From the River of Death to the River of Life!

Report: Bibles for Mideast and an Assembly of Loving God (ALG) church in South Asia

Rabinder and Padma*, devout Hindus, lived with their daughter in northern India.  They dutifully performed the regular Hindu rituals of worshipping and praying to a vast array of deities both in their home and in local temples.

One day, to their extreme distress, their daughter left their home proclaiming her love for a Muslim boy, who she then married. When the parents went to the newlyweds home to appeal for the return of their daughter, she instead asked them to convert to Islam as well.

Because of the shame of the marriage among their fellow Hindus, Padma and Rabinder were hated and shunned. Priests and community leaders forbad them entry to the temples to see their many beloved and feared idols. They accused the couple of creating opportunities for their daughter to develop a friendship with the Muslim boy. Then, when they had visited their daughter in her new home and could not convince her to return to them, why had they not killed the two of them, they demanded? Further, if they allowed the parents in the temple, surely they would misguide other boys and girls.

Rabinder and Padma were devastated. Everyone, even close neighbors, now kept their distance. In desperation, two weeks ago, they decided to drown themselves in the great river Ganges. According to Hindu belief, such deaths would not be considered suicide but as giving their lives into the hands of the goddess Ganga. [The Ganges River is considered sacred, and personified as the goddess Gaṅgā—Ed.]. Hindus believe that dying in the river Ganges or leaving a dead body there means a direct journey to Vaikuntha, the highest heavenly abode. With so many dead bodies floating in the polluted waters, Rabinder and Padma knew no one would search for them. So off they went, and after tying their hands together, jumped into the contaminated river.

Dead bodies floating in Ganges River near Pariyar (Getty Images)

Dead bodies floating in Ganges River near Pariyar (Getty Images)

By next morning, their bodies landed ashore, many miles downstream. Pastor Praveen* of Bibles for Mideast along with two other believers happened to be out on their morning stroll when they spied two bodies on the nearby shore. Certain they must be dead, they still approached, noticing one was male, the other female. Discerning some slight movement, they immediately pressed down on their abdomens, releasing some of the water inside. Both became conscious but were obviously extremely weak. The pastor and his friends took them inland to their ALG church.

The Hindu couple had never in their lives met even one Christian. What they’d heard and believed was that all had converted from the Hindu Dalit, or ‘untouchable’ class. So when they discovered their rescuers were Christian, all they wanted was to get away. But in their weakness, they could barely move. Surely, they thought, every last bit of goodness had vanished from their lives. Both began to cry.

When Pastor Praveen and a few others attempted to touch and console them, they screamed out for them to stop. The pastor's wife attempted to give them glasses of drinking water, but they refused to even touch the glass.

The Hindu woman wore a pendant around her in her neck, bearing an image of the lord Shiva. The two held onto the idol and called out to Shiva to save them.  By this time, other believers had joined the group.

Shiva pendant necklace similar to the one Padma wore

Shiva pendant necklace similar to the one Padma wore

Understanding what was going on, the pastor and his fellow church members simply sat nearby, praying the two exhausted visitors would come to know the one and only, true and living Lord God.

Pastor Praveen read aloud from Psalm 115, David’s beautiful ode to the greatness of God and the utter impotence of idols. As he brought in the Gospel to explain the reading, the Holy Spirit began to move mightily. The Hindu couple glanced around fearfully, wondering what on earth the Christians were up to.

"When I saw Him, I fell at his feet as though dead,” the pastor now read. “But He placed His right hand on me, saying, ‘Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last, and the Living One. I was dead, and see, I am alive forever and ever; and I have the keys of Death and of Hades’” (Rev. 1:17-18).

Suddenly an electric shock passed through the couple's hands and the idol shattered, the pieces flying everywhere.

"THAT is the true Word,” a mighty Voice thundered. “I am your Creator and Savior. I am neither a man nor an idol. I brought you here for your salvation." Everyone in the room heard it.

The couple began to weep, this time feeling burdened with sin. They confessed their sins before the Lord Jesus, and accepted Him as their Lord and Savior.

Rabinder and Padma now stay with Pastor Praveen and his family, feeling joy they’d never known and worshiping the Lord Jesus in Spirit and in Truth. Please pray for them. They also request prayers that their daughter and son-in-law would come to know and accept Jesus as their own Savior and Lord as well.

_____________________
* 
Names changed for security reasons

ISIS fighter flees bombardment and inadvertently, into the hands of Jesus

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

Shuhaib* grew up in a fanatically fundamentalist Muslim family who had 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 the official reign of terror in Afghanistan (1996-2001), the Taliban murdered thousands of people and destroyed countless churches and temples. When US-led forces attacked Afghanistan in 2001, Shuhaib was only four years old.  Three of his brothers died in the assault, one of his older sisters went missing, and his mother died without getting proper treatment nor even a burial. Finally his father fled the home with nothing but his youngest son Shuhaib and little daughter Sameera, then seven. 

They hadn’t gotten far before being captured by armed forces in a military truck patrolling the streets. Shuhaib’s dad felt sure they would be killed but to his surprise, when the American soldiers saw the innocent youngsters, they actually helped the family escape. Driving them to a deserted area, they motioned for them to flee and many difficult days later, the young family ended up in a Middle Eastern Kingdom. The father eventually found work, and labored long and hard to support his growing children.

Whenever they thought about their deceased mother, murdered brothers, missing sister and other dead and missing relatives, their rage towards Christians grew. Like many Afghanis, they believed Christians were behind the invasion. So at 17, Shuhaib joined up with a militant group and from there was recruited by ISIS. He served as a faithful commander, but his father and sister never had any idea where he was.

ISIS militants, once on the march but now in retreat and disarray everywhere

ISIS militants, once on the march but now in retreat and disarray everywhere

About a year and a half ago the father died in a tragic accident, and as we reported in an earlier story, his sister Sameera, miraculously touched by the Lord Jesus about a year ago, accepted Him as her personal savior and even joined the ministry of Bibles for Mideast.

What we hadn’t reported is that six months ago, she married an ALG pastor in the Middle East. While no one knew for certain whether Shuhaib was even alive, his sister, her new husband and their whole church prayed fervently for his return, and that he would also join the Christian fold.  

Several days ago, a surgical strike by an anti-terrorist squad completely destroyed the base where Shuhaib and his forces had set up operations. All died except Shuhaib, who was catapulted from the camp like a football. Even though injured, he managed to flee the devastation, the sounds of bomb blasts continuing behind him. As he ran, he could feel someone holding his hand, helping him run even faster.  He also heard a voice from above.

"I am the Way, the Truth and the Life,” it declared. “No one can come to the Father without Me."  He neither understood the words nor had any idea where they came from.

As morning dawned, exhausted and parched Shuhaib had reached a village. He staggered to the door of a house on the outskirts and knocked. A young couple with two small boys by their side opened the door. Shuhaib asked for some water to drink. Inviting him inside, they gave him water as well as food, and bandaged his wounds. They questioned him about where he’d come from but Shuhaib, without the strength even to answer, fell asleep.

It turned out the family were members of a local ALG church, so naturally they began praying for the sleeping stranger. But before they even prayed, they’d received biblical verses they knew applied to him.

