Report: Susanna Perry-Ettel
Fadila (name changed for security reasons) grew up in an Arab family in the Middle East. She works in a government institution, and her father owns several farms and date plantations in the desert. One of eight children of her Muslim father and mother, she also has four half-siblings by her father’s second wife.
A strong devotee of Islam, Fadila always wore the abaya (a large, black cloak wrapped around her body), recited the required ritual prayers five times a day, fasted for the month of Ramadan, and gave the obligatory Zakat (alms to the poor).
One of her brothers, however, ended up running with the wrong crowd and became alcoholic and drug-addicted—despite Islam’s strict prohibitions against alcohol and drugs.
He’d sometimes become violent, she says, and made up stories to get money from his parents to pay for his habits. They began fearing he would influence his other brothers to stray as well.
“So we lost our peace,” Fadila says. “We prayed and prayed for a change of my brother and peace at home. No answer we got.”
She thinks the stress may well have caused her mother to become ill.
“Her condition became worse day by day,” Fadila remembers. “She consulted with many doctors, but nobody could diagnose the cause of her illness. She had a stroke too, and became completely bedridden.”
One day, another of her brothers brought two visitors to the house. He introduced them as “men of God who had gifts of healing. If they pray for our mother, she might be healed,” he suggested.
What could they lose? As other brothers and sisters showed interest, the men were given permission to pray.
“I felt uncomfortable,” Fadila recalls. “It was different than a Muslim du’a [personal supplications by Muslims beyond required formal prayers—Ed.] He was using Jesus’ name in his prayers. ‘In the Name of Jesus’ he prayed to heal my mother!” She figured out they were Christian pastors and, as she says, “shouted at them to get lost from my house.”
By then, though, they noticed their mother struggling to get up.
“We helped her, and she sat erect and then stood on the floor!” remembers Fadila with wonder.
“She told us that while the man was praying, she saw Jesus Christ and he touched her with his nailed hands. At once, she felt something go away from her body, and a light covered her, and she felt total healing!”
The mother then asked the men to forgive her daughter. And could they pray for her alcoholic son as well?
So one of the men prayed over Fadila’s alcoholic brother. As he did, the brother fell to the floor at the man’s feet and wept. He promised to leave all his bad habits. Confessing his sins, he took the next step and accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Savior and Lord.
“We noticed an unspeakable joy and peace in his face,” says Fadila.
The men explained they were pastors with Bibles for Mideast. The one who had prayed for the alcoholic brother shared his own story of conversion from Islam, and explained more fully the message of the Gospel to the family gathered round.
“Jesus Christ was crucified, died and rose from the dead for all of our sins, to give us eternal life. Jesus paid the ransom for us,” the pastor made clear.
Fadila’s mother readily replied that she believed. Fadila and her other brothers and sisters all followed suit. The pastor then presented them with a bible.
Unfortunately, Fadila’s step-mother and half-siblings felt provoked by their family members leaving Islam.
“Sometimes they threaten us that they will inform the religious authorities,” she says. “If they do, certainly we will have to face persecutions.”
While her father now believes in Jesus Christ as well, out of fear of possible reprisal from the threats of his other wife, he keeps his faith quiet. The rest of the family read and meditate on the bible daily, and attend secret prayer and worship services organized by Bibles for Mideast.
Please keep this family in your prayers: that all will be saved and come to the glorious knowledge and freedom possible only in and with Christ!