Three new churches in North India!

About a year ago, a Bibles for Mideast pastor took a team of workers to visit a Hindu village chief and his wife in North India. Married as young teenagers, the couple had been trying to conceive for 30 years. They prayed according to Hindu beliefs, had visited Hindu temples from north to south and offered countless burnt offerings to idols … but still, no child.

The pastor shared the saving message of Jesus with them, and then offered to pray. While the chief refused, his desperate wife agreed and managed to convince her husband to receive prayer well.

North Indian Hindu woman

North Indian Hindu woman

When they’d finished, the pastor prophesied the couple would have a baby boy by the same time next year. He handed them a sample gospel and asked them to read it and pray to Jesus every day. 

The stubborn chief refused, but his wife knew this to be their last resort. She dutifully read and prayed every day, and within two months, discovered she was pregnant! It was an easy transition to believe in the reality and Truth of Jesus, and her husband became convinced as well.

After the birth of their son, the village chief contacted the pastor and requested he visit again and pray for them. The minister agreed, then boldly pressed for more. He told the chief he would come, but that he also wanted him to arrange a three-day retreat and request all villagers to attend. The chief agreed, and made the necessary arrangements.

Village evangelism

Village evangelism

So the team visited the village about two weeks ago for the retreat, holding gospel meetings as well. About 150 locals showed up, including family members of the village chief from other nearby communities and another village chief.

The meetings took on a festival atmosphere and Holy Spirit showed up gloriously. Each and every person accepted Jesus as Lord and Saviour!  On the fourth day, all the new believers underwent baptism and … lo and behold: a new ALG church was born!

The leader from the neighboring community then asked the team to come visit his village as well.  So off the missionaries went. They held two days of gospel meetings and saw over 70 people accept Jesus as Lord. They too were baptized and yet another ALG church came into being.

Prayer in the street

Prayer in the street

By this time, some of the local Hindu population converged on the new believers, waving their saffron flags and chanting Hindu and anti-Christian slogans. But they proved no match for the new Christians, who joined forces and chased them away without incident.  

At the request of a former Muslim family in a region further afield, the team then journeyed to meet up with four Muslim families. They held several days of prayer and fasting with even many other local Muslims joining in. By fast’s end, seven families put their faith in Jesus, along with 13 other followers of Islam. All were soon baptized and a third new ALG church added to the Kingdom!

BAPTISMAL ceremony

BAPTISMAL ceremony

These new churches and believers urgently need prayer for our Lord's mighty protection. Anti-Christian movements flourish in the ‘new India’, and persecution is rife. Please also pray the Lord to open other villages in North India for evangelism and new churches.

Once again, thank you for your support of our ministry. We could not and cannot do it without the help of God’s people.

A gracious life, well-lived and perfectly ended

Pastor Paul (Director, Bibles for Mideast)
Pastor Peter Haneef (President, ALG Churches)

Mrs. Grace Perry (84), the beloved mother of our sister Susanna Perry-Ettel of Bibles for Mideast, entered into the heavenly abode. She was, till her last breath, an active joyful woman of strong faith, full of love and laughter.  One of her common 'admonitions' to her children as kids was, "If you have nothing to good to say about someone, don't say anything at all." She constantly would find something to praise and/or encourage in even the most difficult people, Susanna recollects.

We, Bibles for Mideast and the Assembly of Loving God Church share our heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family. May our Risen Lord comfort and console them in this time.

Here is the message she posted (with her three brothers) on Facebook:

GraCE mARINA pERRY

GraCE mARINA pERRY

It is with great sadness we share the news of the sudden passing of our beloved mother, Grace Perry. It has come as a shock since despite her age, she was extremely fit and active up until what appears to have been a heart attack. Here one minute busily sweeping up after dinner, gone the next when she stepped out to dump the dust bin.

We were all gathering together at our [my and my husband’s] Haliburton home for our first whole family reunion in a number of years. So it's a tremendous blessing we're all together to support each other and our father, John. For that I am beyond amazed and thankful. I see God’s Hand orchestrating it all.

Mom/Grace had been a central pillar in our immediate family, our extended family, as well as an active golfer, bridge player, church goer, always volunteering in her Pittsburgh church and community helping those less fortunate. She will be SO greatly missed.