"I was sought by those who did not ask for Me; I was found by those who did not seek Me. I said, ‘Here I am, here I am,’ to a nation that was not called by My name.” (Isaiah 65:1)

Then, “a bruised reed He will not break, and a dimly burning wick He will not quench; He will faithfully bring forth justice” (Isaiah 42:3).

As they prayed for the battered young man, they felt God tell them he was someone plucked straight from the fire by the Lord Jesus Christ. They got in touch with their pastor, who, with two other church members, came immediately.

Since Shuhaib still slept when the pastor arrived, he talked the situation over with the couple. Meanwhile, their two youngsters took it upon themselves to wake the fellow up.

"Shall we tell you a holy verse we know by heart?" a little voice queried.

"Yes," groggy Shuhaib replied.

"I am the Way, the Truth and the Life,” the older boy replied. “No one can come to the Father without Me."

"In Him was life, and the life was the light of men." the younger boy piped in.

Stunned, Shuhaib realized he’d been hearing the same words the older boy just recited the whole previous night as he’d been running to safety.

Seeing the visitor now awake, the others came over. Shuhaib asked them about that verse, and explained his own experience with it.

“Those are the words of Christ Jesus, our Savior,” the pastor replied.

At the name ‘Christ Jesus’, Shuhaib rose angrily.

"Are you Christians??” he demanded.

“Yes, we are Christians," the pastor replied politely.

"Well then, thank you for your hospitality. But I'm sorry, Christians have been my enemies since birth. So I’m leaving."

When he tried to, the pastor stopped him gently.

"Brother, the Lord Jesus just saved your life from a great tragedy. Jesus is not an enemy, but a friend of everyone. He rescued you, was with you on your way, and brought you right here. You can go if you want, but please allow us to have a few words of prayer with you before you do. God brought you here for that reason, we believe.”

Annoyed, Shuaib decided to do as they asked, and sat back down.

While the pastor prayed, Shuhaib again fell asleep.  He dreamt Jesus blessed him with nail-pieced hands, while behind Him stood a huge crowd of saintly-looking people. Multitudes of angels overshadowed the scene. Then, among the saintly ones, he clearly saw the bright, smiling face of his sister Sameera right on the front lines.

"I am the Light of Life, the Prince of Peace and the eternal Savior,” Jesus said to him. “I am the First and the Last. Follow me and glorify the Heavenly Father." He then disappeared.

Shuhaib suddenly opened his eyes wider than they’d ever been.

"I believe in you Lord Jesus!" he exclaimed.

Those standing around knew Jesus had visited him. Shuhaib then shared his whole story from the beginning. The pastor related his own testimony of how he had converted from Islam, and then outlined the message of the Gospel. Shuhaib readily accepted Jesus as his personal Savior and Lord.

As the pastor listened to Shuhaib’s story, he put the pieces together and realized he could be none other than Sameera’s brother. He knew Sameera to be married to a fellow Bibles for Mideast pastor and living in another country.

After discussing the situation with Pastor Paul, director of Bibles for Mideast, he contacted Sameera's husband and told him the wonderful news. Within days, the former terrorist joined his sister and her husband at their church, and was baptized there.

We also just learned from Sameera that at likely the same time as her brother met with Jesus in his dream, she’d had a vision of herself worshiping the Lord in Spirit and in Truth alongside her long-lost brother!

Please keep all of these precious people in your prayers.

 ________________________
*
Name changed for security reasons

Previous story on Sameera: Jesus heals and saves Afghani girl brought up by Taliban

Why is human life so sinful?

By Pastor Paul, Bibles for Mideast

So often we wish to abandon our sins. But in our faint-heartedness, we say to ourselves, “I will wait a little bit longer.” Thus we keep away our good intentions.

Once St. Seraphim (a revered Russian monk and spiritual teacher) was asked, “why is man’s life so sinful?”  He replied: “Because he lacks the resolution to renounce sin.”

According to Seraphim*, the devil constantly tries to destroy the unity of our body, soul and spirit. When we sin, this unity—with which human beings were created—is broken. The devil aims to create situations that make us defy rather than obey the Lord’s commandments, and so replace our noble aspirations for perfection with damnation.

Let us not delay the struggle against our sinful ways. Let us be resolute, bold enough to swiftly abandon sin. Do not wait for the eleventh hour, for death may come at 10:30.

Let us pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit to preserve the unity of our body, soul and spirit.

rom quote lowest.jpg

Body must be subordinate to soul, soul subordinate to spirit, and spirit subordinate to God—an essential unity in diversity necessary to restore our spiritual life. Our prayer and fasting are for our sojourn on earth, the aim of our spiritual journey being to grow and walk in the way that preserves the above-mentioned unity.

It is the time for repentance, penitence and to sincerely return to the Father through Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit; to leave the sinful nature and to live a virtuous life. Certainly without effort, we cannot and will not succeed.

“Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the time of salvation.” (2 Cor. 6 :2b).

__________________________

* Seraphim (1759-1833), one of the most renowned monastic figures in Russian Orthodox history, lived a life of contemplative prayer and self-denial. He often met with and advised those seeking his counsel.

Papal visit and 'illegal' evangelism’ lead eight young Muslims to Jesus

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

Inside the Sheikh Zayed Sports City in Abu Dhabi, UAE, Feb. 5, 2019 ( AP photo/Kamran Jebreili)

Inside the Sheikh Zayed Sports City in Abu Dhabi, UAE, Feb. 5, 2019 (AP photo/Kamran Jebreili)

While Muslims generally live for their religion and abide by its many laws, none ever learns about a loving God. So when two devout young Muslim men heard the news for the first time in their lives earlier this year—from the Pope, of all people—they couldn't believe their ears.

Pope Francis made a historic visit to their country, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), in February. This first-ever papal visit to the Arabian Peninsula, the birthplace of Islam, made headlines in many ways.

Around 135,000 people attended a service at a massive sports stadium in the capital city of Abu Dhabi—many of them Catholic migrant workers from places such as the Philippines and South America*, as well as about 4,000 Muslims. The young Muslim men decided to join the crowds at the service and had every intention to cause mischief and challenge the Pope's teachings on Christianity. How could this Christian leader dare come to their country and speak against their Sharia laws?

While the UAE’s constitution establishes Islam as the country’s official religion, it also, officially at least, guarantees freedom of worship to those of other religions. Yet as we have reported in other stories, strict laws exist against proselytizing by non-Muslims, blasphemy and converting from Islam: all considered serious crimes punishable by death.

Due to traffic congestion, however, the young men had to settle for watching the ceremony on a large screen outside the stadium grounds.

Pope Francis cherishes God’s Word

Pope Francis cherishes God’s Word

As soon as the pope concluded his speech, they attempted to leave quickly but were again thwarted by the throngs of people. So they had to wait until the service concluded. By that time someone had passed one of them a note, which the fellow simply pocketed without looking at it.  

When the young Muslim men returned home, they began reflecting on the words they’d heard about Jesus bringing love to humanity, and how the pope explained Jesus had come to defeat fear, sin and death by the power of God's love. This was all news to them! Their conversation went on and on. How about where he said Jesus came poor, but wealthy in love; that He came to serve, but not to be served? That he healed many, but not himself … allowing himself to be wounded and even put to death!

The whole concept of God’s love for humanity was utterly foreign to them. They had never heard of nor known a loving God.  They learned from their Islamic upbringing that yes, God is beneficent and merciful, but never that He was loving.

