The others now got seven years imprisonment.”

While their outlooks seemed less bleak, the men still lost all hope. Their parents filed another petition to the higher court, but the sentences remained unchanged.

Two years dragged by, and the men found themselves haunted by thoughts and dreams of their victim’s last words. Pastor Haneef’s parents died, only adding to his agony.

One day, several Bibles for Mideast missionaries visited his jail as part of their prison ministry. They arranged a meeting in the recreation hall, and the jailer requested the murderers’ attendance.

With no intention to listen or respond in any way, the men filed into the meeting room. But as Pastor Paul, director of the ministry, shared the dramatic story of his own conversion from Islam they found themselves unable to block out his powerful words. 

“Usually we would have been violent and try to attack him because he was a convert from Islam,” Pastor Haneef explains. “But we did not feel any anger towards him!” That was their first surprise.

When the meeting ended, the three approached Pastor Paul, introduced themselves, and then spilled out the story of their crime. They explained they knew they would never be released from jail, and were equally certain they’d end up in hell. 

Pastor Paul listened quietly. With tears in his eyes, he told them the murdered man had been one of his best friends, a convert to Christianity with the help of his own mission organization. The men were shaken.

“Now he is with our Lord Jesus in heaven praising Him forever,” Pastor Paul explained. “You can go to heaven too, if you really confess before our Lord and accept Him as your Lord and Saviour. He is able to free you from jail, and also from sin and death. He was crucified, died and then rose from the dead for your salvation.”

Practically as one, the three convicts responded to the invitation and accepted Jesus as their saving Lord.

“Then he asked us to kneel down,” recalls Pastor Peter. “He and the other missionaries laid their hands on our heads and prayed for us.  Surprisingly, we all felt great peace.”

That night, Jesus appeared before Pastor Peter.

“I am the light of the world,” he heard Jesus say to him. “Whoever walks in my light will not go to the darkness. Follow me. And you will certainly be free, for I, the Lord of lords and the King of kings, give you freedom. Those who believe in me will have eternal life.”

“He touched me with His nail-pierced hands, and then disappeared,” Pastor Peter remembers with awe.

The other two men, remarkably, had matching experiences that night.

doves from chain final hi res.jpg

“On the third day, as a miracle we heard that the court ordered to release us from the jail! It was absolutely a miracle. We never thought we would ever be out of jail. Indeed Lord Jesus freed us.” 

The other four men were freed the same day from the jail they’d been in. When the new converts shared their experiences with their newly-released friends, they too accepted Jesus into their lives as savior and Lord.

Unfortunately, the men’s families and friends responded entirely differently. Pastor Haneef’s younger brother had by then become owner of the family home, but would not allow his now-Christian brother to enter. The others had similar experiences. All were rejected by their families and communities for their new faith, and had no idea where to go or what to do.

Pastor Paul had a vision from the Lord about their predicament. He contacted them, and invited them to his own small rental home.  All were soon baptized, and stayed with him for about two months. Pastor Paul arranged for the men to receive bible training, and helped them find another house to live in while they studied.

“We had no leave in Bible School for we had nowhere to go,” Pastor Peter recounts. “Four or five days in a month we had a mission trip with Pastor Paul. We learned midnight prayer from him. We adopted it. It is a great asset for our spiritual strength and ministry. After Sunday worship we conducted corner meetings. We got best training there!”

Nine years later, he is married to a fellow former Muslim and has two children. He works diligently as an evangelist and church planter with Bibles for Mideast and leads the Assembly of Loving God (ALG) umbrella organization

All seven of his fellow prisoners work with Bibles for Mideast as well. The man who had been in juvenile detention had been released before them, and unfortunately remains an enemy of Christ and of them.

“We suffer many persecutions, but Lord Jesus strengthens us by the prayers of many children of God,” says Pastor Peter.

Please pray for him, the work of the ministry and for the many desperately needing to discover the truth and peace possible only in Jesus.

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If you would like to support the ministry of Bibles for Mideast, please visit our secure donations page. 

From Hindu priestly family to daughter of the King of Kings

Report: Pastor Peter Haneef,  Assembly of Loving God (ALG) Church

Athira (not her real name) grew up in a grew up in a Hindu Brahmin (priestly) family in south Asia [Brahmin are the highest of the four Hindu castes; their traditional occupation being the spiritual guidance of people—Ed.].  She dutifully followed and practiced the ways of Hinduism throughout her youth, performing the ritual prayers and worshiping  various idols and deities. 

Once she reached university, Athira became best friends with the daughter of a Bibles for Mideast missionary. As a New Year’s gift, the friend presented her with a bible. Unimpressed, the young Hindu woman nonetheless accepted it because of their friendship. But the bible lay unread under the growing pile of her many other books. 
 
One night, she had a dream where she saw Jesus standing in the midst of a wall of fire, asking her to follow Him. On waking, she knew there had to be connection between the man in her dream and the book her friend had given her. She reached beneath her pile of books, fishing around till she found it. 

Opening it, she read: “There is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
 
The next morning, she shared her experience with her Christian friend. The friend took the opportunity to tell her all she could about the good news of the Gospel. 

“He came to save all humanity from sin and death through his crucifixion, death and resurrection,” she explained lovingly. “He is the Lord of the whole universe!  We will be saved if we believe in Him and follow Him.” 

Athira believed her friend, and prayed with her to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as her personal savior and Lord. She began attending worship services at a local Assembly of Loving God (ALG) Church. Soon she was baptized, and received the new name Phoebe as her baptismal name. 

University exams completed, a local company hired the fresh young Christian. As weeks went by on the new job, she caught the eye of fellow employee, named Jawad. The young Muslim began professing his love for her and soon after, asked her to marry him. 

It turns out his real intent was ‘Love Jihad’ [Love Jihad, also called Romeo Jihad, is a not uncommon activity where Muslim boys and men target women belonging to non-Muslim communities for conversion to Islam by feigning love—Ed.]. If she fell for him and accepted his proposal, she would be forced to convert to Islam with the marriage.

But she didn’t fall for the scheme. Instead, she shared her new faith with him, and asked him to accept Jesus as his savior. And so the war was on. He would push Allah, the prophet Mohamed and the rigid Islamic religion; she would argue for the love of Jesus.
 
As his anger grew in intensity, he became violent, slapping her and pushing her around. She refused to have anything more to do with him, which only made him more furious. 
 
One day while returning from work, Jawad and several of his friends brutally attacked and attempted to rape Phoebe. She screamed as loudly as she could, and cried out to Jesus to save her. Immediately, a mighty man of fire appeared before all of them, and rescued her. The heat from the man was such the attackers' clothes were practically burnt off of their bodies. They fled, half-naked, from the scene. Phoebe firmly believes Jesus, the mighty King, saved her.

 “For I,” declares the Lord, “will be a wall of fire around her, and I will be the glory in her midst.” (Zechariah 2:5, NASB)

 “For I,” declares the Lord, “will be a wall of fire around her, and I will be the glory in her midst.” (Zechariah 2:5, NASB)

“Don’t be afraid,” she heard the fiery man say to her. “You are my dear daughter. I have great mercy on you. Trust me and keep standing in my shadow. The mountains can shake and the hills fall down, but my love for you will not fail or be shaken. And my covenant of peace will not be removed. Certainly I will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence.”

She felt Jesus right beside her until she got back to her house. When her parents and others in the home saw her and heard her story or rescue, they could not deny the supremacy of this man Jesus. All accepted the truth of His saving power and grace, and now attend worship services with Phoebe. 
 
Please pray for her and her household. Also pray that Jawad and his friends will confess before Jesus Christ and come to saving knowledge of Him. 