Miraculous healing, deliverance and salvations in restrictive Middle Eastern kingdom

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

Pastor M, married with two young boys, four and six, works tirelessly and fearlessly building a strong underground church in the midst of unimaginable constraints on what he can ‘legally’ say, do, share, or be in a highly restrictive nation of the Middle East. A former Muslim working with Bibles for Mideast and the ALG, he has an amazing story of his own healing and salvation but we’ll have to leave that for another time.  

Two weeks ago, he completely disappeared. Religious police, after finding a gospel tract with his phone number on it, had tricked him into meeting with them. When he agreed and they met up, they brutally beat him before hauling him off to ‘religious court’.  

"Why did you leave Islam and become a Christian minister?" the judge demanded at his trial.

"I was a sinner and got into all kinds of trouble,” Pastor M. replied. “I also contracted a serious disease and became a dying patient. But the Lord Jesus Christ saved my life. He healed me, and also rescued me from sin and death by His crucifixion and death on the cross of Calvary. He rose from the dead and still lives. I believed in Him and received salvation. Then, the Lord Jesus Himself called me to His ministry. So I am now trying to help my fellow brethren find salvation as well."

ISIS burns hundreds of Christian books in MosuL

ISIS burns hundreds of Christian books in MosuL

The court ordered he be imprisoned for 15 days. He was told that if he returned to Islam, he would remain in jail for two more years and then be in service to the religious authorities in their fight against Christianity. Should he decide not to renounce Christianity, he would be beheaded. It was as simple as that.

The young husband and pastor refused their demand so was sent to prison to await execution, and the horrible torture began.

The judge of the court had two sons of his own, plus five daughters. Sadly, he lost his older son at 21 last year to testicular cancer. Now his second son faced the same diagnosis. Doctors had given up both hope and treatment for the younger boy, so he lay in bed at home in excruciating pain, waiting to die.

A week after the sentencing, the judge woke in the middle of the night to a mighty voice sounding in the bedroom.

“Release the pastor from jail!” it boomed. “Ask him to pray for your son to be healed.”

Not liking what he heard, the magistrate ignored the plea.

The next day, his son’s sufferings increased to almost beyond what the boy could bear. That night, the judge dreamt a ball of light, somehow encasing powerful words, headed toward him. The words seemed to flow from the light as it approached.

"Release my servant from the prison and ask him to pray for your son!” he heard echo through the room. “With his prayers, your boy may be cured and healed."

Surely this had to be the work of Satan trying to misguide his faith in Islam! He got up, read some portions from the Koran, and did a Sunnah Namaz (ritual prayer done in special circumstances). 

The third night, the Lord Himself appeared before the judge.

"I am Jesus, the Son of the Most High,” the man in white proclaimed. “I did die on the cross and now live forevermore  [interestingly, Muslims do believe Jesus was raised bodily to heaven by God, but do not believe he died on the cross—Ed.]. You are needlessly persecuting my servant! Release him from prison. Your son will be healed. And, accept Me as your Lord and Savior. This is the only way you and your household can be saved from hell."

Jesus then disappeared. The judge rose from his bed to the sounds of his son screaming out in pain. Rushing to the room, he saw his wife and daughters standing by the bed, weeping. Overcome, he disclosed the details of his dream. They listened in amazement. Without hesitation, his wife and daughters begged him to release the minister and get him over to their house to pray for the boy. The son urged him to as well.

When prison officials got the unexpected order from the judge, they immediately freed the pastor and had him sent to the family’s home.  

The judge poured out all he had heard and seen, and asked forgiveness for the prison sentence and execution order. Pastor M of course agreed, and was led to the young man’s room.

He began by sharing the Truth of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.

“Will you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior?” he asked.

The sick young man agreed straightaway. The others followed, kneeling down and inviting Jesus into their hearts and lives.

The atmosphere now thickening with holiness, Pastor M began to pray. As he did, all were filled with the Holy Spirit. The boy jumped from his bed and began to dance, praising and thanking Jesus for his total healing! Everyone rejoiced in the Lord, the family bursting with a joy they’d never known.

