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.

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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.

Hindu sorcerer turns to Christ and now lives for Him

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

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

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

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

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

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

Venkatesan receives Bibles for further distribution

Venkatesan receives Bibles for further distribution

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

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

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

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

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

Report: Bibles for Mideast

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

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

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

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

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

Kunjukunju with Bibles for distribution

Kunjukunju with Bibles for distribution

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Arab Muslim hears Jesus' voice and accepts Him!

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“I know Jesus loves me and was crucified for me to give me eternal life. 
So I too love Him and accepted Him as my personal savior and Lord.”
—new Arab Christian, Al-Thoufeeqi*

Al-Thoufeeqi*, 26, was born into and brought up in an Arab Muslim family of the Middle East. He shared his testimony in an underground church of Bibles for Mideast during a recent time of prayer and fasting. 

 “I was a strong Muslim, part of a strong Muslim family. I practiced Islam faithfully, doing Namaz [prayer and worship five times a day—Ed.], reading the Qur’an, fasting during the month of Ramadan, giving Zakat [compulsory giving of a set proportion of one's wealth to charity—Ed.], and I went to Mecca for the Hajj. But none of these increased my spirituality, or gave joy or peace to my inner being.

"Though I believed I was practicing Islam correctly, I also drank alcohol with my friends, smoked cigarettes, and had illicit relationships with women. Let me say frankly that many of my friends (even older people) in the Middle East and Africa do the same.

"But this made me disappointed. I felt ugly and full of sin. Also I felt all the world is heavy with sin and corruption. I became depressed.

"Once, while driving my car, I happened to see a Christian channel on my car TV. I heard a pastor talking about Jesus as the Lord and Savior. I had known Christ to be a prophet and a good man [as all Muslims believe—Ed.], so I thought the pastor was preaching the wrong message and leading people astray. This made me really angry.

"But it also led me into deep thought. While I believed I was doing my best for God, there was no relationship between Him and me. I started feeling there must be something wrong in it all.

"So I tried to listen to the Gospel whenever I could. And one thing that really struck me was that God wanted to be my friend and is interested in the details of my daily life, just like a father and his son. I became eager to get a Bible. Then the Lord Jesus miraculously led a team of Bibles for Mideast to me and they gave me one!

"‘Please God,’ I prayed,  ‘just show me which way is true, the Qur’an or the Bible.’

“Something unusual happened that night.

“I went to sleep and I heard a voice wake me up and call my name. ‘I'm coming back soon. Go and tell others,’ the voice said.

“I woke up and looked around. No one was in the room, so I went to sleep again. The same thing happened three times that night. The last time I heard a huge voice, shaking the room, and I woke up. I was scared and felt for the first time the presence of the Lord on me. It was very majestic and fearful, yet very sacred and solemn. I saw a huge light in the room, which I couldn't look at, and the voice told me again, ‘I am Jesus.  I'm coming back soon for my Bride; go and tell others.’

“When I accepted that, I said, ‘Amen.’  Because of that meeting with the real, living God, my life changed once and for all. I became someone else. I found in my heart joy, peace, and extraordinary love for people. Everything changed.”

Ibrahim Abdullah, a former Muslim of West Africa, tells his own conversion experience, similar to Al-Thoufeeqi’s. Please pray for both men and the work they do for the Kingdom of Christ.

Emad Al-Abdy, a Muslim in Saudi Arabia, converted to Christianity. Kuwaiti royal prince Abdullah al Saba declared his faith in Jesus Christ. Thousands upon thousands now believe in Jesus Christ throughout the Middle East and are thirsty for the Word of God. Al-Thoufeeqi is now an active evangelist with Bibles for Mideast.

We are a mostly underground ministry with many volunteer evangelists and pastors, distributing Bibles and establishing house churches in the Middle East and surrounding areas. We pray to our Lord to supply enough Bibles. If you feel led to support our work,  please click here: BLESSING Bibles for Mideast. Most importantly, we appreciate your prayer support!