Former Hindu ‘snake goddess’ now powerful witness to Jesus

To Christians, a snake symbolizes evil and the Devil himself. Yet Hindus view serpents as divine creatures worthy of worship—in temples dedicated to them, as well as in their natural habitats. Westerners familiar with the increasingly popular practice of kundalini yoga may, or at least should be aware of the entwinement of Hindu-based yoga and the ‘serpent power’ kundalini yoga attempts to awaken in practitioners. That however is a whole other story!

For young Nagamma, growing up Hindu in southern India, loving snakes seemed natural. Her family were of the Dalit class, on the lowest rung of India’s social ladder and once known as ‘untouchables’.  Without many options for employment, her father was a leading wizard of black magic and taught  the craft to his daughter from a young age. The name given her, Nagamma, even means ‘mother of snakes’.

“As a child, I fed the local snakes, carrying milk to the edge of their snake holes,” she recalls. She would also join members of her community to worship in a special temple dedicated to snakes, located under a fig tree in the border area of Kerala and Tamil Nadu States. Her love of the many idols, especially the snake gods, only increased.

One day as a young 12-year-old, a cobra raised its head and bit her while she attempted to bring milk to it. Her parents rushed her to a local non-traditional medical practitioner who wasn’t able to fully remove the poison from her body.

Within three days her outward health appeared to improve, but—to put it mildly—unusual side effects began manifesting. She began feeling completely different in both body and mind, her skin even taking on a bluish tinge.

“I started acting like a snake,” she explains matter-of-factly. She even started acting like one. Soon, all she wanted to do was sit in the temple dedicated to snakes. When people began treating her as a snake goddess, her father announced to them that yes indeed, that was what she had become!

As her fame increased, people from her community and beyond began bringing offerings of milk, fruit and flowers to her. They gave her money, fell prostrate before her, and believed if she touched them, they would be blessed.

“I asked if I could visit them in their homes,” she explains. There, for a fee, she would invoke the black magic learned from her father in an effort to destroy their enemies and so, she hoped, bring blessings on them. Her parents would pocket the money given to her.

worshipping a 'snake god'?

worshipping a 'snake god'?

When Bibles for Mideast missionaries visited Nagamma and her family, they gave them brochures on Christianity and the bible, and shared the good news of Jesus. Her father contended that since his daughter was a goddess, they should follow her, not Jesus!

Five years ago, Nagamma went to the home of a family with a young child to perform her black magic.

“Something unusual happened there,” she recalls. “Satan instructed me that there was golden treasure in that house, and I should sacrifice the child of less than three months old to find the treasure.”

An intense spiritual battle for the life of the baby ensued. Nagamma had never encountered that before; apparently the prayers of the Bibles for Mideast workers was having an effect in the heavenlies. Nagamma couldn’t, as she says, “complete the black magic for that house,” and fled.

In her bedroom that night, she had a remarkable visitation.

“A white and handsome man came to me and sat beside me,” she says with wonder. Her room filled with the brightest light she had ever seen. When the man showed her his hands, she could see what looked like injuries caused by nails.

“He told me: ‘My daughter, you are dear to me. I am your Lord and God. I give the treasure of peace and eternal life. I am the door. Those who come to me will be saved; they will go in and out and will find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come that you might have life. Life in all its fullness!’”

From the words she’d heard from the recent Christian visitors to her home, Nagamma recognized the man in her dream as Jesus Christ! Overwhelmed with emotion, she knelt before him and accepted him as her personal Savior and Lord.

In the days that followed, her changed heart led to bold actions.

MARIA -- once nagamma -- joyfully RECEIVES bible from Bibles for mideast worker

MARIA -- once nagamma -- joyfully RECEIVES bible from Bibles for mideast worker

“I broke all the idols in the temple of snakes myself,” she says. “My parents and those who believed in me did not like it. They told me I was mad. They tied me to a tree and beat me. Many other persecutions I faced. But I did not lose my faith in Jesus and wanted to enter into the fold of Jesus Christ through baptism.”

Her next step was to contact Bibles for Mideast and request baptism. She chose as her baptismal name ‘Maria’, and the Lord has anointed her mightily as an evangelist to her people. Her parents and brothers have all joined her in believing in and following Jesus. A prayer tent for Christian worship now sits where the serpent’s temple once did.

Five years after her dramatic conversion, God continues to use Maria as a mighty weapon against the kingdom of darkness. She works with Bibles for Mideast bringing many Hindus into the love and freedom possible only with Jesus.

Please pray for her protection, and for all those converting from Hinduism to Christianity. The conversion is instantaneous, but often inner healing and deliverance are needed to bring about the full freedom God so desires for His children.

Conversions in the millions: Muslims tasting the love of Jesus and embracing Christianity all over the globe

Report: Susanna Perry-Ettel
muslims to Christ.jpg

No one can deny that over the past several years, millions of Muslims worldwide have converted to Christianity. Once they taste His love, they soon sense that real freedom can be found only in Christ.

Many missionary organizations, including Bibles for Mideast, engage in evangelism to Muslims. Out of concern for the security and safety of new converts in some regions, we cannot publish all the details. Even the converts themselves often must resort to secrecy to survive.

This concern over safety proves the greatest complication in assessing the number of Muslims converting to Christianity in Islamic nations, according to Albert W. Hickman of the Center for the Study of Global Christianity.

"Many of these converts keep their new faith a secret. Some of them are fairly isolated, not knowing any other Christians," he noted.

"Others are part of house churches that consist exclusively of secret converts. These individual house churches can be part of networks that are quite extensive, although most individual members might be unaware of exactly how extensive."

Violence against Christian converts is connected to the rising tide of violence against Christians in the Islamic world, according to persecution watchdog group Open Doors USA.

The website Muslim Statistics reports that “A major Christian syndication has provided video evidence to us from their user data around the world which proves that a massive 350 million Muslims live their outward lives as Muslims, on the surface, but have secretly converted to Christianity” (article here).

In December 2001, Sheikh Ahmad al Qataani, a leading Saudi cleric, appeared on a live interview on Al-Jazeerah satellite television to confirm that, sure enough, Muslims were turning to Jesus in alarming numbers.

"In every hour, 667 Muslims convert to Christianity," Al Qataani warned. "Every day, 16,000 Muslims convert to Christianity. Every year, 6 million Muslims convert to Christianity."

Stunned, the interviewer interrupted the cleric. "Hold on! Let me clarify. Do we have six million converting from Islam to Christianity?" Al Qataani repeated his assertion. "Every year." The interview has since been removed from Al-Jazeerah’s website, but you can both view and read it in its entirety here

Muslim women come to pray in a church

Muslim women come to pray in a church

Thousands and thousands have turned to Christ in Bangladesh, India,  Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Pakistan, Maldives, Egypt, Morocco, Libya, Tanzania, Cambodia, Somalia and many other Asian and African countries. Bibles for Mideast has about 150 gospel teams ministering in different Asian, African and Middle Eastern nations. Out of those, 20 are led by women, and many Muslim women convert because of these women evangelists. 

A vast number of Muslims who have turned to Christ in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, UAE, Jordan and Palestine now worship in underground house churches. We hear many miracles of healing, deliverance and even resurrections from the dead.

Some members of ruling Arabian families have come to faith in Jesus as Lord and face persecutions such as house arrest or imprisonment (see Royal Family members believe in Jesus, now face death threats and prison).

While there were only 17 Christian converts from Islam in Afghanistan in 2001, more than 250,000 believers now exist. Hundreds of baptisms happen every week.