The next day, the judge took the minister back to his court, this time to release him according to court law. For the following three days, Pastor M stayed in the magistrate's home, praying, fasting, teaching from the Bible and preparing the new believers for baptism. On the fourth day, the whole family were baptized. 

As all this was going on, the pastor’s church knew only that he had been beaten and taken away. They hadn’t heard anything from or about him since his disappearance—when they had immediately launched into a time of concerted prayer and fasting.

At one point, his wife—overwhelmed with the strain of continuous prayer, fasting, and understandable concern—became critically ill. Believers rushed her to hospital where doctors began treating her, and discovered she is carrying the couple’s third child.

She remains in hospital, recovering, but with her husband now by her side. Please pray for them, the church, the believers, and Bibles for Mideast ministry in the Middle East. Further exciting news is that the judge’s son has joined our Lord’s ministry and will be working alongside Bibles for Mideast after more extensive training.

Religious police on patrol in Saudi Arabia

Religious police on patrol in Saudi Arabia

Pastor M thanks all who joined the orchestra of prayer for his release and his wife's recovery.

Please also pray for the next baptism service which he had been planning for his church before being ‘sidelined’. Local fundamentalists may well cause problems and resume persecution of this pastor and the church he loves and leads.

How do spiritual fruit manifest in your life?

“... the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness,
generosity, faithfulness,  gentleness, and self-control.”
—Gal. 5:22-23a  (NRSV)

The first three qualities of spiritual fruit—love, joy and peace—are essential ingredients of our inward spiritual life.  They are the direct result of our personal relationship with God, settling in our hearts as Holy Spirit abides within us.

The next three aspects of the fruit of the Spirit—patience, kindness and generosity—are outward manifestations of that inner love, joy and peace. These fruit are developed in and through our relationships and interactions with other people.

The last three fruit—faithfulness, gentleness and self-control—are further outward manifestations reflecting our inner love, joy and peace.  

All these qualities of Christian character are produced in believers as we submit to the guidance of Holy Spirit. 

“[W]hat happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.
Legalism is helpless in bringing this about; it only gets in the way. Among those who belong to Christ, everything connected with getting our own way and mindlessly responding to what everyone else calls necessities is killed off for good—crucified.” —Gal. 5:22-24 (MSG)

Global persecution of Christians increasing at alarming rates

Report: Bibles for Mideast

Every single day, an increasing number of Christians die for their faith while countless more suffer growing persecution worldwide.  

A report commissioned by the British government released in May concluded that global Christian persecution is now so severe it is close to reaching the international definition of genocide. Islamic oppression, increasing religious nationalism and communism have proven to be the three major drivers behind the current unprecedented levels of worldwide persecution.

Clearly, radical extremists believing the complete opposite of what Jesus taught, are being ever more deceived into thinking that the One Who in fact loves them most, and those believing in eternal salvation through Him alone, are their greatest enemies.

The mission organization Open Doors, in their annual  World Watch List, rank the top 50 countries where Christians face the most extreme persecution. According to their last report, one out of ten Christians live where Christianity is either illegal or forbidden.

Photo Credit: Stephen Perry

Photo Credit: Stephen Perry

“Worldwide, our data reveals that 13.9 percent more Christians are experiencing higher levels of persecution than last year,” says Open Doors official Henrietta Blyth. “That’s 30 million more people.”

Bibles for Mideast works in many of the top-listed countries, engaging in largely clandestine evangelical activities and establishing underground Assembly of Loving God (ALG) house churches.  Pastors and believers face constant persecution and often death threats, but the Lord Jesus miraculously protects them even while saving countless souls. Almost all the posts on our website attest to that.

North Korea, Afghanistan and Pakistan remain in the top five worst places, while the rise in attacks by Hindu extremists in India and tough new laws in China have seen believers in the world’s two most populous countries face ‘extreme’ and ‘very high’ levels of persecution respectively.

“This year, we noticed how Christian women are especially targeted around the world,” reports David Curry, CEO of Open Doors. “Often, they are culturally discriminated against because they are women—and when it’s discovered they follow Jesus, the suffering can be even worse.”

North Korea, Afghanistan, Somalia, Libya, Pakistan, Sudan, Eritrea, Yemen, Iran, India and Syria currently top the list of worst offenders—North Korea retaining its first place position for the past 16 years.

