Bible distribution plans: Please pray

Pastor Peter Haneef, president of the ALG Church (umbrella for the many Bibles for Mideast churches) has a special prayer request for visitors to this website and supporters of the work and ministries of Bibles for Mideast.

“Kindly pray as our church wants to distribute 30,000 bibles in Arabic, Urdu and other Asian and African languages before the end of this year,” he asks.

“All our believers will also be presenting bibles as New Year’s gifts to at least two of their non-Christian friends,” he adds. “Please pray that the Holy Spirit helps them to win souls for Jesus our Savior.”

He and all of us know we cannot do this—any of it—without the help of praying, generous Christians. If the Holy Spirit leads you to participate with this Bible Distribution Ministry, please click here.

Pastor Peter himself knows better than most the mighty power of prayer, having himself had a dramatic conversion from Islamic extremism (From radical Islamic murderer to ardent leader in the Kingdom of Jesus). Now leading the ALG, he found himself on the receiving end in June of this year of the very atrocities he once meted out (Brutal attack on ALG Church leader Pastor Peter Haneef and family in Bangladesh). While that ended gloriously with, ultimately, the salvation of his main attacker (Boy’s dramatic dream of wounded lamb leads to salvation of his Islamic terrorist father), Pastor Peter is in fact still not quite completely recovered, so please pray for him as well.

TOP :    (L)   aT A recent bible distribution event;      (R)   a cancer patient receives a bible   Bottom  (L to R):    Muslim woman receives bible;   Hindu woman learning bible;   presenting a passenger boat driver with his own bible

TOP: (L) aT A recent bible distribution event; (R) a cancer patient receives a bible
Bottom (L to R):
Muslim woman receives bible; Hindu woman learning bible; presenting a passenger boat driver with his own bible

Praising His amazingness: abducted pastors miraculously released in Middle East

Report: Bibles for Mideast and the ALG Church in the Middle East

On a Sunday evening two weeks ago, Assembly of Loving God (ALG) pastors Firos* and Altaf* were visiting an Arab Muslim in his home in the Middle East. The Christians shared the gospel with the man, and his entire household had gathered around, listening intently.

As leaders of an underground ALG church** in the area and with families of their own, the men used their ‘spare time’ to engage in personal evangelism and distribute bibles among local Arab Muslims. About 50 former Muslims now met regularly with them for prayer, worship, and learning more about their new and living faith.

This particular country has extremely harsh attitudes towards proselytizing, especially attempts to convert Muslims to Christianity. As the men shared the Gospel of Life that Sunday evening, a neighbor noticed the goings-on and informed the imam of the local mosque.

Late evening namaz (prayer) was ongoing at the mosque, a requirement called Isha’ [Muslims are supposed to perform namaz five times per day, with Isha being the fifth—Ed.]. When Isha ended and the people learned of the evangelical activity in their neighborhood, an angry mob formed under the leadership of the imam. They armed themselves with a variety of weapons and headed to the home. Bursting in on the family, they brutally attacked the evangelists. They dragged the pastors to their mosque, tied them to a pillar, and kept up the beating. Firos and Altaf clutched their bibles to their chests, but the mob snatched them away. Shouting and laughing wildly, they set the men’s bibles on fire.

The imam told the pastors to leave Jesus and come back to Islam, offering them a number of official state positions if they agreed.*** But they turned down his appeals.

The ONLY fire and sword that matters

The ONLY fire and sword that matters

"Jesus is our Lord and Savior,” they bravely declared. “He saved us from the sin and death we knew and experienced in our own lives. Now we are new creations in HIM. You may kill our flesh, but we will have an everlasting life with our Savior in Heaven. So we will never lose our faith in Jesus, no matter what happens."

This provoked the people even further. They dragged the men to a cellar and abandoned them there for three days, without even a drop of water to drink. But the pastors looked to their Lord. For the entire three days and nights they praised and prayed. Being so with their Lord in Spirit, they didn’t feel any pain, hunger or thirst, nor were even aware of the passing time.

After the three days, the mob handed them over to a terrorist group, who threw them into a cellar in another location. For nine days they endured more brutal torture and again, no food or water. They were given dire warnings that unless they return to Islam and join the fight against Christians and Christianity, they would be killed and their bodies hung in a public place.

This proved hardly a threat to the pastors. For the sake of Jesus, they knew they could endure any persecution. They personally prepared themselves to die, assured of the greatest high hope of living even closer with Christ. 