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*Name changed for security reasons

Dead Imam comes alive during burial preparations; a year and a half later, he heads up a newborn church!

Report: Bibles for Mideast

Munaf Ali*, 46, had served faithfully as Imam and preacher at his Middle Eastern mosque for years. On one fateful day in March of 2016, the Bibles for Mideast gospel team decided to pay him a visit. As they chatted, the topic of Jesus and the Bible naturally came up. The imam heatedly denied both the divinity of Christ and the credibility of the Christian Bible. He angrily rejected their offer of a sample gospel and proceeded to curse the missionaries.

He then formulated a plan of assault. Gathering a mob of fanatics, he led them in an effort to attack the gospel team. With shouts of ‘Allahu Akbar’ (Arabic for ‘Allah is Greater’—Ed.], they arrived at the site they’d heard the group met at. Fortunately, by God’s leading, the team had decided to meet elsewhere.

A few days later, the imam was on his way back to his home after the Friday afternoon Juma Namaz (ritual prayers) at the mosque. Suddenly overcome by faintness, he fell to the ground. As he slipped into unconsciousness, he witnessed demons arriving on the scene—intent, he says, on taking his soul.

“Get lost, you cursed demons of Allah!” he yelled at them as best he could. “You have no right to take my soul!” 

“No,” they responded. "It is our right to take your life.” He says they then forcefully “took his soul.”

As the demons turned to leave, Jesus himself suddenly appeared, Munaf reports, flanked by a vast array of angels. The demons fled in terror.

"Listen, my son," Jesus said to Munaf. "The first Adam disobeyed God and sinned against Him under the pressure of Satan. The gates of heaven were shut down because of his sin.

“I am the second Adam, the Word of God and Messiah Jesus, Son of the Most High. I was born of the Virgin Mary as a sinless Son of Man to redeem the first Adam and all of his descendants—including you—from sin and death. I was crucified and died as a ransom for all for your sins, to make you a child of God and citizen of heaven."

"I rose from the dead and opened the gates of heaven to bring you to eternal glory. Have faith in me and be my witness. I give you your life back, for I have the authority to give life."

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When Munaf opened his eyes, he became aware of his sons and other close relatives laying out his body on a table, preparing to wash and cover it for burial. A huge crowd attended the washing and shrouding ceremony, an Islamic necessity before burial.

All were absolutely astonished as he suddenly got up from the washing table.

He tried to explain to them what he had just experienced. He’d been dead, he said, and demons had done their best to try to take his soul. But Messiah Jesus had come and given him his life back!

Most of those listening thought he’d lost his sanity. Surely he’d hit his head on a stone while he’d fallen. Others wondered whether evil spirits now possessed him.

In the days that followed, Munaf talked about Jesus to his family and to anyone who visited him. His family members believed what he said and accepted Jesus as their savior and Lord. But the community insisted he needed psychiatric help, and dismissed him from the mosque.

As persecution against him and his family increased, they were forced to leave their home and country.

But God! Munaf went on to be a powerful evangelist working alongside Bibles for Mideast, winning many to the Lord. Two of his children now study the word of God. Just last week a new ALG house church was established under his leadership, holding their very first worship service on Sunday.

Please pray for Munaf Ali, his family, and the new church; that our Lord would continue to protect, guide and provide for them as they work to further God's Kingdom in areas hostile to the Gospel.

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*name changed for security reasons

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

Report: Susanna Perry-Ettel

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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 or support the ministry in any way, please use the form here

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.

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.

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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.

Jesus holding man painting.jpg

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!

Gospel workers miraculously rescued from killer earthquake

Report: Pastor John 

I am Pastor John, leading a gospel team of Bibles for Mideast in South Asia, and have worked many years with Pastor Paul’s mission. I led a gospel team in Gandhidham, in the state of Gujarat in North India.