The very next day, the man who’d gotten the piece of paper found it in his pocket. It turned out to be a gospel tract published by Bibles for Mideast. He unfolded it to read:

“For God so loved the world that He gave his only Son Jesus, so that everyone who believes in Him may not perish but may have eternal life” (John 3:16).

He read the whole tract. ‘Such strange, wonderful news!’ he thought. He called many of his friends and invited them over to read and discuss the words with him. When they arrived and began reading and discussing, another few verses printed on the tract impressed them:

“Since, therefore, the children share flesh and blood, He himself likewise shared the same things, so that through death He might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by the fear of death” (Heb. 2:14-15).

As they talked, they sensed an unusual power moving among them. They decided to call the cell phone number printed on the back of the tract, which happened to be for a Bibles for Mideast pastor in the Middle East. They spoke at length with him, and asked if they could meet him. He told them to pray to God the Father to show them the truth, the way to salvation and eternal life. He said that in three days, they could get together.

The pastor and the ALG (Assembly of Loving God) Church spent the next three days fasting and praying for the eight young men. When the three days were over, the men met with the minister at his church and heard the gospel message. All eight readily accepted Jesus into their lives as personal savior and Lord! An awesome power engulfed them as they did, and all were filled with the Holy Spirit.

For the last month, each has been secretly studying the word of God, and just last week all were baptized. The new believers want to be involved in our Lord’s ministry and are waiting on God for guidance on what steps to take next. They know that persecution will be fierce and that their lives are now in serious danger. Please pray for them: that our Lord will guide, protect and provide for them in all ways.

________________________

* A large migrant community in oil-rich UAE works building gleaming new towers or as domestic help, often under harsh or discriminatory conditions.

Sinking without a Shepherd

By Pastor Paul, Bibles for Mideast

A sheep wandered away from the fold one day and before she knew it, ended up alone in the jungle. Suddenly, she noticed a wolf racing towards her. She turned and fled, fearing that at any moment the wolf would sink its claws into her. The sheep desperately looked for a way to escape and at last, spied a shallow pond. Barely evading the wolf’s reach, she jumped into the pond and in the heat of the chase, the wolf blindly leaped in after her.

To the surprise of them both, the pond was extremely shallow yet filled with deep recesses of mud. After toppling over each other, the sheep and the wolf found themselves a short distance apart, stuck in mud up to their necks. Both had their heads free, but were unable to get themselves out no matter how much they writhed.

The wolf repeatedly snarled at the sheep and roared, “I am going to enjoy the sound of crunching your bones between my teeth!”

He thrashed about in fury but soon became fretful as he found no prospect of escape.

The sheep thoughtfully laughed as the wolf struggled to free himself and asked him, “Do you have a master?”

The wolf disdainfully replied, “I am strong and am my own master. Why do you ask me if I have a master?”

 “You may be strong and all in the jungle, but here all your power has failed to save your life,” the sheep replied.

“And what about you?” retorted the wolf. “You are going to die here in this mud too!”

The sheep smiled mildly, replying, “No, I am not.”

“If even I cannot free myself from this mud,” snapped the wolf, “then how can you, an ordinary sheep?”

shepherd carrying sheep4.jpg

 “I cannot free myself from this mud, but my master can,” the sheep gently replied. “When he doesn't find me with the fold as dusk sets in, he’ll come looking for me. Once he finds me, he’ll raise me up out of the mud, hold me safe on his shoulders, and take me home.”

The wolf fell silent, glaring coldly at the sheep.

Soon enough, as the sky began to darken, the sheep’s master arrived. He immediately recognized the plight she was in and lifted her to safety. And they walked home.

The wolf sadly looked at them and sank down into the muddy waters, his pride going under as well. Why was his own power no longer enough; where was his master, someone to save him?

Aggressive Islamic militants now serving God and bringing multitudes to Christ

Shah* once lived the life of an aggressive Islamic militant in a Muslim-dominated south Asian country. While the state officially recognized Christianity as a minority religion, it also considered blasphemy against Allah and the Prophet Mohamed great crimes. So with no justification, many would persecute Christians by falsely accusing them of such a ‘crime’.

One day, Shah saw a young Christian man associated with Bibles for Mideast holding a Bible and explaining salvation and the second coming of Jesus to a young Muslim fellow. Shah approached to set him straight. outlining the Islamic belief about ‘Prophet Jesus (Isa)’. He proclaimed forcefully the Islamic belief about Prophet Jesus (Isa): he did NOT die on a cross, but was elevated by Allah and will come back again as ‘Mahdi Imam’, a Messiah who will rule the rule the entire world for 40 years under Islamic (Shari'a) law.  

The Christian minister calmly and politely shared with him how Jesus, born of the Virgin Mary and living a sinless life, really did die on the cross of Calvary.  He then rose from the dead as a ransom to save all humanity from sin and death. Those who believe and follow Him are washed by His shed blood on the Cross. They are His bride and He is coming back in the clouds to receive them. That, he said, is what the Bible teaches.

"Your bible is annulled and false!" Shah screamed. He slapped the evangelist and grabbing the bible from his hands, threw it to the ground. He then set it on fire. The other man joined Shah in the assault, and the two decided to tie the minister up with a rope.

By this time a mob had gathered. They brutally beat the Christian and afterwards handed him over to the police, accusing him of blasphemy against the prophet Mohamed. The court then sent him to prison and within days, he was dead.

Shah and the young Muslim, Asif* rejoiced when they heard of the evangelist’s death in prison. They became fast friends in their crusade against Christianity, and made a sport of persecuting Christians by falsely denouncing them.

One day, the young men worked up a plan of attack on a group of Christians they’d heard were having an extended meeting for fasting and prayer. As they walked to the meeting place, a man joined up with them. He talked with them about the Son of God.

Protests in Pakistan over the killing of a young Christian couple falsely accused of blasphemy.  While Pakistan has a mandatory death sentence for those indicted for blasphemy, 12 other countries can punish with death people who leave or change their religion: Afghanistan, Iran, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.

Protests in Pakistan over the killing of a young Christian couple falsely accused of blasphemy.
While Pakistan has a mandatory death sentence for those indicted for blasphemy, 12 other countries can punish with death people who leave or change their religion: Afghanistan, Iran, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.

"God sent His Son, born of a virgin woman, not to condemn the world, but so that the world could be saved through him. That man is Jesus, the Son of God." 

Shah and Asif naturally became infuriated, and wanted to beat him up. Instead, they suddenly stepped back in fear. A heavenly host of warrior angels had appeared behind him! And now, he held a burning bible in his hands—looking just like the bible they’d thrown on the ground and burned when they attacked the Bibles for Mideast worker.

The man grew brighter and brighter, His body now shining like many suns. They noticed nail marks in his hands.

In a powerful voice, He proclaimed: "I am Jesus, the Son of God, who was crucified, died and then rose from the dead. I have come to save you. Don’t let Satan misguide you! He is a liar and a thief. The thief does not come except to steal, kill and destroy. I have come that you may have life and have it more abundantly, now and in eternity. Those who gave their lives for me aren’t lost, but are with me in eternal glory. I am totally revealed in this book,” He said. “Follow me and be my witnesses."

"Lord Jesus!” the men cried, closing their eyes and kneeling before Him. “You are our Saviour and Lord! We believe in You!" When they opened their eyes, Jesus and the angels had vanished.

