Our Lord Jesus Christ has wonderfully protected and released the recently-imprisoned pastors and believers from Bibles for Mideast. As reported last week, Pastors Irshad and Munvar, along with Farooq and Riyas (names changed for their protection) had been imprisoned in a secret jail in the Middle East (Bibles for Mideast Pastors brutally beaten, arrested and thrown in jail). We praise and thank God for those fasting and praying for their release.
Police had forcibly entered the pastors’ room last week while they were praying and teaching a Bible class to new believers. The men, formerly local Muslims, had been attending worship services in the underground house church for the previous two months and were preparing for baptism. After brutally beating them, police arrested and took the men to the local Shariah court.
Pastor Irshad describes below what happened in jail, and afterwards:
Police brought us to the religious (Shariah) court. We were accused of blasphemy charges against the prophet, as well as misguiding Muslims into a false religion. The court ordered we be imprisoned, and we were taken to a secret jail run by secret police.
We had a difficult first few days in prison. The jail wardens brutally beat and persecuted us. They tied our hands up through the hole of a steel bar which forced us into a bent position while they beat us. They served each of us only one Kubboos (local bread) each day. We never thought we’d ever get out alive.
We asked our Lord: “Where are You? Why won’t You come and save us?” We prayed, “If we have done any sin and iniquities, forgive us and purify us by your precious blood and save us from this situation.” And we repeated continuously, THE BLOOD OF JESUS IS OUR VICTORY! We imagined the sufferings of our Lord, and it brought us comfort and peace.
On the third day, a top-ranking officer of the jails visited us. A tall, stout official, he asked the wardens to untie our hands. But we were unable to stand erect. The officer himself massaged our back with some lotion until we could raise ourselves up. He ordered the wardens to give us liberal servings of good food, and then disappeared into an office. We were sure our lives were about to end, and that his seemingly kind treatment was only a prelude to that.
He came back to us at night, alone this time, and sat down on the floor beside us (not an easy feat, but he managed). He then held our hands and asked us to pray for him. We looked at him with apprehension and fear.
The officer explained he’d had a dream about Jesus Christ the previous week! He saw the Lord Jesus sitting on a throne, he said, with an amazing orb of light rotating around Him. Millions of angels obeyed his orders. Large and small stars surrounded the orb. Jesus raised his hands and showed his nail-scarred palms, blood seeping out. The following two days he had the same dream. He began to think more and more about Jesus, and searched the internet for more information.
After three days, he had yet another dream. Jesus appeared before him and said, “My children are being tortured in your jail. I leave them before you. My children are the apple of my eyes.”
So he quickly cancelled all of his other plans and rushed to our jail. For three days he stayed in the official cottage of the prison, spending most of his time with us—praying, and learning more about Jesus and the Bible. And he accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as his personal saviour and Lord!
Whenever he visited, he would ask the jailer and wardens to leave us alone with him, so they figured we must be relatives. From then on they treated us well, apologizing for all they had done to us earlier. During this time, the officer also prepared and submitted our release papers before the court. While the court initially rejected them, he continued to strongly argue our case and within two days we were discharged.
The official took us from the jail to his cottage, where we feasted and prayed together. As our prayers finished, he asked that we baptize him.
“If you fully believe Jesus Christ, we can,” we replied.
“I believe in Jesus Christ who was crucified and died for me on the cross of Calvary and rose from the dead,” he answered. “I believe in him as my Saviour and Lord with my whole heart and soul!” So we baptized him, along with Farooq and Riyas.
The official then drove us in his own car back to safety.
“Continue your great work for the Lord,” he advised us. “But you must be careful to keep all you do in ministry very, very secret. The ruling authorities, religious authorities, courts and police will not accept you and your works. But the Kingdom of God is near and we have an amazing eternity. So keep up your efforts.”
We can honestly say we are not distressed at all that our Lord did not appear before us during our hardships. For at all times we felt His presence and comfort. He was and is with us.
Our Lord said, “In the world you will have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” [John 16:33] St. John describes in his epistle, “For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.” [1John 5:4-5]
We thank all those who were fasting and praying for us.
OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST IS WORTHY TO BE PRAISED. ALL GLORY AND HONOUR TO HIM FOREVER AND EVER! AMEN!! HALLELUIAH!!!
(*names changed for security reasons)