At 8:46 a.m. on January 26, 2001, a magnitude 9 earthquake lasting over two minutes shook Gujarat while citizens celebrated the 52nd Republic Day of India. It was one of the deadliest earthquakes in our country’s history. Around 20,000 people died, including 9110 women and 7065 children aged newborn to 14. The quake created 348 orphans and 826 widows.  170,000 were injured and more than one million left homeless. Many historical buildings were flattened.

The earthquake’s epicenter was 20 kilometers from Bhuj, a city in the region known as Kutch—the worst affected district. Several villages disappeared from the map completely. Many buildings fell like playing cards, and property damage totaled nearly $8 billion.

Ghandhidham is an important commercial city of Kutch District, 10 kilometers from India’s largest sea port, Kandla Port, and 40  kilometers from Bhuj, a city 90% destroyed by the earthquake. Kutch region alone reported more than 17,000 deaths. Close to 5,000 people died in the city of Gandhidham.

On that fateful day, we were about to begin a three-day missionary conference in a hotel in Ghandhidham.  Thirty-five pastors had travelled from different parts of India to take part, and had rooms on several floors of the five-story hotel. I decided to stay in my own house just a kilometer away since I did not want my wife and young children to be home alone.

The conference was supposed to start at 9.00 in the morning on the hotel’s third floor. I reached there, along with three of our gospel team members, by 8.30. We began arranging the conference hall for the meeting.

Suddenly, we heard a terrible sound from the ground floor. Thinking at first that hotel staff had started the generator, we were then startled as the building began to shake violently, like a pendulum. The noise almost deafened us, and it was impossible to even move a step in any direction.

I was thrown to the platform five meters away. The side wall of the conference room caved in, piercing through the slab of the next floor. Air conditioners and fans were tossed about, and tables, chairs and cupboards turned upside down. Within seconds, the hall filled with sand, dust and smoke.

I could not see my friends, or anything else around me. Before I could understand anything or even think of escape, I felt the whole building sink downward. I shouted to my friends and others who were in the hall to get out immediately. My ears and nose were covered with sand and dust and I could barely breathe. Coughing, I headed for the door and tried my level best to open it. It wouldn’t budge. So I cried out to the Lord Jesus.

“Jesus, you alone are our protector and you are able to save us!  Save us Lord!” I cried out "JESUS"again and again.

I then felt the presence of Jesus in the room, and felt His loving touch on my shoulder. Amazingly, I stopped coughing and was able to breathe again without trouble.  Looking  around,  I could see my friends were still suffocating.

By God’s infinite grace, all conference participants from every floor managed to get out safely. While the hotel’s walls and roof had collapsed, the floors had not given way. Sadly however, three hotel workers died. But in a hotel next to us, 24 were killed.  Certainly it was because of our Lord’s protection towards His children that we all escaped.

Outside, we heard screaming and saw dead bodies of both people and animals everywhere. Most buildings around were completely destroyed. Those who had escaped were running for their lives.

I of course had no idea what might have happened to my wife and children. I ran as quickly as possible towards our house, and along with my friends, called for the help of our Lord. When I saw my family standing outside of the house, I could do nothing but praise and thank God. Only our house windows and doors had been broken.  While many nearby homes had been destroyed and scores of people lost their lives, miraculously all of our gospel team members survived.

We began relief work immediately. Pastor Paul, the director of our ministry, somehow managed to reach us and joined in the aid efforts. With God’s help, we saved hundreds of people from the devastated buildings.

Narendra Modi visiting affected areas

Narendra Modi visiting affected areas

We must also mention the tremendous service offered by Mr. Narendra Modi, then Chief Minister of Gujarat (and India’s current Prime Minister). He led relief efforts over the region, visiting affected areas by hitching rides on people's motorbikes, or using any available mode of transport. Pastor Paul and myself met him during his visit.