They practically ran to where the Christians were meeting for prayer. The believers reacted in fear when they saw the men rush in. But their alarm turned to wonder as the two shared their experiences with Jesus and boldly declared their new-found faith.

The men spent several days with the prayer group members, learning more about Christianity. But their turning made them enemies of Islamic fundamentalists and terrorists, who set out to kill them. They fled to another area and began seriously studying God’s word, and eventually were anointed pastors. As persecution persisted and grew, the men headed for the mountains and joined in ministry with Bibles for Mideast. It wasn’t long before a new ALG Church was born in one of the mountain villages.

In our first story on Asif and Shah back in November, we reported on their work and a horrific attack they’d suffered, asking for the prayers of God’s people (Urgent prayer request: Pastors attacked and church demolished by terrorists).

God miraculously answered those prayers, so that a mere two weeks later, we had an exciting update: the entire Muslim village is now Christian (Exciting update: entire Muslim village now Christian)!

Please continue to pray for these men and the work they do in so many dangerous areas, as well as for the many new Christians.

______________________
*
Name changed for security reasons

Drug-addicted, suicidal young Muslim meets Jesus and becomes His powerful witness

Sameer, born and brought up in a fanatic Muslim family, strictly followed the practices of Islam. Whenever doing the ritual namaz (prayers prescribed by Islam to be observed five times a day), he would go further and recite du’a (personal supplications) as well.

“I am facing so many problems in my own personal life and family life and do not know how to overcome them!” he would cry to Allah. “Please hear my prayer, answer me and help me to come out from all my troubles.”

By the time he reached his late twenties, Sameer found his problems had only increased. Mentally anguished and exhausted, he fell into deep depression. He hated life. As anger and suicidal thoughts consumed him, he lost the ability to sleep. Friends recommended and supplied him with mandrax tablets [originally developed for medicinal purposes but now considered dangerous and highly addictive—Ed.], crushed and mixed with dagga (marijuana) to smoke in a pipe. When that lost its ability to sedate him, he began injecting it, and drinking more and more alcohol.  Soon, he was hopelessly addicted.

hang.jpg

While drugs, alcohol, and girls helped mask the severe depression, it and the accompanying emptiness always gnawed within. As his drug tolerance grew, his life revolved around finding the next fix.

One day, his heart broken after a bad relationship, Sameer decided he’d had enough. The only way out would be suicide, he figured. He found a rope, headed for a suitable tree, and prepared to hang himself.

It ‘just happened’ that a gospel convention had gotten underway within earshot. Over the loudspeaker, he could hear a man speaking.

“Oh, for the man about to commit suicide, you don’t have to die!” What? Was he addressing him?

“Our Lord Jesus Christ died for you so you can have peace and life!” The speaker went on. “He died as a ransom for your sins and was raised from the dead to glorify you as His child. If you believe in Jesus you will be saved from sin, iniquities and find help for your problems.”

While he could hardly believe his ears, his heart seemed ready to pounce from his chest. Could it be true? He wrapped the rope around his hand and headed to the convention grounds.

When the people gathered saw, many grew fearful and close to panic. Here was a drunken, known fanatic Muslim—holding a rope at that—and joining a gathering where the one preaching, Pastor Paul of Bibles for Mideast, had converted from Islam to Christianity. Surely he must be coming to attack the preacher. When one man tried to pull Pastor Paul to safety, the evangelist instead asked the fellow with the rope to come to the platform.

Sameer approached, explained what had happened, and asked for prayers. As Pastor Paul told him more about Jesus, Sameer knelt down before the Lord.  Joining with the other pastors at the convention, the evangelist laid his hands on the young man’s head and the leaders all prayed over him.

As they did, Sameer had a strange vision. He saw himself as a helpless sheep attacked by wild animals and held among the thorns in a jungle. He felt sure his life was about to end.

Suddenly, Jesus appeared like a shepherd, saved him from the wild animals, freed him from the thorns and carried him away on His shoulder. Walking with him what seemed a long distance away, Jesus then placed him gently in a fold of sheep, safe behind a beautiful, strong fence. 

"You are my child,” He said to Sameer. “I have marked you upon my palms as your savior. Now, be my witness."

"Lord I accept you as my savior!” Sameer cried out. “I will be your witness."

Baptized within a few days, Sameer soon joined Bibles for Mideast as an evangelist. Four years later, living and working in a remote village of North India, he continues to witness to the amazing love and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,, winning many to Christ from among both the local Muslim and Hindu population.

While distributing gospel tracts six months ago, still-unknown assailants attacked him. The situation would have been much worse if some neighboring Hindus had not protected him. And his protectors all soon became Christians as well!

Most of the villagers completely accept and appreciate Sameer. In a region with scarce water and no indoor plumbing, he has been helping dig water wells as well as install toilets in their homes. He surely delights our Lord as he witnesses to God’s love and goodness in both word and deed.

Please pray for him and all the work he and Bibles for Mideast attempt to do, with God’s help, in so many restrictive and dangerous areas.

The dangers of happy children?

As persecution persists and grows in the many regions Bibles for Mideast serves, we delight in telling you stories of how the Lord’s work persists and spreads as well … often with surprising results.  

How about this dire government warning issued in a Muslim-dominated region of Africa where house church growth has been remarkable?

“If you see your child suddenly forgiving, jolly, happy, listening to you, not arguing, talking about not hating, these are the signs that they might be going to an underground church.  This is a threat to your family.”

Reported by Christian satellite TV network SAT-7’s ‘people on the ground’ in that country, the organization’s recent newsletter  goes on to detail some of the more honestly threatening conditions believers live under.  

“Church growth has been strong in my country,” an Algerian believer told them, “but recently churches have been subject to a government crackdown, with several being closed.  Every three months, our church holds a baptism, sometimes for more than 100 people.  Then the government closed our own church, along with four others.  But the more problems the church faces, the stronger they grow.”

smiling cuties3 lo.jpg

“We cannot worship regularly in any one place,” another believer explained.  “It would be too dangerous and attract attention.  We are always being watched.  We rotate where we meet and arrive at random times and through different routes.  Everyone is always vigilant.

“When the authorities find an underground church, they enter the room, take all our cell phones, all our computers- anything they can use to extract information to find others like us.  They look for links, for networks of believers, especially house church leaders. They want to know who is influencing us.  And they accuse us of working with ‘foreign enemies’ saying that we are undermining the nation.

“They demand, ‘Who is your teacher?  Where are your Bibles?  Who is your pastor?  You are illegal, propagating false and illegal teachings.  Show us your license to meet!  You are not registered!’  They use threats and intimidation. Without cause, our teachers and pastors are taken away.  They disappear for days, weeks, or are never seen again.”

Will you help us spread the Gospel and establish new churches across these countries and regions so desperate for God’s love?  Only together can we fulfill the Great Commission.

Yes, I would like to support the work of BIBLES FOR MIDEAST

____________________
* SAT-7 broadcasts in Arabic, Persian and Turkish across 25 countries in the Middle East and North Africa, along with about 50 countries in Europe.

Terrorists JOIN church after Jesus terrorizes their plan to burn it down!