In 1990, there were merely three known Christians in Kazakhstan and none in Uzbekistan. Now more than 250,000 worship Jesus in Kazakhstan, and 350, 000 in Uzbekistan. In 1979 there were fewer than 500 Christians in Iran. Since then, millions of Iranians have come to believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior, most meeting in underground house churches.

In Sudan, despite a radical Islamic regime and an ongoing genocide that has killed more than 200,000, more than one million have converted since 2000, and some five million have become Christians since the early 1990s. Seminaries are being held in caves to train pastors to shepherd the huge numbers of people coming to Christ. Why such a dramatic spiritual awakening?

"People have seen real Islam, and they want Jesus instead," a Sudanese evangelical leader reports.

One of the most dramatic developments is that many Muslims—including Shiites in Iran and Iraq—are having dreams and visions of Jesus, and thus are coming into churches explaining that they have already converted and now need a bible and guidance on how to follow Jesus. This is the fulfillment of biblical prophecy from the book of Joel:

In the last days, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days.... And everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved. (Joel 2:28-32)

Even though persecution against Christians in Bangladesh is on the rise, so too is the number of Muslims converting to Christianity.

“When I began my ministry in Kurigram, there was only one Christian family with a Muslim background,” says Pastor Faruk of Bangladesh, who converted to Christianity from Islam in 1995. “Now, almost 1,500 believers from Muslim backgrounds are glorifying God in this area.” As many as 100,000 Muslims across Bangladesh have converted to Christianity in the last six years.

“Persecution will come more, but the believers and I are ready to face it," Pastor Faruk added.

In India, millions of Muslims are choosing to follow Christ and now face hardships and persecutions.

A large number of Muslim refugees in Europe from Syria, Iran and Afghanistan have also converted to Christianity, with some churches conducting mass baptisms.

Refugees lining up for baptism

Refugees lining up for baptism

"I've been spat on and told that I've betrayed Islam,” confessed a Syrian refugee baptized as a Christian in Germany. “But through what I've learned, I can forgive them."

"In Islam, we always lived in fear. Fear of God, fear of sin, fear of punishment. However, Christ is a God of love," an Iranian refugee reported in Switzerland.

"I've been looking all my life for peace and happiness, but in Islam, I have not found it," added Shima, another Iranian refugee.

In Austria there were at least 300 applications for adult christenings in the first three months of 2016 alone, with up to 70 percent of those said to be refugees.

“Within a few years all of the Muslim nations will come to Christ by the work of the Holy Spirit,” Pastor Paul of Bibles for Mideast, himself a former Muslim, says with conviction. “Satan knows it, that's why he tries to discourage and destroy the Christian workers and the believers through terrorism, persecution and brutal murdering. But our Lord Jesus will have the final victory.”

Since making that statement, Pastor Paul was again a victim of radical terrorists and is still recovering (those stories here: Despite persecution, more than 3000 former Muslims baptized,  Stoned by terrorists, protected by a lion!,  Prayer support still desperately needed for Pastor Paul and family).

Idris, another pastor with Bibles for Mideast, reports that countless ordinary Muslims, witnessing the brutal behavior of fanatics and terrorists towards Christians, are turning secretly to Christianity.

Please keep this ministry and its workers in your prayers! We so appreciate your ongoing interest and support. If you would like to submit your own prayer request, please use the form here. If you are able to support the work of Bibles for Mideast, please use our secure donations page.

Prayer support still desperately needed for Pastor Paul and family

First, a huge thank you to everyone praying our Pastor Paul back to a measure of health so that he can now be released from hospital. We didn’t reveal this earlier, but he actually had to be moved to a different hospital after authorities thwarted a plan by militants to kill him and his wife in the hospital.

He is now able to go home, but since ‘home’ is not a safe place, he and his wife have decided to go to a different state for the three-months-rest doctors recommend for his full recovery.

Please continue to pray: for complete healing, for redemption, for protection, and for guidance and provision for the future. A massive thank-you to all who have generously contributed to the hospital costs for the past month!

Work in the field continues, so please continue to pray and support as you are able. We in the West have such a limited conception of how difficult it is to live for Jesus in so many restrictive countries in the world, such as those where Bibles for Mideast missionaries live and work.

Resurrection life and healing for an abused young Muslim woman

ReportAssembly of Living God (ALG) Church

Seydath (not her real name) grew up in a poor fundamentalist Muslim family in Central Asia. When only six, her father died, and her mother remarried a year later.

As Seydath grew into a beautiful young woman, her stepfather’s unwanted attentions grew unbearable. While she knew she wasn’t safe, she had no way of escape. 

At 13, her stepfather and the Imam of the local mosque brought an elderly man to their home for a visit. He turned out to be a rich Arab from the Middle East who, once he saw her, decided she should be his next bride. For a sum, her mother and stepfather gave their young daughter to the man. He then returned to the Middle East with her as his fifth wife—far younger than his other wives and younger even than his grandchildren.

When the elderly Arab died four years later, the other wives and their children forced Seydath to become their servant. With a young child to raise but without proper food or care, the two lived a subsistence, isolated existence. When the child fell ill with pneumonia, it soon died due to lack of medical attention. Seydath had no idea how to approach the authorities, get help from anyone, and had no contacts with her native people. As the years passed, she persistently endured but barely survived.

At 40, Seydath developed serious back pain. No one in the household she worked so hard for cared. As the pain increased, she grew less and less able to function. Not until completely disabled was she admitted to the common ward of a hospital.

Doctors diagnosed severe, final stage, terminal bone cancer. None of her ‘family’ visited her in hospital, or seemed to even care she was dying.

Seydath became plagued by dreams and visions of evil spirits coming and going, attacking her body, increasing her pain and laughing at her. When doctors and nurses came, she would imagine they were agents of death, and scream at them in terror.

One day, several women working with Bibles for Mideast dropped in on her as part of their regular hospital evangelism. Near delusional, Seydath figured they too were forces of evil. She shrieked at them as she had with the hospital staff. The women merely moved back slightly from her bed and began praying in earnest.  An angel suddenly appeared to Seydath, smiled at her, and calmly reached out to touch her.

“Don’t be concerned. Be at peace,” the angel said sweetly. “You have a great healer, the Lord Jesus. He will heal you by His stripes. Trust in Jesus and believe in Him." It then vanished.

Seydath felt overwhelming peace. She looked at the women holding their bibles and praying. She knew now they had to be agents of healing and life, not death. So she called them over.

"Who is this Lord Jesus, the great healer?" she asked them.

The women told her about Jesus Christ and His mission. She listened, but as a practicing Muslim, could not accept their message. The Jesus she believed in was a prophet, not the Son of God.

"I am waiting for my death," she told them. "I won't believe in your Jesus and don't want to go to hell as a Kafir [one not believing in Islam]. I only believe in Allah and his prophet Mohammad. So please leave me alone."

That evening, a Bibles for Mideast group of believers gathered together in an underground church of the Assembly of Loving God (ALG) Church, and prayed for her the entire night.

The next day, Pastors Peter and James visited her in the hospital. Even as they entered her room, she had been dreaming of and sensing the evil spirits unleashed against her. She opened her eyes as the pastors approached, and witnessed the evil spirits flee.

Pastor Peter opened up to her more about Jesus, the risen Lord and Saviour.

“Jesus was crucified on the cross of Calvary, died and resurrected from the dead to save us from hell and give us eternal life,” he explained. “He is the one sitting at the right of Almighty Father God to receive His people to heaven. He lives and does miracles. By His stripes we are healed. If you accept Jesus as your Lord and Saviour, you will be saved.”

Both pastors then shared their own dramatic stories of conversion from Islam.