While all conference participants were safe, they did lose everything they had brought with them. They also, with great difficulty, managed to return to their homes. No water, no electricity, no restaurants, no hospitals, radio or television— everything was in disarray. Eighty percent of all water and food sources had been destroyed. One man took more than 10 days to get back to his place, a journey normally 40 hours by train. Along the way he had to borrow what he could, including warm clothes, to survive.

One of our mission supporters, trapped beneath his collapsed home, felt the Lord protecting him under His wings. Relief workers finally found and rescued him three days later. Thirty-five hours after the quake, rescuers also found and rescued a small girl less than a year old trapped beneath a neighboring home.

Later I moved to another region and continue my involvement with the underground ministries of Bibles for Mideast, distributing bibles and planting house churches.

The righteous person may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all” (Psalm 34:19).

Murderous fanatic rescued from suicide attempt, his son healed of cancer, and all meet Jesus

Ismail* (50), a fanatic Muslim in South Asia, never liked Christianity. He seized every opportunity to thwart evangelical activities, quarreled constantly with Christian leaders, and even stoned those preaching the gospel at roadside meetings.

Ismail’s motorized rickshaw provided his livelihood, but one day in 2006 he decided to use it to take the life of Pastor Paul of Bibles for Mideast, ramming into him on the street. As the mission leader lay in hospital, other fanatics threatened his family at home. Fortunately all family members survived (that story in Christianity Today India hereand another at the Voice of the Martyrs website here).

Standing in the ruins of the church

Standing in the ruins of the church

In late 2008, the same man led a mob of extremists in an attack on one of the house churches established by Pastor Paul. While its leader narrowly escaped with his life, his church was completely demolished (Worthy Network News story here).

Ismail and his wife had only one child, Afsal* (15). They had waited years to have the boy, now a local high school student.

For months Asfal had been in hospital undergoing treatments following surgery to remove a brain tumor. To afford his son's care, Ismail had been forced to sell his rickshaw, his home, and then to borrow from whomever he could. His anguish grew.

“Several days ago, his blood count dropped suddenly,” Dr. A.K., the oncologist, explained. He could present only one diagnosis:  leukemia.

Ismail and his wife plunged even deeper in despair. They found themselves utterly unable to cope with either the trauma of their dying son, or their spiraling debt.

Without telling anyone, before dawn one morning the couple and their boyleft the hospital and headed for a nearby beach. Then, tying one of each of their hands to their son’s, they walked out into the depths of the ocean.

Several Christian fishermen had decided to try for an early-morning catch that same day. In the low light of daybreak, they noticed rather odd behavior in some sea-gulls overhead. The birds would approach their boat, make unusual sounds, and then fly back to sea. Gazing along the flight path, the men suddenly became aware of three people sinking beneath the waves in the distance.

“O Lord Jesus!” one cried. They rushed to rescue the three, calling on the Lord for continued help. As they pulled the family into the boat, blood trickled from the victims' mouths and nostrils and a strong smell of poison filled the air. In their determination to end their lives, the family had obviously ingested poison before heading into the sea.

The fishermen immediately brought them to the nearest hospital. Emergency physicians managed to revive the couple, but hemorrhaging had wrought the boy comatose. Doctors determined he was near death.

That same evening, the Lord revealed the whole story to Pastor Paul in a vision—even showing the couple's broken, contrite hearts. So he gathered a prayer team and visited them in the hospital. The doctor, himself a dedicated Christian, allowed them to pray for Afsal and joined in the prayers. Pastor Paul shared his heart with Ismail and his wife. He told of his conversion from Islam to Christianity, and of his own miraculous healing from leukemia. He shared the bible story of the four people who brought a sick man to Jesus by ripping open a roof and lowering him before the Lord.

“Jesus healed that man because of his friends’ faith,” Pastor Paul explained to the couple. “He rose from his bed and walked.  If you personally believe Jesus Christ is your Lord and Savior, He is able to heal your son Afsal and bring him back to life. It is only because of the Lord you were prevented from committing suicide.”  He further explained to them the way of salvation.