Yesterday (Friday) morning, the terrorists tied the men’s hands behind their backs and took them out into an open area. Midday approached and temperatures soared. They told the pastors to kneel down. When they did, they tied their legs together as well.

Two men stood behind the kneeling pastors, wielding razor-sharp blades.  The killers tried to cover the Christians’ faces, but someone told them not to bother.  ‘Let them see and experience even more fear as they are being executed,’ they explained. 

Instead, the pastors looked to their Lord. They watched in amazement as a cloud formed overhead and they began sensing a refreshing coolness. Within the cloud, they saw Jesus seated on a throne! Thousands of angels surrounded Him.  They began praising the Lord joyfully and enthusiastically as they knelt under the shadow of His Presence and the cloud-like formation of angels around Him.

The killers, now even more determined due to the men’s praises [we’re fairly certain no one but the pastors saw the spiritual reality—Ed.], brandished their knives over the men’s necks. But as they prepared to bring down the blades, both they and their weapons unexpectedly fell to the ground.

Fear gripped onlookers as they heard the pastors’ loudly praising their Lord, and only intensified as they watched the would-be assassins fall over, helpless and disarmed.

The evangelists then witnessed rays of fire emanate from Jesus and down through the cloud towards the witnesses of the ‘execution’. Overcome with terror and the now-extreme heat, the crowd fled.

Somehow the pastors’ legs and hands were then loosed. Instead of standing up, however, they remained on their knees, praising and thanking their mighty Savior. Both then observed two angels appear, and felt themselves being lifted up. The next thing they knew, they were standing in front of a house.

They heard sounds of praise and worship from within the home, so they knocked on the door. A man came and opened the door slightly to have a somewhat fearful peek. When he saw the pastors outside he could barely contain his joy, praising the Lord loudly and shouting for the others to come. They were all members of the men’s own church … in the midst of prayer and fasting for their pastors’ immediate release!

Adding to the miraculousness of this story, this was not the location the church had been meeting in before the abduction. Soon after the pastors disappeared, worshippers had noticed several suspicious-looking characters watching the home they’d been meeting in.  Concerned, they moved their ‘church’ to a place many miles away. Since they had lost their leadership, some elder believers now led services, which was what was going on when the pastors ‘reappeared’. But the pastors of course had no idea their congregation had moved.

Our Lord of course knew, and He Himself arranged and rearranged everything according to His purposes. While the underground believers’ Friday prayer and fasting session would have normally drawn to a close by 3:00 p.m., this one continued many more hours, on into the night.

Both pastors’ wives and children had been sick with desperation when the men disappeared two weeks ago. Now of course they, and all who gather with them, are overjoyed.

Please pray for both families, and the believers who meet with them. The pastors want to specially thank all who have been praying for them, and know that it is only because of prayer that our Lord so mightily intervened.

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* Names changed for security reasons
** the umbrella organization for Bibles for Mideast churches
*** We can’t know if this was a deception to tempt the pastors, or if the imam did have the authority to offer the positions since many religious leaders in the Middle East do have high influence in government.

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Daughter of evangelist miraculously survives terrorist attack, now she AND her attacker serve Jesus

Close to twenty years ago, 12-year old, Sofi* and her young brothers all arrived home from school, accompanied by their neighbor, seriously ill. The neighbor had found them vomiting uncontrollably shortly after getting off the bus. When the youngest boy fainted, he’d picked him up and then helped the three youngsters find their way back home.  They were then rushed to hospital.

Testing showed deadly poison in their saliva, so doctors administered the proper antidote immediately.

Sofi with her brothers a few years before the attack

Sofi with her brothers a few years before the attack

“Two or three minutes later and there would not have been any hope for your children,” medics informed the alarmed parents.  

The family later discovered that as the children had gotten on the public bus packed with other travellers and students, a middle-aged woman had smiled at them and called them by name. She invited Sofi to sit beside her as the boys stood nearby.

Friendly and kind, she explained she was a prayer partner with the same ministry their father served as a leader in. She chatted away, asking how the rest of their family were. As the children prepared to get off, she offered them chocolates as a ‘token of her love’, unwrapping them herself and putting them into their mouths. Loving chocolate as much as any kids do, they happily gobbled them up.