Report from Bibles for Mideast and an ALG Church in the Middle East

Ibrani*, a young man born and brought up in an orthodox Muslim family in a Middle Eastern kingdom, had always strictly followed the rituals and principles of Islam. 

A sister he was close to and loved very much had become Christian two years ago through the ministry of Bibles for Mideast. Her husband and children also joined the Kingdom of Jesus, and all were baptized and became members of an ALG Church. They evangelized whenever possible and brought others to faith in Christ.

Ibrani tried his level best to bring his sister and her family back to Islam. But they would explain to him how they now knew that Jesus was not only a great prophet (as all Muslims believe), but the Living Lord and Son of the Most High God. Jesus was born to the Virgin Mary as a sinless man to take away the sins of all humanity, they told him. His crucifixion on the cross of Calvary served to take away the penalty of sin. He died and rose from the dead on the third day. Only by believing in and accepting Him as Lord and Savior could he be free and attain salvation, they assured him. They even invited him to meet their pastor and attend a worship service, letting him know where and when the church met.

Ibrani would have none of it. He became their sworn enemy and determined to free his region of the scourge of the Christians and their church. Joining up with a group of militants, he formulated a plan to attack the believers and destroy their meeting place. His father, mother, brothers and other sisters all offered him their total support.

The plot entailed pouring petrol on the church during a worship service, then setting it alight in hopes of burning the place down. They received the backing of both local and religious police—who it turns out already knew about the church, but hadn’t yet been able to determine where it met. The religious police in particular were delighted with the new information.

Ibrani and the team collected the petrol in a large container, which Ibrani kept in his own house. They planned to carry out the attack as the church met for Sunday worship last week. 

Around midnight Saturday, the men noticed a fire develop over the petrol jar, and watched in horror as it began spreading to the parts of the house near it. They screamed to waken Ibrani’s family sleeping in other rooms. All woke immediately and ran to safety.

Suddenly, to their astonishment, a man appeared from within the fire.

Jesus in fire wall heart.jpg

"I am the Lord of Heaven and Earth,” he told them with calm authority. “I dwell in the light which no one can come near.

“I am also the burning fire. I can finish you off now, for I am the author of life and death. But I didn’t come to the world to destroy, but to redeem each of you from sin and death. I died for you on the cross of Calvary, and I rose from the dead. Believe in me and follow me. You will have salvation and eternal life."

He then disappeared as quickly as he had materialized, and the burning fire subsided as well. No one doubted that the Jesus Ibrani's sister had told him about had just visited them. They prostrated themselves, foreheads to the ground, convinced now in the Truth of the message she had shared.

While the church had met for prayer and fasting on Friday, the pastor had had a revelation and three members had prophesied about a great tribulation coming to the church. The prophecies warned them to move their meeting place immediately to somewhere far away, even showing them where exactly to go. It turns out the religious police intended to arrest the pastor and church members that Sunday if  the militants’ plans failed.

Ibrani's family members and his band of (former!) militants contacted Ibrani's sister and brother-in-law the same night of their visitation. They met together with the pastor, and shared what all had happened. The pastor taught them more about Jesus and the gospel throughout the night. Everyone accepted Jesus as their personal savior and Lord.

As morning dawned, they all freshened themselves up and travelled to the new worship location for Sunday service. Once there, they openly declared their new faith in Jesus and joined in worship with the believers. The church rejoiced in the Lord for HIS amazing works.

Please pray for the new believers, the pastor and his church, all the churches in the Middle East and the entire ministry of Bibles for Mideast and the Assembly of Loving God Church as we keep marching forward with the Gospel of Love and Life.

_________________________
*
Name changed for security reasons

PRAYER NEEDED: new African church under threat from Islamic extremists

Pastor Mustafa of Bibles for Mideast oversees 37 underground Assembly of Loving God house churches all across Africa. Thousands of believers—all converts from Islam—gather every Sunday for worship services.

The new Christians face unending hardships due mainly to persecution from Muslim religious leaders and extremists. Yet, by and through the power of the Holy Spirit, their churches continue to grow.

Besides holding gospel and prayer meetings and organized fasts, members engage in personal evangelism, visiting homes in their neighbourhoods and distributing Bibles and gospel tracts.

Just last month, a new ALG church began in a Central African country under the ministry of Bibles for Mideast. Pastor Azeez* and his wife minister there. They started the church with three days prayer and fasting, holding gospel meetings each evening with Pastor Mustafa preaching. Several others, including young Lydia and Yakoobi, shared their own powerful testimonies. 

[Lydia’s remarkable 3-part story of dying and being resurrected after a forced FGM here: URGENT CALL TO PRAYER for young Christian victim of female genital mutilation; Doctors confirm death of young Lydia … BUT GOD!; Jesus and Salvation in Lydia’s West African Town.

You can read the story of Yakoobi’s dramatic conversion here: God restores and redeems: an astounding update of attack on the African church]

The Holy Spirit powerfully moved on the meetings. Nearly 200 people accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior.

The families of this province consider FGM (Female Genital Mutilation) of vital importance for girls.** Lydia shared her own experience of FGM which was forced on her by extremists (see link above). After slipping into a coma, doctors declared her dead … BUT GOD. The Lord Jesus Christ raised her from death and completely healed her.

"Because of Lord Jesus, I am living now and I cannot be silent about HIM and HIS salvation" she proclaimed to those gathered.

Her incredible testimony proved a challenge to many.  Numerous parents decided they would no longer allow FGM for their girls.

On hearing of the new church and the goings-on, the Imam of the local mosque and other leaders have made it into a huge controversy. Threatening to kill Pastor Azeez and his family unless they leave the area, they are also visiting the homes of new believers and condemning Christianity with the teachings of Islam. They wanted to forcibly perform FGM for the girls of six families, but all boldly refused.

"We now believe in Jesus as our Lord and Savior,” they told the men. “He was crucified, died and rose from the dead for our salvation. We believe He will come again in the clouds to take us to Heaven. So we do not want to go back to your barbaric customs."

Please pray for Pastor Azeez, his family, and all the believers in the new church. They have changed their worship place and times for meetings tomorrow due to safety concerns. May our almighty Savior continue to fight for, protect, and guide them.

_____________________
*
Name changed for security reasons
** While outlawed in most African countries, many governments fail to enforce laws banning the internationally condemned practice.  Even worse, six countries do not even criminalize FGM (Chad, Liberia, Mali, Sierra Leone, Somalia and Sudan).

UPDATE!
We are thanking our Lord that almost all the new church members attended a spirit-filled worship service in another secret location on Sunday. All palpably felt divinely protected. In fact, from beginning to end, they report they heard “a mighty sound like many waters outside of the house” they met in. The sound, they say, was definitely not there before they met, nor after!

Trust in Christ, not religion

By Pastor Paul, Director, Bibles for Mideast

To know and trust Christ is Christianity.
It is not an ‘ism’ of religion, but the WAY, TRUTH and LIFE …
and the only way to salvation!

Something to believe and do is religion.
Religion doesn't change hearts,
nor is concerned about lost souls.
It promotes Christ without having HIS spirit.

Religion offers the approval of men rather than Christ.
Religion makes hypocrites of us,
makes a hard life harder,
makes it easy to deceive ourselves.

Jesus died for a relationship w you best.jpg

Religion hides the key of knowledge,
and leads its converts astray.
Religion leads to fanaticism that grows violence and terrorism.
Religion is not true Christianity.