“We had lost all our hope and only wanted to die,” Ismail explained. “This is our second birth! I know it is the Lord Jesus who captured me through trials and hardships. I confess all my sins which I have done against Him, and His people. I repent before Him. And I really want to have a new live in Jesus, along with my son and wife. I believe in Jesus Christ and I accept Him as my Lord and savior.”

His wife also declared Jesus Christ to be her personal savior and Lord.

The prayer team, doctor and couple all joined hands around Afsal’s bed, rejoicing and praising the Lord. They sang a song of healing as Pastor prayed for the boy. At the end of the prayer, to everyone’s astonishment, Afsal opened his eyes.

“The Lord Jesus Christ came to me!” the boy soon explained. “He smiled at me, and put both of His nail-pierced hands to my head and chest. I felt new blood flowing from my heart to my veins, like electricity!” He got out of bed and stood up.  He too declared Lord Jesus as his savior. All continued rejoicing in thankful amazement at the miraculous healing.

Pastor Paul gave the family bibles. With new-found respect and reverence, they kissed the bibles and held them closely to their chests.

Doctors examined the boy thoroughly and declared him to be completely and miraculously healed.

To help protect the family, Bibles for Mideast has rented a small house for them away from their former neighborhood. They rejoice in their new faith. Please pray for God’s protection and provision for His precious new family members.

"Jesus is the loving Lord," Pastor Paul reminds us. "He loves us and sacrificed for us when we were His enemies. He wants us to love one another. Through His love we can have reconciliation with everyone. Only by His love, the world can attain peace and salvation." [Romans 5:8; Eph. 2:14-18]

He also finds the following scriptures apropos to the story:

“Send your resources out over the seas; eventually you will reap a return.” (Eccl 11:1) .

Jesus told them: ‘I saw Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightning. I have given you the power to trample on snakes and scorpions and to defeat the power of your enemy Satan. Nothing can harm you. But don’t be happy because evil spirits obey you. Be happy that your names are written in heaven!’ ” (Luke 10:18-20)

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*Names changed for security reasons

Jesus and Salvation in Lydia’s West African Town 

Feb. 13, '17: Update on the story of Lydia*

Some of the radical Muslims involved in performing the female genital mutilation (FGM) of 14-year-old Lydia came to her house Saturday evening pleading for forgiveness. They implored her father Yoonus (a missionary with Bibles for Mideast) to pray for their peace of mind, and for their inner and outer healing.  [Earlier related stories here:  URGENT CALL TO PRAYER for young Christian victim of female genital mutilation and Doctors Confirm Death  of Young Lydia … BUT GOD!]

The visitors explained that for the last three days and nights, all of the women who had been involved in the procedure seemed to have gone mad. Some shrieked that they saw blood everywhere, even when sitting alone. Attempting to prepare meals, they would scream, again seeing blood, and throw the food out. Given water, they would do the same. Knives in hand, some were approaching children, explaining the youngsters' need for circumcision, and promising to do it carefully this time.

The visitors had become convinced God’s anger was at the source of the trouble in their homes. So they invited the imam of the local mosque to come to their houses and pray for healing (shifa). Part of the ritual involves the sprinkling of water that the imam has breathed on. When one of the women responded by knocking him over, he decided he’d had enough.

The men were faring no better, suffering nightmares, lack of sleep, and extreme anxiety. When they finally decided they must visit Lydia and Yoonus to ask their forgiveness, the imam and community leaders advised against it. In desperation, the men went anyway.

Fear gripped Yoonus’ household as they saw the group approaching their home. It looked like only more trouble. But the gentle humility of the visitors quickly disarmed them. They listened as the men described the chaos in their homes and begged for forgiveness.