Seydath listened carefully, remaining silent. When the pastors asked permission to pray for her, she consented since, whenever they spoke, she could feel such peace and even relief from her pain.

As the pastors prayed, she fell asleep. She dreamed that Jesus appeared before her, and gently touched her from head to toe with His nail-pierced hands. He then asked her to get up from the bed and be His witness.

The pastors were still praying when she woke up. She rose, then just as quickly knelt down by the bed.

"I believe in Jesus as my personal saviour and Lord!” she announced to them. “He really was crucified, died and rose from the dead for me. From now on, He alone is my Saviour." With one voice, all three exclaimed “Amen!”

Seydath now makes her home with the Bibles for Mideast women, worshiping Jesus and studying the word of God.

"Never in my life have I experienced such happiness,” she says with conviction. “My Lord Jesus totally showers me with great joy. Praise His Name!"

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Please pray for Seydath. Please also keep up your prayers for Pastor Paul and his family. He is still in hospital undergoing treatment after his major brain surgery, needed due to the stoning by Islamic militants immediately following a baptismal service last month (that story here). He is expected to be released in about ten days.

He and his family do, however, remain under death threats. They survived a recent commando attack by terrorists, thwarted due to an intelligence report to the police (more details cannot be revealed). Our mighty Lord keeps them under His wings by your prayers.

A letter from Peter Haneef, President of ALG Church, on Pastor Paul of Bibles for Mideast

[May 10, 2017]  Dear precious fellow labourers in our Lord
Glory to the risen Lord Jesus Christ!

Our beloved spiritual father Pastor Paul underwent major brain surgery today, which lasted six hours. By God's grace it was successful. Hospital authorities brought in two famous neurosurgeons for the procedure. Thank you all for your prayers.

Last night, he called for an emergency meeting of the Board of Directors for Bibles for Mideast and the ALG Church. Our meeting lasted only ten minutes since that was all doctors would allow. 

We then spent the whole night in prayer in the hospital chapel. Today, during the surgery, 50 of our believers held a fasting and prayer service. A five-year old girl joined in, not drinking milk or even water for the duration. And our Lord answered our prayers! We thank and praise Him forever. 

I am eager to tell you something important about the medical expenses. Pastor Paul did not want me to reveal this, but I cannot refrain from telling you that his daughter sold her gold ornaments for his treatment. But that is still not enough to cover expenses. His wife does not have jewels to sell. We are aware how he manages his livelihood. His life is important for us. We need his directorship and service for the ministry and the ALG Church, which is still its infancy.

Thanking you for your prayers and cooperation,
Your co-labourer in His service,

Pastor Peter Haneef (President)
ALG Church

Please keep Pastor Paul, his wife and family, and all the churches associated with Bibles for Mideast (gathered under the ALG Church umbrella) in your prayers as his recovery may well be long. If you would like to help financially, please visit our DONATE page. We appreciate your support and help, especially your prayers! 
Susanna

 

URGENT call to fast and pray for Pastor Paul, director of Bibles for Mideast

The director of Bibles for Mideast is in urgent need of prayer. Pastor Paul had been recovering after skull surgery required for injuries sustained during a stoning by radical militants while officiating at a baptismal service for new believers in early April (Despite persecution, more than 3000 former Muslims baptized).

He was rushed back to hospital Sunday and will likely need another surgery. Doctors have discovered infection within the injured areas of his head, according to Pastor Peter Haneef, President of the ALG Church. He had also been having difficulty breathing.  

The director had been out of hospital for several weeks, first in a secret location with fellow believers (Stoned by terrorists, protected by a lion!) and then back in his home. Pastor Haneef says that at the end of last week, he had even been back to evangelical activities, visiting several homes and preaching in a meeting. More threats on him and his family ensued.

“Since then he was having pain and breathing problems,” Pastor Haneef says. He is calling all the churches of the ALG and believers who care about this ministry to fast and pray for the next three days for Pastor Paul’s recovery and total healing.

“In hospital or anywhere we not safe,” Pastor Paul's wife tells me. “Terrorists are hunting him and our family. He has served the Lord for 42 years and now he needs rest.”

She is hoping that for his health and safety and for the protection of his whole family that when recovered, he focus instead on the prayer aspect of ministry rather than be out in the field. Please pray for protection, wisdom and divine direction for this family.

Can Jesus bear our burden?

GOSPEL TRACT FOR MUSLIMS (prepared by Bibles for Mideast)

The book of Genesis in the Bible tells of Almighty God creating man out of dust in His image, after His likeness, and giving him life through the Word to be the overseer of His creation. He named him Adam, and through Adam, He created Eve.

God had a definite plan to glorify His name through humanity, and for that He needed them to be fully surrendered to Him.

To obey each and every law of God is total surrender. But Adam and Eve disobeyed, ate of the tree of which God commanded them not to eat. So they sinned.

Suppose you hire new help for your business or household. That person is obliged to obey your rules. Do you appreciate it if they do their own thing instead, and make friends with your enemies? You will fire them immediately and make sure they don’t get any support from your colleagues or friends.

If God were like us, He would have completely removed Adam and Eve from His creation, but He didn’t. Instead, He sent him out from the Garden as punishment, where they could no longer live in the ease of fellowship with Him.

“You will have to work hard and sweat to make the soil produce anything, until you go back to the soil from which you were formed. You were made from soil, and you will become soil again." (Gen. 3:19)

God also promised the Messiah, Jesus, who is the Word from God, Son of Mary, illustrious in the world and hereafter as the deliverer from sin.

The Qur’an says: “Lo! the likeness of Jesus with God is as the likeness of Adam. He created him out of dust, then He said to him: ‘Be!’ and he was. (This is) the Truth from your Lord. (O Muhammad), so be not of those who doubt” (Qur’an 3:59-60).

How is Jesus ‘the likeness’ of Adam?

Adam was created as a faultless man, in God's likeness and image (Gen. 1:26; 5:1), and crowned with glory and honor (Ps. 8:5). The Prophet David says in the book of Zabur (Psalms): “What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Yet You have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings, and crowned him with glory and honour. You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; You have put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas.” (Psalms 8:4-8)

The Qur'an 2:34 says that God asked the angels to prostrate themselves before Adam. All fell prostrate except Iblis (Lucifer), who demurred through pride and so became Satan. Satan’s promptings enticed Adam and Eve to disobey God and eat the fruit of the forbidden tree.

When they sinned against God, they lost their glory and honor and became aware they were naked (Gen. 3:7). In other words, they lost their likeness to God and took on the ‘likeness of sin’. Adam, at 130 years of age, had a son “in his own likeness, in his own image; and he named him Seth” (Gen. 5:3). So Seth had to have been born with the likeness of sin.

The Prophet David says in Zabur: “Behold I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me” (Psalms 51:5).

The Injil (the New Testament of the Bible) states very clearly that “there is no distinction; since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). But a promised remedy follows immediately: “They are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus”.

In several places the Qur’an states: “No burdened soul can bear another’s burden” (35:18, 39:7, 53:38). That can only mean that only an unburdened soul can bear another’s burden.

Both the Bible and the Qur’an teach that Jesus was born faultless. “He [the Archangel Gabriel] said [to Mary]: I am only a messenger of your Lord, that I may bestow on you a faultless son” (Qur’an 19:19). The Hadith (the record of Mohammed’s words and actions) also teaches that all the children of Adam are touched by Satan at their birth, except Jesus, son of Mary.

The Bible says this about Jesus: “For it was fitting that we should have such a High Priest, holy, blameless, unstained, separated from sinners, exalted above the heavens” (Hebrews 7:26).