Christianity encourages all to find Peace,
It teaches love for one another and for all fellow beings.
It guides us to serve others as our Lord Jesus demonstrated
and our forefathers followed.
It makes us happy to pass it on to the generations.

Lord Jesus Christ, help us be saints rather than slaves of religion
that we may walk with You
and be proud to be called children of God
and citizens of Heaven

The vital importance of baptism

By Pastor Paul, Director, Bibles for Mideast

Our Lord's birth, baptism, crucifixion, death, resurrection and ascension—all happened for the salvation of the whole of humanity. When we accept Jesus, from that day forward we are partakers of His birth, baptism, crucifixion, death, resurrection and ascension. 

In accepting Jesus as our personal savior and Lord, we must totally reject the world, flesh and Satan. Our ‘old person’ is crucified and dead with Christ. Our dead self must then be buried with Christ, something a pastor or elder of His holy Church helps with.

Immersion in the baptismal waters by a Church leader represents our burial in Christ Jesus. When the pastor raises us out of the water, we are ‘resurrected with Christ’, new creations. From then onwards we clothe ourselves with Messiah Jesus by the Heavenly Father through the Holy Spirit. All is new. This is a Christian's birth in Jesus Christ (see:  Rom. 6:3-5Gal. 3:27Col.2:12-13;  Titus 3:6-7). 

In 2 Corinthians 5:17 we read: "So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! " This is not renovating, overpainting or whitewashing. We become absolutely new in Jesus Christ. 

In 2 Corinthians 5:17 we read: "So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! " This is not renovating, overpainting or whitewashing. We become absolutely new in Jesus Christ. 

In 2 Corinthians 5:17 we read: "So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! " This is not renovating, overpainting or whitewashing. We become absolutely new in Jesus Christ. 

baptism into Christ for site.jpg

In 2 Corinthians 5:17 we read: "So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! " This is not renovating, overpainting or whitewashing. We become absolutely new in Jesus Christ. 

There is only one God with three personalities—the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. All these personalities ‘seal’ the baptized person together in baptism. They witness the baptism and accept the ‘new creation’ as a citizen of heaven.

When Jesus underwent his own baptism by John the Baptist, the gates of heaven opened and the Holy Spirit came down and rested on him (see Luke 3:21–22 and elsewhere).

Happy, blessed and prosperous New Year to you!

The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves.  He will take great delight in you; He will quiet you with His love [making no mention of your past sins]; He will rejoice over you with singing.”  (Zeph. 3:17)

try this 2.jpg

‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’  (Jer. 29:11)

Please continue praying for us, our ministry Bibles for Mideast and the Assembly of Loving God Church, our pastors, ministers, staff, believers and all seekers, prayer partners and contributors. 

With prayers, love and Shalom
In the mighty name of Jesus
Pastor Paul (Director)
Bibles for Mideast

JESUS and His mission: visible in all Creation, through all time, and in ways still being revealed

God reveals His Son and the Truths of salvation in so many ways and means all throughout history and Creation, just one powerful example being what the prophet Isaiah recorded in Isaiah 9:6.

He also has an interesting way of hiding truths for us to discover, and here is one we recently came upon. The very names of Jacob’s sons, taken together, point to God’s plan for us. When we put the meanings of their names together, we can see the gospel ‘hidden’ there.

First, the names and their meanings:

Reuben: Behold, a son is born to us
Simeon: One who hears
Levi: Attached or joined
Judah: Praise
Dan: He judged
Naphtali: Struggling or wrestling
Gad: Good fortune, or a troop
Asher: Happiness
Issachar: Wages, reward
Zebulun: Honour
Joseph: Add or increase
Benjamin: ‘Son of my right hand’; considering Benjamin’s constant faithfulness to his father, we could interpret this ‘son of righteousness’.

Stitching the names together, we have this:

Behold, a son is born to us, one who hears us and became joined to us. Praise the Lord. He judged our struggles and brought us good fortune and fellowship, happiness, reward, honor. He added us to his family and called us sons of righteousness.

Clearly, Jesus is the scarlet thread joining all of the Bible, all of Creation, together in God’s grand redemptive story, HIStory.

_____________________
Our great thanks to Natan Lawrence, who as far as we know was the first to glean and write about this. You can read his post here: Hidden Message in the Names of the 12 Tribes.

Exciting update: entire Muslim village now Christian!

The health of Pastors Shah* and Asif*, attacked in the remote mountain village where they live and serve in Central Asia, continues to improve [original story here: Urgent prayer request: Pastors attacked and church demolished by terrorists]. We praise God for all 45 families of the village who stand with the ministers, encouraging and helping them in their recovery. The other injured individuals have almost fully recovered as well. We thank everyone who has been praying for them.

As reported two weeks ago, several local youngsters, influenced by outside extremists, had demolished the church, health clinic, sewing school and education center, all which had been set up by the pastors. Both ministers as well as a number of believers, including children, had suffered serious injuries. The young attackers’ parents and other elders in the village severely reprimanded them, and advised them to ask the pastors’ forgiveness.

The village’s medical student, home on vacation, paid the young men a visit and full of the love of Christ (with plans to become a missionary doctor), counselled them similarly. They finally agreed.

All the villagers, including the young men, then joined forces and chased the militants from their town. The former ‘temporary terrorists’ then approached the pastors and asked forgiveness for what they had done. The ministers embraced them with brotherly love and prayed for them.

The villagers have since been working hard to rebuild the tin sheet church and the health clinic, all under the leadership of the young people.

Before the attack, 27 of the village’s families counted themselves believers. The other 18 families remained Muslim, but had no complaints against either the church or their fellow villagers who became Christian. The boys who had joined with the terrorists and persecuted the church had come from those families.

To dedicate the newly-constructed church, the pastors held three days prayer and fasting in the building, from Thursday through Saturday.  Even though still weak, Pastors Shah and Asif led the services, with all the villages’ 45 families taking part! 

By the end of the three days, every single one of the those Muslims accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior. So the whole village, in an otherwise entirely Muslim-dominated region, has become Christian!

Thank you for your prayers for the Assembly of Loving God Church and Bibles for Mideast. Please pray now as we prepare for baptismal services for the new believers, as well as for all future activities of the church.

________________
* Names changed for security reasons

Hanukkah/Chanukah lights the way to Christmas

The Jewish festival Hanukkah, also known as the Feast of Dedication or the Festival of Lights, has just begun.* After the victory of the Maccabees (from the priestly line of Aaron) over the Syrian Greek army, the eight-day holiday celebrates the rededication of Jerusalem's holy temple in 164 B.C.

In 167 B.C., the Maccabees rebelled against the Syrian king Antiochus IV, who desecrated the temple in Jerusalem with an altar to the pagan god Zeus, and tried forcibly to Hellenize the Jews.

After three to four years of fighting, the Jewish zealots, led by Judah the Maccabee, miraculously experienced victory over the mighty Greek forces and defeated the evil king. They demolished the defiled old altar, built a new one, and rededicated the temple. According to the story, they could find only one vessel of sanctified oil, enough for one day of burning candles, yet it somehow lasted eight days. The menorah, or eight-branched candelabrum often associated with Hanukkah, commemorates those miraculous eight days of burning.