Yoonus explained that forgiveness from God alone would heal their hearts and homes. They must confess their sins before Him, turn to the Lord Jesus who died for those sins, and then God would forgive and save them. He shared how the Lord Jesus Christ was born and lived as a holy and sinless man, but took all our sins as His own and suffered and was crucified on the cross of Calvary because of those sins. He then rose from the dead, and so redeemed humanity from sin and death.

“You will be saved and you will also be healed if you accept Him as your saviour and Lord,” he boldly told them.

They listened quietly and intently as he told his own story of coming to Christ. They then readily confessed their sins before Jesus and accepted Him as saviour and Lord.

Lydia also shared her remarkable experience of healing with them.

At that point, Yoonus and Lydia prayed for the men.  All heard the tones of a turtle dove, and felt a gentle breeze blow over them, as Lydia prayed.

After some tea served by Lydia's mother, the company left peacefully. Upon arrival at their homes, they marvelled that their wives had become completely normal, greeting them happily. By God’s grace, each hadhad been freed from the torment. Members of all the affected families together praised and thanked the Lord Jesus.

But the imam and the community aren’t pleased with this. Please pray for the Lord’s mighty protection over the new believers.

Doctors confirm death of young Lydia … BUT GOD!

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Doctors this morning (West Africa time) confirmed the death of Lydia (14), the daughter of Yoonus, a Christian missionary with Bibles for Mideast in Africa. She had been in a coma for six days after being brutally subjected to female genital mutilation (FGM) by Muslim radicals on her way home from school  last week (see original story here). Brother Yoonus immediately contacted Pastor Paul Ciniraj, Director of Bibles for Mideast and Patron of the Assembly of Loving God.

An hour after Lydia’s death, workers removed her body from her hospital room. Her parents, brothers, sisters and other believers surrounded her, sobbing at the tragic loss of their beloved. Doctors, nurses and other hospital staff arrived to have a last look at young Lydia’s lifeless body, now draped in a white cloth.

Suddenly, someone noticed the fabric shaking. Could it be wind blowing in from outdoors? The trembling intensified, but now, clearly, the movement came from beneath the cloth.

Then, just as suddenly, Lydia herself threw off the white covering and stood from the bed. “Mummy, our Lord Jesus, our Lord and God Jesus Christ!” she exclaimed joyously.

“Ghost! Ghost!” someone screamed. A nurse and another hospital worker fainted to the floor. All, including the family, backed away in terror, believing a ghost had appeared.

“Mummy, I’m Lydia ... not a ghost,” Lydia reassured her mother. “I’m alive!  Jesus gave me my life back, and healed me! See, He’s just disappearing there on the clouds!” She pointed her finger towards the sky.

Her overjoyed mother embraced and kissed her repeatedly, praising the Lord Jesus. The rest of the family joined in, as the believers gathered round them sang and clapped ecstatically. Some even danced.

While hospital protocol forbad such rambunctious behaviour, no one dared utter a word … let alone of complaint. Amazed, the staff around the family simply had no idea what to do or say.

So Lydia continued with her story.

“My soul left my body and I was dead. Angels came to receive me to heaven. But Jesus appeared before me and said, ‘I cannot turn back from the prayers of my children. My eyes are upon my children and ears are open to their prayer. So I give you your life back, for the issues of death belong to me. You go,  and be my witness.’ Then he put his face right against and right into mine. He breathed into my nostrils, and my soul went in. Then he moved his nail-scarred hands over my body and healed me completely!”

Yoonus and his family, as well as Bibles for Mideast and the Assembly of Loving God Church thank each and every one of you who prayed for Lydia. Please keep the ministries in Africa, Asia and Middle East in your prayers always.

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Update on this story:  Jesus and Salvation in Lydia’s West African Town

URGENT CALL TO PRAYER for young Christian victim of female genital mutilation

Please pray for Lydia*, the 14-year-old daughter of Yoonus*, a missionary with Bibles for Mideast. Fanatic Muslim men and women captured Lydia as she walked home from school in western Africa, dragged her to a nearby home and subjected her to brutal female genital mutilation.  Now in a coma in hospital, Lydia struggles for life.