But almost immediately on descending the steps of the bus, the younger boy began vomiting, then the older, then Sofi … undigested chocolates spewing everywhere. Their concerned neighbor happened by about this time. 

Relatives and friends of the family began searching all over for the woman who’d provided the chocolates, but could find no clues anywhere.

By the next day, Sofi’s condition grew far worse. She could no longer breathe properly, and as much as she tried, couldn’t get any words out. As her memory began failing, doctors worried the poison may have affected both her lungs and brain. Fortunately, the boys began to slowly recover.

As Sofi’s condition deteriorated, she fell into a coma. Her family and many church members knelt tearfully before the Lord, claiming God’s promises and asking Him for a miracle.

About 30 hours later those still praying around her bed noticed her face suddenly became remarkably bright. With eyes still closed, a joyful smile spread across her face. She suddenly raised her hands into the air as if trying to catch something. Everyone thought she must be on her way from this world, and cried out in sorrow. Her parents completely lost it. Doctors and nurses on duty hurried into the room.

Just as a doctor reached out to check her pulse, Sofi rose from her bed, her hands still upraised. It looked as if she were holding onto something in the space before her.

holding hands centred.jpg

“Jesus! Abba! JESUS! ABBA FATHER!” she began calling out in her native language. She then opened her eyes, gazed at her hands in amazement, looked back in front of her and then pointing to a particular spot cried out: “There is my Father Jesus!”

Her mother reached out to hold her and called her by name. Sofi immediately recognized everyone, and realized she was in the hospital.

She also declared she was hungry. The doctor checked her over thoroughly and advised her parents to feed her something light. Since she had a slight temperature, he also gave her a tablet to bring the fever down.

Before she went to bed that night, she and her family joyfully praised the Lord together. Sofi seemed imbued with new power in her prayer and praise.

Unbeknownst to the family and medical staff, a fellow named Rashid* had appeared in the hallway and with two other men, had been closely watching the goings-on in Sofi’s room. They had come up from the hospital parking area, where, posing as ambulance attendants, they’d been observing from the outside.

Rashid also happened to be in command of a group of militant fanatics seeking to convert everyone to Islam and eventually bring the whole world under Islamic domination. The plan to have the children given poisoned chocolates had been hatched by his group. They were certain the children would die, at least the girl Sofi. The next part of their plot entailed carrying away the child’s dead body along with her family in the ambulance, and then kill the rest of the family.

But as Rashid and his men kept vigil, he witnessed an intensely-bright sphere of light flash down from above and then hover over where Sofi lay unconscious. He saw a hand came out from the orb, touch the leader’s daughter, and then watched her regain consciousness and stand.

He could barely contain himself when he saw blood flowing from a hole in the middle of the hand. He trembled with fear, felt woozy and fell to the floor. The men with him picked him up and scurried awkwardly away with him.

Rashid completely lost whatever peace he had. Disturbing dreams ruined his sleep and he grew convinced Jesus must be ‘after him’.  Feeling unbearably burdened, he managed to locate Pastor Paul, Director of Bibles for Mideast, and confessed everything. Yet instead of being turned in to the police as Rashid expected, he was embraced with tears. He began to read the Bible he had kept on hand simply to criticize and disprove Christianity, and found now he could hear Jesus clearly in the words. He readily accepted Him as his Lord and Savior.  

Sofi (r) teaching bible to young Hindu girl, who later received Christ

Sofi (r) teaching bible to young Hindu girl, who later received Christ

Rashid now serves as an ordained pastor with Bibles for Mideast, and works unstintingly alongside his wife and children establishing house churches across the Middle East [we wrote him about him earlier here].

Sofi, now married and with two youngsters, works as a school teacher and, on the side, a Bible teacher. Many of the young people she teaches scripture to, albeit secretly, are Hindus and Muslims who do eventually find the truth in Jesus (see picture)!

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Names changed for security reasons

RELATED STORY: Radical Muslim terrorist ‘terrified’ by the Light of Jesus now serves as pastor!

Muslim terrorist moves from death and destruction to Life and healing

Report: Bibles for Mideast

Radical Hindus destroy historic Babri Mosque: AFP (1992)

Radical Hindus destroy historic Babri Mosque: AFP (1992)

Ameen* decided as a teenager, back in 1992, to join the forces of Islamic terror. Radical Hindu nationalists had just destroyed the historic Babri Mosque in northern India (they believed the 16th-century mosque stood where one of their most revered Hindu deities had been born).**

After completing his training, Ameen became commander of a terrorist group with the main objective of destroying both Hindu temples and Christian churches—along with their priests, ministers and worshipers. 