MENORRAH from Shutterstock.jpg

The rededication of the Temple to the God of Israel is celebrated during Hanukkah, officially established by King Hezekiah (see 2 Chron. 29:17). John’s gospel also briefly mentions the holiday: "Then came the Festival of Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter, …” (John 10:22).

The menorah lighting may well be the most familiar tradition of Hanukkah. Holding nine candles, the central light of the menorah, the shamash, is used to kindle the other eight. During the holiday, the first candle of the eight-branched lamp is lit on the first day; two candles on the second day, and so on until the eighth day when all the candles would be lit. Before the menorah is lit, celebrants often sing special blessings and then traditional songs afterward.

dreidel small pic use.jpg

It is also customary to play dreidel, a four-sided spinning top bearing the Hebrew letters nun, gimmel, hei and shin, derived from the words nes gadol hayah sham, which translates to ‘a great miracle happened there.’

Hanukkah celebrations include much feasting as well, with many Jewish households enjoying foods fried in oil, particularly potato pancakes (latkes) and jam-filled donuts (sufganiyot).. Other Hanukkah customs include exchanging gifts and rewarding children for positive behavior and devotion to Torah study throughout the year.

Hanukkah then serves as a reminder of a crucial time in history when God saved the Jewish people and their religion from being annihilated by Antiochus. The Lord remained faithful to the Jews, allowing them to defeat the powerful Greeks against all odds. 

Had the evil king succeeded, there would have been no Jewish woman named Mary to become the mother of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world. Hanukkah then celebrates a God capable of doing supernatural things, both in biblical times and right now. 

So it’s important for Christians to understand the significance of this holiday, as it prepared the way for the birth and ministry of Jesus and reminds us of God's faithfulness and power—even in the most impossible situations. 

2000 years later, the oil of the Holy Spirit has not dried up. The glow of nine candles burning together is far brighter than one. Though we may not fully understand all that God is doing, we know that one day, “All the earth will be filled with the glory of the Lord.” (Num.14:21Ps.72:19Isaiah 6:3;  Hab. 2:14

A foreshadowing of Christmas

Think of it. The menorah in the Jerusalem temple — holding, bearing the light — so aptly represents Mary, the virgin who bore Jesus. The light, then and now, stands for the Light of the world, Jesus Christ. Oil symbolizes the Holy Spirit, a recurring reference in both Old and New Testaments (i.e., 1 Sam. 16:13). The overshadowing power of the Most High God is always the miracle.

“And the angel said to her in reply, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the Holy One to be born will be called the Son of God.’ ” (Luke 1:35).

Jesus holding a candle better.jpg

The Jewish people celebrated Hanukkah about 160 years before the birth of Jesus Christ. Knowing how the Old Testament prefigures so much of the Truth in the New Testament, it seems an easy conclusion to see ‘Chanukah’ (a more traditional spelling) as a foretelling of the annual Christmas celebration. Interesting also that Chanukah starts on Kislev 25 and Christmas is on December 25. While we know the birth of Jesus Christ really didn’t happen in winter time, it still seems a divine God-incidence. And how about the fact that Hanukkah celebrations last eight days, the same length of time between Christmas and New Year’s.

Of additional and most significant note, the Hebrew word ‘shamash’ for the central candle of the menorah—the one which lights all the others—means ‘servant’. What a bright visual symbol of Jesus, whose bringing the Light of salvation to the world we celebrate annually around the very same time!

Jesus said this about himself: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).

 By Pastor Paul, Director, Bibles for Mideast (with editing and small additions by Susanna Perry-Ettel)

 _____________________

* This year Hanukkah began on the evening of December 2nd and ends at sunset on December 9th.

Bibles for Mideast and the Assembly of Loving God (ALG) pray you have a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year!    "May the eyes of our Lord be upon you from the beginning of the year to the very end of the year.” (Deut. 11:12)   If the Holy Spirit leads you to participate with our Bible Distribution Ministry or to provide our ministers with a Christmas/New Year’s blessing, please click HERE.

WE VALUE YOUR COMMENTS! Just click here or on the ‘Comment(s)’ text below. Wait a few seconds, and a barely-visible open box will appear beneath the story. Once you have typed your comment, you do not need to enter your real name or any other details, and may comment as a guest without ‘logging in’. 

Urgent prayer request: Pastors attacked and church demolished by terrorists

Report: Pastor Peter Haneef for Bibles for Mideast and the ALG Church

Bibles for Mideast has a mission field along with an ALG (Assembly of Loving God) Church in a remote mountain area of Central Asia among poor villagers. By God's grace, Pastors Shah* and Asif* work among the dozens of villages in this cold, Muslim-dominated northern area. Both men had once been enemies of the Lord Jesus as Islamic militants, but God captured them and made them mighty witnesses for Him in the mountain villages (God willing, we will tell you their testimonies another time).  

A few years ago, Pastors Shah and Asif went to share the gospel in one of the villages, where 45 families lived.  The Holy Spirit guided them to a poor family suffering many problems. The father was completely bedridden after a stroke and his wife battled cancer. Their eldest son had been imprisoned for murder; their second son went missing, presumed to have joined up with terrorists and then been killed by the army. Their eldest daughter had severe psychiatric problems and the second had committed suicide because of an illegal pregnancy and failed love affairs. Their third daughter, unmarried, helped her parents and her mentally-ill sister.

With no income and near starvation, the family decided one day to put an end to it all and commit suicide. That same day, our Lord brought our pastors to that very house. They learned the details of the family’s situation and prayed for them, and set about making sure they would have daily food. 

Both parents felt some relief after the prayers. They invited the pastors to stay with them, and so began their ministry in the area.

For the next three days, the men prayed and fasted for the household and the whole village. Soon, the father found he was able to stand up! The mother’s cancer vanished and the elder sister recovered her ‘right mind’. All then joined with the pastors as they prayed and fasted, and each readily accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Slowly the ministers became a solid part of the family.

A few months later, Pastor Shah and the elder girl—the one who had been mentally ill—became husband and wife.  He had prayed for wisdom and direction and felt the Father’s release for the marriage. Pastor Asif blessed their union in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. 

As time went on, our pastors developed good relationships with the other families in the village. All thought highly of them because of the miraculous healings and their loving service to the family and friendliness with the villagers. 

They opened a village school for the children and began teaching them Bible stories. They then started educating illiterate adults and set up a sewing school in the village for young women.. Soon they started a prayer fellowship and invited the villagers to attend services, which most did. Many experienced miracles through those prayers.

Pastor Asif felt led of the Lord to ask the youngest daughter’s hand in marriage, so both couples live together with the parents. Having two children each, it became a full and happy home.

Every evening, villagers gather together at one of the houses and have a prayer service under the leadership of the pastors. They sing songs, have a Bible class, meditate on the Word of God and join in intercession. In this way, 27 families accepted the Lord Jesus and a new ALG Church was born. They built a tin shed to meet in, and set aside part of the shed for a medical clinic. The villagers who did not accept Jesus still silently approved the believers since they received so much help from the pastors.

Two nurses serve at the clinic and a doctor comes from hundreds of miles away and stay three days a month to treat and check up on patients. The church pays the physician's expenses and a small allowance to the nurses, while patients receive free care.