 “Can any of you prove I am guilty of sinning?” Jesus once asked the Jews. “Am I not telling the truth? Then why don’t you believe me?  Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you don’t hear is that you don’t belong to God.” (John 8:46-7)

Yes! Jesus was faultless by birth and life. He can carry the weight of sin from each and every person in this world.

Jesus said in the New Testament: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). The Prophet Yahya (John the Baptist) was born to be a witness to Jesus, declaring, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29)

In the second letter of Paul to the Corinthians we read: “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21). No doubt! Jesus took all our sins and died on the cross to give us eternal life. “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our sins” (Eph. 1:7).

The letter to the Hebrews says it this way: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Heb. 12:1-2)

The Qur’an records Jesus as saying: “And (I come) confirming that which was before me of the Torah (the law of Moses), and to make lawful some of that which was forbidden unto you. I come unto you with a sign from your Lord, so keep your duty to God and obey me” (Qur’an 3:50).

“When Jesus came with clear proofs [of God’s sovereignty], he said: ‘I have come unto you with wisdom, and to make plain some of that concerning which you differ. So keep your duty to God, and obey me’ ” (Qur’an 43:63).

What do you think? Isn’t it a must to obey Jesus by accepting him as Lord and Savior?

The children of Israel denied Jesus, even though they were the chosen people of God. So they lost eternity. Looking for a warrior king savior, they were blind to the truth that Jesus Christ was the very Messiah promised by their own prophets.

What about you? Accept Jesus as your Savior and Lord. He is Christ, the Son of God and God in flesh.

Stoned by terrorists, protected by a lion!

By Pastor Paul, Director of Bibles for Mideast

My risen Lord Jesus Christ has saved my life once again, and I praise and thank God for His unspeakable grace! Certainly I am not worthy of it.

The Assembly of Loving God (ALG) Church of Bibles for Mideast called for 21 days fasting and prayer from March 13 to April 2. As that drew to a close, more than 3000 former Muslims were baptized in many of our churches in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. The Lord enabled me to baptize many people during this time.

About three weeks ago, I was changing my wet clothes after an early-morning baptism service for one of our churches. Suddenly, militants began stoning me and our group. My head was severely injured and bloodied, and a number of others sustained injuries as well.

Believers rushed me to the nearest hospital. An examination showed serious damage to my skull, so I was transferred to a specialist hospital for immediate surgery. Authorities there, however, refused to do surgery before receiving payment. My poor believing friends somehow managed to comply.

The Islamic militants who had attacked us discovered I was undergoing treatment in that hospital, and plotted to kill me. So the believers shifted me from the hospital to Pastor Ayyoob’s house in a nearby forested area.

Pastor Ayyoob lives there with his wife, two young children and 80-year-old mother. Two believers joined us to help care for me. So the eight of us stayed there—with no internet,, electricity, pipe water, or even proper bathrooms.  For primary things we used the forest areas and a nearby river.

Believers secretly visited me at the forest home, and we would have prayer services together. I stayed there about three weeks.

Last Sunday (April 16, Easter Sunday), we were in the midst of our worship service with Pastor Ayyoob leading. Suddenly, a group of militants reached the house, armed with steel bars and other weapons. We had no idea what to do.

I still hadn’t (and have not) fully recovered from the surgery. Pastor Ayyoob’s mother is an elderly, sick woman. We also had two children below four years old with us, and a woman seven months pregnant who came for the service.

Militants had found the house by noticing the people attempting to visit me secretly and coming for prayers.

Losing all hope, we thought for sure this was our last day. The children with us started crying. We all joined hand in hands and repeatedly praised and thanked our risen Lord Jesus Christ. We also continually claimed the blood of Jesus Christ as our victory.  The pregnant woman suffered pain, but joined in our praises to the Lord.

O Lord Jesus! Praise His Holy Name. Completely unexpectedly, a lion ran from the forest, leapt towards the militants, and seized one by the neck. When other combatants tried to attack the lion, two other lions bounded towards them. The terrified militants fled the site, and the lions left us completely alone. Equally astonishing, records show no lions are supposed to live in that forest.

Due to pressure from officials, we left the forest home yesterday.

URGENT: Prayer request for Pastor Paul

As reported in the story below, believers at a recent baptismal service—including the director of Bibles for Mideast—were stoned and many injured. Pastor Paul sustained serious head wounds, including damage to his skull, and required surgery.

After a week in hospital he has now been secretly moved to the home of a formerly-Muslim, now Christian family. The hospital stay proved too expensive and even unsafe. Militants had heard he was there and began hunting for him.

As he wrote to me today, the family members sheltering him often face persecution and death threats themselves. Doctors instructed him not to use his mobile phone, but he managed to send an email when the others weren’t watching. He asks for our prayers, and explains he may not be able to communicate again for several weeks.

May the Lord protect and restore Pastor Paul, guide and provide for the family he stays with while recuperating and direct and inspire you in your prayers for him and the ministry.

Despite persecution, more than 3000 former Muslims baptized

Report: Bibles for Mideast

(April 05, 2017):  By God’s grace, in spite of setbacks and persecution, more than 3000 former Muslims were recently baptized in all of the churches of Assembly of Loving God (ALG) in the Middle East, Asia and Africa. 

Bibles for Mideast had evangelized them and prepared them to witness Jesus Christ in the water and by the Spirit. What a tremendous blessing as our 21 days of fasting and prayer wrapped up!

Satan tried to spoil the ministry many times, but our Lord Jesus Christ destroyed all the evil plans.

In one church in Asia, the pastor and newly-baptized believers were stoned by fanatics. Pastor Paul was stoned while changing out of his wet clothes after the baptism service, receiving a blow to his head. Hameed, Fasal, Ruqiya, Sheela and Bishara were wounded as well.

In his epistle to the Philippians, the apostle Paul spoke of knowing the fellowship of the Lord’s sufferings and his goal to experience the power of His resurrection (Phil 3:9-11). We aspire to the same.

Five strong powers worked together against our Lord’s resurrection:

1) The government: Pontius Pilate, the Roman prefect (governor) ordered the Lord’s crucifixion and also commanded the sepulchre be sealed;

2) The military: soldiers guarding the burial site;

3) The Lord’s own people: the Jews wanted to seal the tomb and set a watch;

4) Heathen: all screamed against Jesus;

5) Satan: of course never wanted the resurrection of Jesus.

But our Lord Jesus Christ overcame all these powers by rising from death and the grave. Such was the power of His resurrection.

Certainly we too need to overcome these forces. Most governments do not favor Christianity; police, military, terrorists and other militants all conspire against us. Many of our own people (blood-relatives or nominal Christians) do not share our precious faith in Jesus Christ. Non-believers and satanic forces everywhere work against our evangelistic activities.

Let us overcome all these powers by experiencing the power of our Lord’s resurrection. “In the world you shall have tribulation,” Jesus said, “but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

St. John says, “For whoever is born of God overcomes the world: and this is the victory that overcomes the world: our faith. Who is it that has won the battle over the world? Only the person who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.” (1 John 5: 4-5)

Miraculously sending His Word, the Lord radically saves Islamic scholar and teacher

Report: Pastor Paul of Bibles for Mideast

Abu Omar (name changed for security reasons) had been for many years a religious scholar and highly-respected citizen of the Middle East. He taught and preached the Koran, the Hadith and Sharia law in mosques and Islamic schools.

While getting into his car after evening prayers in the mosque, he noticed a piece of paper stuck to his car window. He pulled it off, climbed into his vehicle, put on the light and began reading it. 