Once while attempting to attack a major Hindu temple, a surprise counter-attack by Hindu militants forced them to flee. Ameen suffered serious gun-shot wounds and needed to be carried away by his fellow terrorists. They administered first-aid but he subsequently fell into a coma. Thinking they’d failed in their efforts to save him, they left his body alone in a field.

A few hours later, a passerby noticed him lying there. Thinking him dead, they approached the body and on checking more carefully, discovered a pulse. They immediately called police, who rushed him to hospital. There, doctors managed to revive and save him.

Police suspected he might be a terrorist and questioned him, but could not get him to reveal his true identity, let alone betray his friends. So he remained under police surveillance in the hospital.

Pastor Paul and a gospel team of Bibles for Mideast ‘just happened’ to be in the same hospital a few days later. They secured permission from the police to visit Ameen, and found him slowly recovering from his injuries.

The missionaries told the wounded terrorist about Jesus, how He is the author of life and death. They then shared their own dramatic testimonies, and explained how Jesus was crucified on the cross of Calvary, died and rose from the dead. The visitors assured him that anyone who believes in Jesus will gain eternal life. Ameen listened to their words, but didn’t respond. So the gospel team prayed for him before leaving the hospital.  

According to the anti-terrorist act then in place in India, Ameen was sentenced to prison without bail. He remained there for years without legal assistance. Two years ago, 24 years after being imprisoned, he was finally set free.

Another ‘God-incidence’

Prisoners with their new bibles

Prisoners with their new bibles

But before Ameen’s release, Pastor Paul ‘just happened’ to meet him while there on prison ministry. Ameen was friendly to him, attended the gospel meeting held inside the jail, listened attentively to the message presented, and received a Bible when they were handed out to prisoners. He even asked for Pastor Paul’s mobile phone number.

Then, just last month, Ameen called Pastor Paul in extreme anxiety. He and his family members all wanted to meet with him for prayer.

“When I call on the name of Jesus, I feel relief whenever I’m desperate,” Ameen explained over the phone. “But I do not know what to do more. If possible, kindly come to me, give me needed guidance and pray for me and my family."

Pastor Paul prayed about the request, and asked the church and several others to pray for the Lord's guidance. 

Days later, all spent in fervent prayer, he traveled 18 hours to meet Ameen and his family. Two other ALG (Assembly of Loving God) church pastors joined him on the mission trip.

They finally arrived at Ameen’s house to find a most unwell 46-year-old. He could barely walk, needing the help of his brother’s children to get around. With no wife or children, his younger brother, their elderly mother and his brother’s family—all firm believers in Islam—took care of him.

Ameen happily greeted the pastors when they arrived. The visitors shared the gospel with him and the family. But his younger brother took offence at their presence and their message, and began shouting angrily at them. He wanted them out of his house, NOW! Ameen pleaded with him, explaining the men were there because he had asked them to come.

Neighbours, hearing the commotion, came over to investigate. Soon community leaders and the Imam of the local mosque got wind of the Christian visitors and arrived to voice disapproval and argue with them.

“I politely explained to them about Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on the cross,” Pastor Paul relates. “But with great anger, the Imam slapped me on the cheek.” 

Seeing the Imam slap the kindly pastor, Ameen felt wretched and cried out in grief.

Pastor Paul reached out to hold Ameen’s hands, then wiped away his tears and tried to console him. He and his fellow pastors then knelt down before the Lord in front of the family, and prayed for further guidance.

Ameen's brother never imagined the Imam would slap Pastor Paul. He also of course couldn’t help but be moved by Ameen's sorrowful outburst and the Christians’ kneeling prayers. So he turned against the Imam and the community leaders. The brothers’ elderly mother also shouted at the Imam and other leaders, ordering them out of the house.

When they’d all gone and quiet returned, Ameen's brother with the rest of the family apologized to Pastor Paul, asking his forgiveness.

“We consoled all of them and shared the sufferings of our Lord,” the Bibles for Mideast director explains.

“After that, they all sat before us and listened to the Word of God. Some neighboring people also participated. That same day everyone of that house accepted Lord Jesus Christ as their personal savior and Lord.”