One of the new believer's daughters, a brilliant student, scored high marks in school. She had a desire to study medicine, but neither her family nor the church could fund her. So the headquarters of Bibles for Mideast decided to sponsor her studies, and sent her to another country to study. Now a second-year medical student, her hope is to serve in her village as a missionary doctor and win more souls for Christ. She is the first person to study medicine not only from that village, but from the whole region.

Everything seemed to be progressing smoothly.  But the people of neighboring villages didn’t like any of the activities of the pastors and the church, so began persecuting them. A group of fundamentalists came from one of the towns to visit the villagers in an attempt to convince them to obey Islamic law and refute Jesus. A few youngsters joined with them and began threatening the families of the pastors and other believers.  All, however, stood strong in their faith.

Recently (Nov. 25), the young villagers who had been influenced by the outside extremists decided to attack while the new Christians met for Sunday worship. They completely destroyed the meeting house and clinic, as well as the sewing school and education center. Both pastors and several believers, including children, suffered serious injuries.

The situation is now extremely dire. They have no way to get the injured to a hospital, since the nearest one is more than a hundred miles away and they have no vehicles at all. The doctor has not visited for over a month due to threats from the militants. The nurses are doing what they can to treat and care for the wounded.

We request your urgent prayers for them. Our Lord alone can help and protect them by the prayers of the children of God.

 ____________________
* names changed for security reasons

EXCITING UPDATE: entire village now Christian!

Isn't it strange?

Isn't it strange that you can't find a word to say when praying,
but have no trouble thinking what to talk about with a friend?

Isn't it strange how difficult and boring it is to read a chapter of the Bible,
but how easy it is to read 100 pages of a popular novel?

Isn't it strange how everyone wants front-row tickets to concerts or games,
but then do whatever possible to be in the last row in church?

Isn't it strange how two hours seem so long when you're at church,
and how short they seem when you're watching a good movie?

Isn't it strange how we need to know about an event for church
two to three weeks before the day so we can include it in our agenda,
but we can adjust it for other events at the last minute?

Isn't it strange how a hundred dollars seems like
such a large amount when you donate it to the church or for spreading the word of God,
but such a small amount when you go shopping?

scale with marks use.jpg

Isn't it strange how difficult it is to learn a fact about God to share it with others,
but how easy it is to learn, understand, extend and repeat gossip?

Isn't it strange how we believe everything magazines and newspapers say,
but question the words in the Bible?

Isn't it strange how we send jokes on social media and they are forwarded right away,
but when we are going to send messages about God,
we think twice before sharing with others?

Isn't it strange how everyone wants a place in heaven,
but they don't want to believe, do, or say anything to get there?

Pastor Paul of Bibles for Mideast

Memorize Bible’s contents to strengthen yourself in the Lord

By Pastor Paul, Director, Bibles for Mideast

In GENESIS the world was made by God's creative Hand;
In EXODUS the Hebrews march to gain the promised land.
LEVITICUS contains the Law, holy, just and good;
NUMBERS records the tribes enrolled, all sons of Abraham's blood;
Moses in DEUTERONOMY records God's mighty deeds.

In JOSHUA their rebellion oft provokes the Lord to smite;
JUDGES did what was right; but RUTH records the faith.
In 1st and 2nd SAMUEL, of Jesse's son we read;
Ten tribes of 1st and 2nd KINGS revolted from his seed.

In 1st and 2nd CHRONICLES, we see Judah captive made;
But EZRA leads the remnant back by princely Cyrus' aid.
The city walls of Zion NEHEMIAH builds again;
While ESTHER saves her people from the plot of wicked men.

In JOB we read how faith will live beneath affliction’s rod;
And David's PSALMS are precious songs to every child of God.
The PROVERBS like a goodly string of choicest pearls appear;
ECCLESIASTES teaches men how vain are all things here.

The SONG OF SOLOMON exalts sweet Sharon's lovely rose;
While Christ the Savior and the King the rapt ISAIAH shows.
The foreboding JEREMIAH apostate Israel warns;
His plaintive LAMENTATIONS their awful downfall mourns.

EZEKIEL tells in wondrous words the Kingdom's mysteries;
While God's great Kingdom yet to come, DANIEL in vision sees.
Of judgment and of mercy HOSEA loves to tell;
JOEL describes the blessed days when God with man will dwell.

Among Tekoa's herdsmen, AMOS received his call;
And OBEDIAH prophesies of Edom's final fall.
JONAH enshrines a wondrous type of Christ, our risen Lord;
MICAH pronounces Judah lost—lost, but to be restored.

NAHUM declares on Nineveh just judgment shall be poured
When Christ our risen Savior shall come to be adored.
A view of Chaldea’s coming doom HABAKKUK's vision gives;
While ZEPHANIAH warns the Jews to turn, repent and live.

flaming bible w borders med.jpg

HAGGAI wrote to those who saw the temple built again; 
ZACHARIAH prophesies of Christ's triumphant reign.
MALACHI was the last to touch that high prophetic code,
His final notes sublimely show the coming of the Lord. 

MATTHEW, MARK, LUKE and JOHN the Gospel story give;
Describing how the Savior was born and died that man may live.
ACTS tell how well the Apostles preached with signs in every place;
And Paul in ROMANS proves that man is saved through faith by grace.

CORINTHIANS 1 and 2 instructs, exhorts, reproves;
GALATIANS proves that faith in Christ alone the Father approves.
EPHESIANS and PHILIPPIANS tell what Christians ought to be;
COLOSSIANS bids us live for God and from all sin be free.

In 1st and 2nd THESSALONIANS, the Lord will come from heaven;
In 1st and 2nd TIMOTHY and TITUS, a shepherd's rule is given.
PHILEMON marks a brother's love as only brethren know;
HEBREWS reveals Christ's priestly works prefigured long ago. 

JAMES teaches that without holiness, faith is but vain and dead;
1st and 2nd PETER point the narrow way the saints are led.
JOHN in his three Epistles on love delights to dwell;
But JUDE gives warning terrible of those once who fell.

The REVELATION prophesies that tremendous day,
When all the kingdoms of the earth with noise shall pass away;
God comes down with His tabernacle, forever to be with us,
And we will be His people: 'Even so come, Lord Jesus.'

What are you looking for?

They were looking for their temporal needs to be met,
He came to meet their eternal need,
and they missed Him

They were looking for a lion,
He came as a Lamb;
They were looking for a warrior,

He came as a Peacemaker;
They were looking for a king,
He came as a Servant;
They were looking for liberation from Rome,
He submitted to the Roman stake;
They were looking for a fit to their mold,
He was the mold maker,
and they totally missed Him.

heart q road sign even lower.jpg

What are you looking for?
Lion? Warrior? King? Liberator?

He came as a Lamb
to be sacrificed for your sin;
to make peace between God and man;
to model servanthood for all humanity;
to give you eternal life.
Will you miss Him?

When we submit to the Lamb,
we will meet the Lion;
join with the Peacemaker,
we will meet the Warrior;
work with the Servant,
we will meet the King;
walk with the Submitted,
we will meet the Liberator.

Concern ourselves with the eternal,
and we will have the temporal.
If Jesus is not fitting into the mold you have,
then come to the mold maker and get a new one.

Submit to His plan for your life
and you will see the eternal need met first;
then all the other things you have need of
will be taken care of as well.

With prayers, love and Shalom
In Jesus,
Pastor Paul (Director), Bibles for Mideast