Yoonus, originally from another part of Africa, had been a Muslim scholar. One day while teaching his Muslim students, he had a vision of the Lord Jesus Christ and soon accepted Him as Lord and Saviour. His family followed him into the Kingdom.  Due to severe persecution in their native village, however, the entire family had to flee to their current home.

Yoonus has laboured hard to earn a livelihood, do underground evangelism among the locals, and to pray without ceasing.

The local Muslim community recently learned he had left Islam and was now leading Muslims to Christ. The Imam of the mosque, along with community leaders, urged him to return to Islam. They promised many gifts and services to his family should he renounce his new faith, but he stood fearlessly for Christ and refused.

Lydia also boldly proclaimed Jesus as the Son of God, the only Lord and Saviour for the entire world. She loved to speak of how He died on the cross of Calvary and rose from the dead to save everyone from sin and death.

This provoked them intensely, and resulted in their horrendous abuse of her. In their minds and according to Muslim tradition, every young woman must undergo female circumcision.

After the mutilation, they left her alone and with no further treatment. She lost copious amounts of blood and screamed in agony.  A local secret believer fortunately heard her screams, and took her to hospital. By the time she arrived she was in a life-threatening coma. Doctors will have a further report within 48 hours.

Please pray for Yoonus, her family, the believers there, and the medical staff looking after her.

*names changed for security reasons.

UPDATE Feb. 6, 2017:  Lydia is still in coma. Doctors have given up hope, but believers continue to pray and fast day and night. Please join with them. Thousands die every year in Africa alone in this savage tradition of FGM (female genital mutilation). Pray for an end to the savagery. 
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Exciting updates on this story:  Doctors confirm death of young Lydia … BUT GOD! and  
Jesus and Salvation in Lydia’s West African Town

Bibles for Mideast forms Assembly of Loving God (ALG) Church

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The Christian missionary movement of the Middle East, Asia and Africa, Bibles for Mideast, has gathered its many underground house churches under one banner to form the Assembly of Loving God (ALG) Church. For now at least, it will continue to operate as an 'underground' church. The ministry has so far registered 176 underground house churches in the region, 103 in the Middle East alone.

A 12-member governing committee (representing Asian, African and Middle Eastern populations) has been formed as the ALG administration for the next three years. Pastor Paul will serve as Patron of the committee. Pastor Peter Haneef as President,  Pastor Steve Chandran as Vice President, Pastor James Irshad as General Secretary, Pastor John Divakar as Associate Secretary, Pastor Sam Habel as Treasurer and Mary Ramza and Elsa Queen as secretaries (all names pseudonymous except for first names).

The ALG Church will operate independently. Being inexperienced in their new positions, committee members unanimously requested the director of Bibles for Mideast to control all major decisions and ministries for at least the first year (until they are able to more independently lead the church and ministry).

Bibles for Mideast is not a church, but a missionary movement working tirelessly to spread the gospel to Muslims and other unreached people groups, distribute bibles free of cost, engage in evangelistic outreach and establish underground house churches. Once established, house churches come under the banner of the ALG Church.

May our most high God bless them and protect them under His mighty wings. And may our Lord Jesus Christ keep them in his nail-scarred hands and grant them wisdom and courage to lead and feed his precious lambs with love, humility and shalom by the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Amen!

Muslim prison officer dreams of Jesus' Glory and pastors wonderfully released

Our Lord Jesus Christ has wonderfully protected and released the recently-imprisoned pastors and believers from Bibles for Mideast. As reported last week, Pastors Irshad and Munvar, along with Farooq and Riyas (names changed for their protection) had been imprisoned in a secret jail in the Middle East (Bibles for Mideast Pastors brutally beaten, arrested and thrown in jail).  We praise and thank God for those fasting and praying for their release.