“The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Rom. 6:23)

Furious, he crumpled it up. Then, taking the rifle he kept in his car, he stepped out to see if he could find the person who had left the tract. Seeing no one, he threw the paper out and drove away.

On the way home, he stopped in front of a shopping mall. A piece of paper flew towards him and stuck to his clothes: the same bible verse! Tearing it up, he stuffed it in the nearest waste bin.

After shopping, he came back to his car and as he opened the door, pieces of paper blew towards him from the garbage can—the same ones he had ripped up and thrown there. Enraged, he gathered them up and set them ablaze with his lighter.

As he drove home he felt something on his left shoulder. He pulled it off, and glanced to see a piece of burnt paper. He stopped the car to read it: “The wages of sin is death”. A terrible fear came to his mind. With other Muslims, Abu believed in two recording angels, one recording good deeds, and the other bad. He presumed ‘Atid’, the one recording all of his sins and bad deeds, sat on his left shoulder.

Suddenly he felt something on his right shoulder. There he found another scrap of burnt paper. Taking it off he read: “The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” He also held the Islamic belief that another angel named ‘Raqib’ rested on his right shoulder recording his good deeds. In frightened wonderment, he placed the pieces of gospel tract in the dashboard.

Abu Omar could now barely sleep at night. He began pondering the biblical teachings on Jesus Christ. His habit had been to get up at dawn to go to the mosque for morning prayer.

While sleeping fitfully one night, Jesus appeared to him in a dream and said, “Stop being afraid! I am the first and the last: I am he that lives, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive forever and always. And I hold the keys to Death and Hell.” (Rev 1:17-18)

Abu Omar saw his nail-pierced hands and knew he had to be Jesus.  He rose from the bed immediately and prostrated himself before Him. When he found the courage to raise his head, the Lord disappeared. He then heard the call for morning prayer from the mosque, but didn’t go.

He rushed to his car to retrieve the pieces of burnt paper from the dash board. On the back of one, he found a mobile number and calling it, connected with Pastor Steve of Bibles for Mideast.

Pastor Steve shared the gospel, and Abu Omar accepted Jesus as his own personal savior and Lord. The pastor later presented  him with a bible, and invited him to join in the 21 days fasting and prayer called by the Assembly of Loving God (ALG) Church. Abu also began preparing for baptism.

Pastor Steve’s secret underground house church of Bibles for Mideast is in an area highly hostile to Christianity.  Please hold all these believers in your prayers.

God restores and redeems: an astounding update of attack on the African church

Report: Ms. Minoo Hussain of Bibles for Mideast, Africa

(March 19, 2017): Ibn Yakoobi was among the Muslim extremists who attacked those praying at an Assembly of Loving God (ALG) church of Bibles for Mideast in a central African country on Wednesday. .

The enraged assailants, armed with rods and swords, charged at those gathered and managed to demolish the church as believers gathered on the third day of a 21-day period of prayer and fasting.

At one point, Yakoobi attempted to kill Pastor Musthafa with his sword. As the original story relates, a huge warrior angel appeared, pulling the pastor to safety. When the church roof had been destroyed and a massive thunderstorm began to roar, a mysterious heavenly storm cloud kept the Christians dry and safe, yet pelted painful rain and hailstones on the attackers. [That whole story here: The storms of heaven in Africa: punishment for some, salvation for others]

Yakoobi was one of the more extreme and fanatic religious leaders of the local mosque, participating in all of its practices and activities. Yet neither he nor other locals, all Muslims, could deny the supernatural intervention of that day. While Yakoobi remained full of questions, many in the neighbourhood were softening in their attitudes towards Pastor Musthafa and the assembly, all former Muslims. Some, mostly women from neighbouring houses, had begun joining them for their prayer services over the next two days.

But the Imam of the mosque and other religious leaders became only angrier with the new developments. During Friday’s Day of Assembly at the mosque, the imam even devoted his sermon to strictly warning his people not to believe the Christians nor attend their prayer meetings.

He explained how, during the time of the prophet Moses in Egypt, many black magicians had also performed miracles before King Pharaoh. But Moses destroyed all of those miracles with a far greater miracle given by the power of God Almighty.

“So don’t believe and follow the black magic done by Christian followers,” he cautioned them. “Be on the alert.”

Ibn Yakoobi stood up immediately among the worshippers to ask a question. But Sharia law strictly prohibits talking or asking questions during the khutbah (sermon). In fact before each Friday sermon, an elder of the mosque reads stern warnings on the subject from the hadith (the words of Mohammed). Yakoobi could not, however, hold himself back.

“Why then, Imam, can’t you do miracles as Prophet Moses did and destroy their black magic? If you can’t, don’t talk about it!”

The Imam, now incensed, ordered him out of the mosque at once. Several other leaders, especially those jealous of or out-of-sorts with Yakoobi, rushed at him and pushed him out. They dragged him to the road, pummelling him mercilessly until he fell into an open drainage ditch. They then left him there, under the hot midday sun.

jesus-clouds1

Seriously injured and with several broken bones, Yakoobi couldn’t even lift himself up. Those leaving the mosque’s Friday service only laughed at him lying there, wounded and bloodied, as they walked back to their homes.

When everyone had passed, he noticed a cloud descending and then overshadowing him. He recognized it as the same cloud he’d seen two days earlier over the church, protecting the Christians.

He then saw a bright and mighty man in the cloud, sitting on a throne. That man showed his hands to Jakoobi, and they were nail-scarred. He could also see blood-stained marks on his legs, and on the side of his chest.

Blood-colored rays streamed down from the marks and shone upon Yakoobi. He understood it could be none other than Christ Jesus.

“I was brutally beaten, wounded, crucified and died on the cross of Calvary,” Jesus said. “After death, they pierced my side with a spear. But I rose from the dead. You are healed by my wounds.  You are purified by my blood. You have salvation by my death. And you have eternal life by my resurrection. Now I give you a new heart and new life. Be faithful.”

Yakoobi, now utterly healed, knelt down before Jesus and said, “I believe in you Lord Jesus. You alone are my Lord and my Saviour.” Within seconds, the cloud vanished.

Yakoobi went home rejoicing, and convinced his family about the truth of Jesus Christ. He met with his friends and shared his experience of salvation with them as well. Some of those who had been involved in the attack on the church decided to put their faith in Jesus as well.

Early Saturday morning, the former attackers gathered together and collected new roofing materials and began rebuilding the church roof.  They asked forgiveness of the pastor and believers, and promised to rebuild the rest of the church soon. They then joined in the day’s prayer service.

About 200 people attended Saturday's gathering. Pastor Musthafa explained the Gospel to them more fully. He then asked those who had not yet accepted the Lord Jesus as their personal savior to do so, with their own hearts and mouths. All knelt down and declared the Lord Jesus Christ to be their own personal savior and Lord.

The Imam has exploded in anger with the new developments. Locals, however, fear saying anything against Jesus or Christians, and warn their youngsters not to either. The furious Imam promises to call in militants from other mosques to fight against the ‘Christian scourge’.

Pastor Paul, Director of Bibles for Mideast and the patron of the ALG, issued a message to the African believers on Jesus Christ being the Prince of Peace.

“Our Lord Jesus does not want us to fight against our enemies in a physical way,” Pastor Paul exhorted them. “His will is that we war against Satan and his people with our fasting and prayers. Our Lord said ‘this kind does not come out except by prayer and fasting.’  Also Gad says in the book of Ezekiel that He has no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live. So pray for the people who are trying to persecute you. The Lord can change them by your prayers. Be courageous. The whole church and the children of God around the globe are praying for you.”