Although the communist North Korean government claims to provide freedom of religion in its constitution, no one can be openly Christian in the atheist state without facing arrest, re-education in a labor camp, or, in some cases, execution. Even so, underground churches have grown tremendously in the last two decades and close to 300,000 Christians live as covert believers under the oppressive regime.

For eight of the top eleven countries on the World Watch List, Islamic extremism proves to be the primary cause of Christian persecution.  Citizens in the 99-percent Muslim country of Afghanistan, second on the list, are banned from becoming Christian. Taliban radicalism continues to grow and new Christian believers have at times been killed by their own family members.

Many Christians have been martyred by Islamic militants in Somalia, third on the list of offenders. With about 99 percent of Somalis being Muslim, the tiny Christian community faces constant threats. In many rural areas, Islamic militant groups like al-Shabab, Al-Qaeda’s Somali-based branch, are de facto rulers. They regard Christians with a Muslim background as high-value targets, and when discovered, often kill them on the spot.

In Pakistan, the sixth largest country in the world and fifth on the persecution list, Christians are considered second-class citizens. Islamists there specifically vilify Christians. In 2016, a suicide bomber targeted members of Lahore's minority Christian community while they gathered at a funfair to celebrate Easter Sunday. Dozens of children were among the dead.

Lahore, Pakistan: Dozens of children among the dead in attack on Christians Easter Sunday 2016

Lahore, Pakistan: Dozens of children among the dead in attack on Christians Easter Sunday 2016

Persecution by means of a notorious blasphemy law, too often falsely leveled, can carry a death sentence. The most well-known example of this has been case of Asia Bibi. After sitting on death row for more than ten years, the Christian wife and mother has been finally acquitted of blasphemy charges yet her life remains in grave danger from radical Islamists. 

Coptic priests among the ruins of their church in Tanta, Egypt

Coptic priests among the ruins of their church in Tanta, Egypt

In fact, 71 of the world's 195 countries have blasphemy laws, with penalties ranging from fines to imprisonment and death.

The 29 countries listed with very high Christian persecution are Nigeria, Iraq, Maldives, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Uzbekistan, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Central African Republic, Algeria, Turkmenistan, Mali, Mauritania, Turkey, China, Ethiopia, Tajikistan, Indonesia, Jordan, Nepal, Bhutan, Kazakhstan, Morocco, Brunei, Tunisia, Qatar, Mexico and Kenya. 

In China, the most populated country in the world, some church leaders are even saying persecution is the worst it’s been since the Cultural Revolution ended in 1976. Chinese authorities have implemented laws prohibiting teachers and students from discussing religion or promoting their faith. Hundreds of churches have been demolished and Bibles are now banned across the country. In October of last year, Chinese police arrested more than 20 Christians for praying in the park.

Beijing has also banned public displays of the cross, and has torn down Jesus posters across the country and replaced them with photos of China's President Xi Jinping.

Christians meeting in a public park in China earlier this year after their services were shut down and their leaders taken away.   look closely :  many have packed bags next to them as they worship. They brought their clothes and personal items to the open-air meeting in case they were arrested and taken to prison.

Christians meeting in a public park in China earlier this year after their services were shut down and their leaders taken away. look closely: many have packed bags next to them as they worship. They brought their clothes and personal items to the open-air meeting in case they were arrested and taken to prison.

High persecution countries include the Russian Federation, Malaysia, Kuwait, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Sri Lanka, Colombia, Bangladesh, the Palestinian Territories and Azerbaijan.

Hindu nationalism continues to grow in India and Nepal, as does Buddhist nationalism in Myanmar and Sri Lanka. Persecution of Christians in central Asian nations, including Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, and Azerbaijan, has intensified under nationalist, pro-Islamic governments.

Please keep our persecuted Christian ‘family members’, fellow citizens of the Kingdom of Jesus who live in increasing danger around the world, in your prayers. Please also be praying for those who, in spite of the increasing perils, refuse to stop sharing the Gospel of Love and Salvation.

We especially appreciate your prayers for the underground ministry of Bibles for Mideast, its leaders and believers. They suffer incredible hardships, yet continue to work and stand in faith boldly for the Kingdom of God.