And that very night, Ameen dreamt that Jesus touched and healed him. When he awoke—and without anyone's help—he got up, walked, and then ran around the house. His brother also had a dream of the glory of Jesus.

Please praY FOR aMEEN, HIS FAMILY, AND THE NEW UNDERGROUND CHURCH

Please praY FOR aMEEN, HIS FAMILY, AND THE NEW UNDERGROUND CHURCH

The pastors stayed four days and nights in the family’s tiny, impoverished home. With only one room plus a kitchen and a veranda attached to the front of the house, the family had no furniture: no tables or chairs, not even cots to sleep on.

“We all were happy to spend more time for prayers and sharing the Word of God,” says Pastor Paul. “We pastors slept in the room with Ameen on floor mats. The other men slept in the veranda, and the women slept in the kitchen.”

The second day of their visit, more people joined in their times of prayer. On the third day, a number of villagers attended and accepted the Lord Jesus as their savior.

By the fourth day, a new church was born! They held a worship service, and Pastor Mujib, who had been working in another area, is now in charge of the newborn ministry..

Please pray for him, the new believers, and the ongoing work in this area.

We also ask that you remember the dire situation in Indonesia after the devastating earthquake and tsunami. With millions affected and the death toll at 1,400 and rising, relief efforts have been slow to come. Bibles for Mideast has pastors and evangelists working in Indonesia, and a number of underground churches with between 12 and 20 members each. By God’s grace all are safe but needs—both practical and for prayer—are huge.

____________________________
Name changed for security reasons
** The religious site where the Babri Mosque was destroyed in 1992 in the northern Indian town of Ayodhya has been a flashpoint between Hindus and Muslims for years and has sparked recurring episodes of violence.

The Water of Life overpowers the waters of death

With reporting by Pastor Peter Haneef, President, Assembly of Loving God

Sept. 11, 2018: Our Lord Jesus Christ showered His great blessings through the Holy Spirit over the just-ended 21 days of prayer and fasting held by Assembly of Loving God churches in Asia, Africa and Middle East. All ALG churches actively participated and over the three weeks, and 2,016 new believers went through the waters of baptism. Among them were 1,575 former Muslims, with the remainder being mainly from the Hindu and Buddhist faiths.

Due to persecution from religious authorities, government and militants in many areas, the services in numerous churches could only be held secretly, between midnight and dawn. But God and joy prevailed!

for site.jpg

As we reported earlier, several days before the time of prayer and fasting began, severe flooding and landslides lashed through one of our mission regions in South India (Devastating flooding in Kerala, India: PLEASE PRAY). More than 500 people lost their lives in the floods, and close to one and a half million found shelter in relief camps.

Leaders and members of Bibles for Mideast and the ALG joined in rescue efforts, helping in relief camps, praying for those affected and sharing the wonderful love and salvation of our Lord. While most from the camps have been able to return to their homes, close to 5,000 remain in the shelters, having no homes to return to.

Many of our own church members needed rescue and shelter as well. Nineteen families lost all of their household items when their residences were partially destroyed, and seven other families completely lost their homes. By God’s grace and the prayers of His children, we are so thankful no one sustained injuries.

Other ALG churches decided to help in the rebuilding of homes, despite having barely enough for their own needs.

The rains and flooding have ended in the region and as mentioned, many from the camps have been able to return to their damaged homes.

Region again under high alert

Kerala residents wading through flood waters contaminated with numerous pathogens—the prime means of transmission of the  Leptospira  bacterium that causes leptospirosis, also known as rat fever. It enters wounds on the skin from faeces and urine of infected dogs, rats and farm animals [ image courtesy Reuters ].

Kerala residents wading through flood waters contaminated with numerous pathogens—the prime means of transmission of the Leptospira bacterium that causes leptospirosis, also known as rat fever. It enters wounds on the skin from faeces and urine of infected dogs, rats and farm animals [image courtesy Reuters].

The area is unfortunately again on high alert due to diseases being spread in the after-flood conditions. Hundreds of people have contracted a serious bacterial infection called leptospirosis, or rat fever, and at last count about 60 had died.

We are SO thankful to those of our supporters who have offered prayers and financial help in the rebuilding efforts. We praise and thank God for the support, and thank all who have offered such compassion and kindness. Please continue praying for this region and all of its people.

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[Related story: 1,268 baptisms and many miracles in three days!]