Then Pastor Paul prayed for them. Everyone joined in exclaiming “Amen and Hallelujah!” Amazingly, their “Amen, Hallelujah” reverberated loudly out into the surroundings as one beautiful voice.

“I have never heard such a beautiful voice before,” one man, Al Qayyum, remarked. He resides not too far from the church, and is known locally as the best male singer.

More than 350 people attended Sunday's worship service, with Holy Spirit moving powerfully throughout. Attendance had previously been less than 40. 

The storms of heaven in Africa: punishment for some, salvation for others

Report: Ms. Minoo Hussain of Bibles for Mideast, Africa

March 15, 2017: A mob of Muslim extremists attacked the pastor and believers of a church of Bibles for Mideast in Central Africa today, charging at them with swords and iron bars and completely demolishing their church.  The group had been participating in the 21 days of fasting and prayer called by the Assembly of Loving God (ALG) Church.

Pastor Musthafa, who also coordinates Bibles for Mideast in Central Africa, had been leading the 40 (mostly women) in attendance in prayer. Church members were taking part in the fast, now into its third day.

The pastor, his family and most of the believers had all once followed Islam. For the last two years, all have been avid but underground followers of Jesus.

Many churches in the area have been destroyed by both fanatics and authorities (representational image)

Many churches in the area have been destroyed by both fanatics and authorities (representational image)

Believers from nearby had been joining with those gathered at the church for their prayer times, while local Muslims kept an eye on the comings and goings. Pastor Musthafa and his team had also been courageously visiting some Muslims in their homes to pray and invite them to attend the prayer services. Their evangelistic intent had obviously leaked out. Enraged Muslim leaders gathered a mob of 25 to 30 people for the assault. Government authorities in that region support the demolition of churches, and so rarely intervene.

Shouting “Allahu Akbar,” assailants forcibly entered the prayer hall, destroying all they could see, and ripping off the church roof.

One man stabbed the pastor’s neck with a large sword.  But just as suddenly, Pastor Musthafa felt an invisible person pull him away from the blade. The ‘invisible person’ proved to be a huge warrior angel. The attacker, unable to regain his composure or aim, ended up injuring himself with his own sword.  The attackers, now livid, began beating believers.

Heavy rain and blustery winds unexpectedly formed with thunder and lightning, swirling around the church and surrounding area. Massive drops of rain fell on the attackers like stones, throwing them into disarray. Yet the believers stayed dry and protected from the downpour. Everyone then became aware of a large cloud over-shadowing the church, shielding believers from the rain. Believers then saw the Lord Jesus in the cloud, and fell to their knees before Him.

clouds

“Hallelujah!” they began exclaiming at the tops of their lungs.

As always with our God, the connected miracle lies in the fact the region had been near-drought, so the thirsty ground and surroundings soaked up the sorely-needed water.

Seeing the praising believers safe from the deluge under what seemed to be the same cloud raining down on them, the attackers attempted to get to safety. But now huge hailstones fell from the cloud onto them, proving more painful than the rain. Attempting to escape, their legs, now coated with mud, made walking difficult. But somehow they managed to leave. The rain had fallen only in the immediate surroundings of the church, not other areas in the region.

Within minutes, the rain ended and the cloud disappeared. Believers could not stop praising and thanking the Lord—for His mighty protection from persecution, from what had seemed certain disaster, and that they had seen Him with their own eyes in that amazing cloud.

While the prayer and fasting had been scheduled to end by two that afternoon, by four they still sat in the ruins of the church, worshiping our risen Savior.

Update March 19, 2017God restores and redeems: an astounding update of attack on the African church!

ALG Church calls for 21 days fasting and prayer

Report:  Bibles for Mideast

The newly-formed Assembly of Loving God Church (ALG Church) calls for 21 days of prayer and fasting from March 13 to April 2, 2017.  “Prayer can change the world” will be the main focus.

Pastor Peter Haneef, the president of the ALG Church, said that all members of the ALG’s 176 underground house churches in the region (103 in the Middle East alone) plan to take part. He also invites the children of God and prayer warriors around the globe to join in.

Pastor Haneef requests prayer for:
♦  mighty protection for the Christian world and its families;
♦  persecuted Christians;
♦  Christian ministries around the world;
♦  protection, provision and guidance for the churches of the Assembly of Loving God and Bibles for Mideast in spreading the Word of God and establishing more churches in the Middle East, Asia and Africa;
♦  the baptism of new believers. At this point, more than 2,000 believers (former Muslims) from the various ALG churches are preparing for baptism;
♦  the salvation of the Muslim world, especially in the Middle East. Pray for every Muslim to know the love of Jesus Christ and accept Him as their personal Savior.

Approximately two billion Muslims live in this world, Islam being the second largest faith (after Christianity). Muslims claim that by 2050 Islam will be the first, and they work hard towards that goal.

Yet our Lord Jesus Christ saidI saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”(Luke 10:18-20).

So we must pray for the Muslim world to confess before the true and living Lord Jesus Christ and, by the power of the Holy Spirit, accept Him as their savior and Lord. By the prayers of our Lord’s children, the Muslim world can redirect their minds and hearts towards the real savior.

Please pray also that each and every one praying and supporting our Lord’s ministry around the globe be blessed abundantly with their families and generations. Pray the Lord would bless them with happiness of the Holy Spirit, with good health, wealth, and all other blessings they require.

“For those unable to fast during these days, ALG Church requests they pray at least three times per day for the church, mission, and the subjects mentioned,” the president of the church added.

Our Lord Jesus suffered, was crucified and died for us. He paid a ransom for all. And He has risen indeed.

Jesus promised, “Whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you askanything in My name, I will do it.” (John 14: 13-14).  PLEASE PRAY. IT WILL BE ANSWERED.

The church also offers prayers for whoever requests them. Simply email: algchurch@gmail.com.

“Your needs will be prayed for in all ALG churches during the days of prayer and fasting,” Pastor Haneef said.

About fasting and prayer: most ALG believers will avoid food till 2:00 p.m., spending extra time in prayer. They will then generally have vegetarian food only. The partial fast, lasting 21 days, follows the model of the Old Testament prophet Daniel (see Daniel 1).

Jesus saves Arab from horrible tragedies, his Christian-hating wife soon to follow

The following story is from a man who for security reasons, we’ll call Al-Jamali. From a prominent Middle Eastern Arab Muslim family, Al-Jamali up until recently strictly adhered to the five pillars—the basic and foundational tenets—of Islam.

About eleven years ago, in 2004, I went on a tour of India with my friend. We were visiting Kanyakumari, the cape of South India, in December that year when gigantic waves began heading to shore. We saw them coming, but not thinking they would affect us on land, I made an effort to take photos. They were, in fact, tsunami waves [generated by the massive magnitude 9.3 undersea earthquake off the coast of Banda Aceh, northern Sumatra—Ed.].

Within seconds the waves battered the shore, wiping out everything.  Thousands of people died.  My friend and I were trapped in the waves. The undercurrent pulled me down to the ocean depths, where I probably remained for five minutes, certain I would die. Suddenly, I felt a strong and mighty man pick me up in his hands. I really felt like a baby being carried by its mother. I could see blood stains on the man’s hands. While he carried me, I heard him saying,

“I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me will live, even though they die; and those who live and believe in me will never die.” [John 11:25]

He carried me safely to the shore, completely unharmed. But I couldn’t find my friend, only dead bodies everywhere. I ran out among them, calling out, until I finally realized I would never see that friend again. Hundreds of the bodies could not be identified. While I watched, government authorities gathered them all up, poured gasoline over them, and set them alight.  Certainly my friend would have been among them. If God had not saved me, I too would have been burned.

