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.
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.