Police had forcibly entered the pastors’ room last week while they were praying and teaching a Bible class to new believers. The men, formerly local Muslims, had been attending worship services in the underground house church for the previous two months and were preparing for baptism.  After brutally beating them, police arrested and took the men to the local Shariah court.

Pastor Irshad describes below what happened in jail, and afterwards:

Police brought us to the religious (Shariah) court. We were accused of blasphemy charges against the prophet, as well as misguiding Muslims into a false religion. The court ordered we be imprisoned, and we were taken to a secret jail run by secret police.

We had a difficult first few days in prison. The jail wardens brutally beat and persecuted us. They tied our hands up through the hole of a steel bar which forced us into a bent position while they beat us. They served each of us only one Kubboos (local bread) each day. We never thought we’d ever get out alive.

We asked our Lord: “Where are You? Why won’t You come and save us?” We prayed, “If we have done any sin and iniquities, forgive us and purify us by your precious blood and save us from this situation.” And we repeated continuously, THE BLOOD OF JESUS IS OUR VICTORY!  We imagined the sufferings of our Lord, and it brought us comfort and peace.

On the third day, a top-ranking officer of the jails visited us. A tall, stout official, he asked the wardens to untie our hands. But we were unable to stand erect. The officer himself massaged our back with some lotion until we could raise ourselves up. He ordered the wardens to give us liberal servings of good food, and then disappeared into an office. We were sure our lives were about to end, and that his seemingly kind treatment was only a prelude to that.

He came back to us at night, alone this time, and sat down on the floor beside us (not an easy feat, but he managed). He then held our hands and asked us to pray for him. We looked at him with apprehension and fear.

The officer explained he’d had a dream about Jesus Christ the previous week! He saw the Lord Jesus sitting on a throne, he said, with an amazing orb of light rotating around Him. Millions of angels obeyed his orders. Large and small stars surrounded the orb. Jesus raised his hands and showed his nail-scarred palms, blood seeping out. The following two days he had the same dream. He began to think more and more about Jesus, and searched the internet for more information.

After three days, he had yet another dream. Jesus appeared before him and said, “My children are being tortured in your jail. I leave them before you. My children are the apple of my eyes.”

So he quickly cancelled all of his other plans and rushed to our jail. For three days he stayed in the official cottage of the prison, spending most of his time with us—praying, and learning more about Jesus and the Bible. And he accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as his personal saviour and Lord!

Whenever he visited, he would ask the jailer and wardens to leave us alone with him, so they figured we must be relatives. From then on they treated us well, apologizing for all they had done to us earlier. During this time, the officer also prepared and submitted our release papers before the court.  While the court initially rejected them, he continued to strongly argue our case and within two days we were discharged.

The official took us from the jail to his cottage, where we feasted and prayed together.  As our prayers finished, he asked that we baptize him.

“If you fully believe Jesus Christ, we can,” we replied.

“I believe in Jesus Christ who was crucified and died for me on the cross of Calvary and rose from the dead,” he answered. “I believe in him as my Saviour and Lord with my whole heart and soul!” So we baptized him, along with Farooq and Riyas.

The official then drove us in his own car back to safety.

“Continue your great work for the Lord,” he advised us. “But you must be careful to keep all you do in ministry very, very secret. The ruling authorities, religious authorities, courts and police will not accept you and your works. But the Kingdom of God is near and we have an amazing eternity. So keep up your efforts.”

We can honestly say we are not distressed at all that our Lord did not appear before us during our hardships. For at all times we felt His presence and comfort. He was and is with us.

Our Lord said, “In the world you will have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” [John 16:33] St. John describes in his epistle, “For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.” [1John 5:4-5]

We thank all those who were fasting and praying for us.

OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST IS WORTHY TO BE PRAISED.  ALL GLORY AND HONOUR TO HIM FOREVER AND EVER!  AMEN!!  HALLELUIAH!!!

(*names changed for security reasons)