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Though I got my life back, I could not get over the shock of losing my friend. I know the mighty man had saved me, but somehow that did not affect me as much as missing my friend.  I just couldn’t get over it, and lost all peace of mind. I returned to the Middle East alone, and gradually the memories of that horrible day became less strong.

But eleven years later, on the same day, December 26th, 2015, I was driving my car along with my wife. By then, I had become a family man and had married two women. The one with me was my second wife.

Suddenly, my car rammed into the rear of a truck, while another truck came up from behind and crashed into me. Unfortunately, our air bags didn’t deploy. But I felt the same thing I had back on the day of the tsunami.  A strong, mighty man held me, carrying me like a baby in the arms of its mother. I saw the same blood stains on his hands and realized he was the same man who had rescued me from the tsunami. .

Police and an ambulance arrived almost immediately, and we were taken to the hospital. On the way, sadly, my wife died. I was admitted. And that same night, the man who had saved me from both the tsunami and accident visited me. I was very happy to see him. I held his hands and asked him to sit beside me. He sat down and then said to me:  “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.” [Matt. 16:26-27]

I asked, “Who are you?”

“I am Jesus, who was crucified and rose from the dead,” he replied. “Do you believe me?”

“Yes Lord, I believe,” I answered. “But what about my wife?”

“You need only one wife,” he responded. “Lead a life with her, and live for me.” He then vanished.

The very next day, two strangers came to my hospital room. They introduced themselves as Pastor Paul and Pastor Steve from Bibles for Mideast. One explained he’d had .a dream from Jesus Christ about me, and that’s why they had come. I welcomed them happily. They explained to me the message of the Gospel and gave me an Arabic Bible. When I opened it, there were the words Jesus had said to me!  I accepted him as my personal savior and Lord before the pastors, who then prayed over me. Afterwards I went to my wife’s burial, carrying my bible in my bag.

I now study the scriptures, and secretly attend worship services at an underground house church of Bibles for Mideast. For several months, my wife refused to believe in Jesus. I tried to tell her gospel stories, but she didn’t want to hear them. When I mentioned the name of Jesus and talk about his crucifixion and resurrection, she’d become angry and even violent. But the church and I continuously prayed for her.

One day she slipped on the floor and broke her hip.  She needed surgery, and afterwards, in severe pain, could only rest at home.  Whenever I .prayed silently over her, she felt some relief but when I stopped, the pain would return. Slowly though, she began to understand the power of prayer.

I was thrilled when she asked me to call the pastors to pray for her. So I called Pastor Paul immediately to see when he could come, and then sent my car to bring him. He arrived with two others. It was in fact the second time he’d come to my house. The first time, my wife had angrily let him know she did not like or want Christians visiting our home. But on this second visit, she welcomed him with a beautiful smile and asked me to pull a chair up for him beside her bed.

Pastor Paul helped her understand more about Jesus, and her need for salvation. She readily accepted Jesus as her savior and Lord. Then he got up and started praying for her. I was surprised to see her reach out and take his hands, and then hold them to her head. As a religious Muslim, she never allowed any man except her husband to touch her body. This is an absolute requirement under Shariah law. But with Jesus in her heart, she had totally changed.

While Pastor Paul prayed, we all heard some breaking or joining sounds coming from her hip area, and she was totally healed! We had a consultation with her doctor that same day, and since she no longer needed them, all the materials that had been surgically implanted to repair the broken hip were removed. Now I attend the worship service along with my wife and children at Assembly of Loving God, the church organized by Bibles for Mideast..

Please keep our friend Al-Jamali in your prayers. Surely the Lord has huge plans for him!

Carry and read the Bible as if it were a mobile: Pope Francis

March 5, 2017 (Reuters):  Pope Francis on Sunday called on people to carry and read the bible with as much dedication as they do their mobile phones.

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Speaking to pilgrims in a rain-soaked St. Peter’s Square, the 80-year-old pope asked: “What would happen if we treated the bible like we do our mobile phones?”

He continued: “If we turned around to retrieve it when we forgot it? If we carried it with us always, even a small pocket version? If we read God’s messages in the bible like we read messages on the mobile phone?”

Francis called the comparison “paradoxical” and said it was meant to be a source of reflection, adding that bible reading would help people resist daily temptations.

The pope poses regularly for 'selfies' with pilgrims who flock to his weekly audiences wielding smartphones, while his English- and Spanish-language Twitter handles have more than 23 million followers.

Francis last year called the internet, social media and text messages “a gift of God” if used wisely.

“It is not technology which determines whether or not communication is authentic, but rather the human heart and our capacity to use wisely the means at our disposal,” he said.

But in 2015 Francis told a young girl he was embarrassed to admit that he did not know how to use computers and was an overall “disaster” with technology. He has also said smartphones should be banned from the family dinner table and children should not have computers in their rooms.

The pope spoke during his last public appearance this week. He and top members of the Roman Curia, or its central bureaucracy, will begin their annual Lenten retreat later on Sunday that will run through Friday.

Gospel-hating drunkard finds Jesus and escapes disaster

Mr. Julannan hated it when anyone tried to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with him. He and his wife, while members of the Catholic Church, lived worldly lives and looked with contempt on any charismatic Christians they encountered. He had a drinking problem as well. When drunk, he’d become violent both at home and with neighbors. There were times locals found him lying by the roadside in an alcoholic stupor.

He especially abhorred people coming to his house to share the message of Jesus. One day, members of a Bibles for Mideast team visited. They handed him gospel tracts which he grabbed, only to then promptly set alight with a nearby box of matches.

“Get out of my house!” he yelled as the surprised visitors watched their precious tracts burn.

Travelling home from his contracting job one evening, Mr. Julannan passed an open-air gospel convention ground. With contempt, he spat in the direction of those gathered there, and continued on his way.

“Jesus is the instant help for your troubles!” he suddenly heard the convention speaker announce. “He is always before you, watching over you, and healing your sicknesses.” He stopped dead in his tracks as the voice continued.

“But you are crucifying Him by your sins," the man warned. "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. So confess, confess your sins before the Lord!”

The words pierced his heart. That night he couldn’t sleep.  He couldn’t shake the feeling—especially when it also invaded his dreams—that something terrible was heading his way. He tried to pray, but didn’t know how.

“Jesus, Jesus, Jesus,” was all he could say.  “JESUS! Save me Jesus!”

The next day as Mr. Julannan hurried to his job, he noticed with dismay a train approaching the railway crossing along his route. If he waited the long minutes for it to pass, he knew he’d be late for work. So he decided to take his chances and run for it. Partway across, the speeding train barrelled down on him, knocking him flat between the railway tracks. Onlookers screamed as they watched the disaster unfold.

Mrs & Mr Julannan receive bibles from leader of Bibles for Mideast, Paul ciniraj

Mrs & Mr Julannan receive bibles from leader of Bibles for Mideast, Paul ciniraj

As soon as the train passed, he leapt to his feet and off the tracks—without a scratch on his body. To the astonishment of bystanders, he explained how when the train ran over him, he cried out to the Lord Jesus. Immediately, he sensed someone hugging him tightly, cushioning him from the train roaring overhead, like a baby being sheltered by its mother. The Presence then disappeared just as quickly once the train had passed.

“I know my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ saved me from what should have been a horrible tragedy!” he repeated with renewed confidence.

Since he and his family had no bible at home, Bibles for Mideast provided them with several, which they now read and meditate on daily. Alcohol no longer holds him in its grip. Further, he and his wife have partnered with the ministry to joyfully distribute both bibles and gospel tracts—ablaze now with the fire of the Holy Spirit!