The dangers of happy children?

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

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

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

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

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

smiling cuties3 lo.jpg

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jesus in fire wall heart.jpg

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

_________________________
*
Name changed for security reasons

PRAYER NEEDED: new African church under threat from Islamic extremists

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trust in Christ, not religion

By Pastor Paul, Director, Bibles for Mideast

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

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

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

Jesus died for a relationship w you best.jpg

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

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

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

The vital importance of baptism

By Pastor Paul, Director, Bibles for Mideast

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

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

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

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

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

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

baptism into Christ for site.jpg

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

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

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