Jesus heals and saves Afghani girl brought up by Taliban

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

Sameera* grew up in a fanatically fundamentalist Muslim family who had actually been leaders in helping establish the Taliban in their native Afghanistan. They strongly believed the whole world should be ruled according to Islamic sharia law, and anyone not following sharia must die.

During their official reign of terror in Afghanistan (1996-2001), the Taliban murdered thousands of people and destroyed countless churches and temples. When the US-led forces attacked Afghanistan in 2001, Sameera was seven. Three of her brothers died in the assault, and her older sister went missing.**

Taliban fighters in afghanistan (EPA)

Taliban fighters in afghanistan (EPA)

Their mother, completely undone by the tragedies, soon developed heart problems. As her heart began to fail and knowing she faced imminent death, she begged her husband to take their remaining children—Sameera and her four-year-old brother—and flee Afghanistan at any cost and in any way. Like many in their country, they believed Christians were behind the invasion, aiming to destroy both their nation and their religion.

So right after the mother died and without even taking time for a proper burial, Sameera’s father fled the home with nothing but his young children. He knew it was practically impossible to escape without being seen by the invading army, but also knew he had to try.  

The young family hadn’t gotten far before being captured by armed forces in a military truck patrolling the streets. Sameera’s father felt certain they would be killed.  But when the soldiers saw the innocent little ones with him, their hearts melted. Sameera has a clear memory of the men then joining hands and actually praying in the truck, eyes brimming with tears. She heard the words ‘Lord Jesus’ over and over. While she had no idea what they were saying, she memorized the name ‘Jesus’, somehow keeping it lodged in her heart.

When the truck reached a deserted area, the soldiers touched each of them kindly on the shoulders and told them to get out and flee. Knowing the family couldn’t understand English, they did their best to make themselves understood by gesturing and pointing to the children. One of the men tearfully tried to explain how they all had small children like Sameera and her brother at their homes in America. The family did finally grasp the men were urging them to escape, and as they clambered from the truck the soldiers again spoke using the name Jesus—likely, we think now, praying their Lord Jesus would bless and protect the family.

After a gruelling journey lasting many days, the family somehow ended up in a Middle Eastern kingdom. Sameera’s father found work and labored hard to support his growing youngsters.

Whenever they thought about their brothers, sister, mother and other dead and missing relatives, their rage towards Christians, the supposed invaders, grew. So they pledged to fight them to the death. Every day they prayed to Allah for strength and courage for the battle. Sameera’s brother figured his best option was to leave home and join forces with ISIS, which he did four years ago.

Eight months ago, Sameera’s father died in a tragic accident. Being so close to him, the shock of the loss proved near unbearable. Her emotional and mental anguish further increased when her brother didn't show up for their father’s funeral. No one knew where he might be, or even if he was still alive.

Sameera grew increasingly disturbed and even violent, to the point she had to be admitted to a psychiatric hospital and confined to a separate room.

As only our Lord could work it, one of the hospital staff ‘happens’ to be a member of the Assembly of Loving God (ALG) Church and a voluntary evangelist with Bibles for Mideast. She loved and cared for Sameera like a sister, praying for her and spending time with her in her isolation. She often shared her testimony of having once been a Muslim, her decision to leave Islam, and the message of the gospel.

As their friendship grew, one day she prayed over Sameera in Jesus’ name. A lightbulb went off for Sameera as she remembered the soldiers in Afghanistan who prayed over her as a little girl, using the same name. The very men who had showed her family such unexpected loving kindness and had helped them escape the battle zone.

As she slept that night, the Lord Jesus Christ appeared before in a dream.

“Daughter, you are not alone,” she heard him say. “I am always with you as your eternal Father and Comforter.” He showed her his nail-scarred hands and the wounds in his side. “I have suffered all of these—have been crucified on the cross of Calvary, died and rose from the dead—for YOU and your salvation. By my blood you are washed and by my stripes you are healed. You are no longer a patient. Believe in me and follow me.”

She awoke immediately, jumped from her bed praising the Lord, and tried to pray by herself in Jesus’ name.

Early the next morning she asked to see her beloved friend.  When the Christian staff member arrived, Sameera joyfully shared what had happened. The friend praised and thanked the Lord and then, as they held hands, led Sameera in a prayer to accept Jesus Christ as her own personal Saviour and Lord.

The staff member later introduced Sameera to her pastor, who began visiting and praying for her as well.

When discharged soon afterwards from the hospital, Sameera had nowhere to go. The owner of her family’s house had repossessed it when she entered hospital and been unable to pay the rent. So the pastor arranged for her to stay with some Bibles for Mideast women, where she remains, studying the word of God and ministering alongside them.

She shared her testimony with her new church and has committed the rest of her life to the Lord’s ministry. At her request, the pastor baptized her.

Atrocities in Afghanistan continue; here, Children run away after an explosion in Kabul in May, 2013 (REUTERS)

Atrocities in Afghanistan continue; here, Children run away after an explosion in Kabul in May, 2013 (REUTERS)

We of course don’t know whether her brother will return. If he does, we cannot guess how he will react to his sister becoming a Christian. So please pray for Sameera and also for her brother’s salvation, if he is still alive. Pray also for the safety of the women she lives with and other workers and believers with Bibles for Mideast and the ALG Church in that region.

Please keep all the missionaries and ministries of Bibles for Mideast and the many ALG churches in Asia, Africa and Middle East in your prayers. We could not do any of this without your help.

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* Name changed for security reasons
** Even after being ousting from official power in the U.S-led invasion of 2001, the Taliban—with ISIS and others—continue to terrorize, murder and destroy in Afghanistan and beyond.

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EXCITING UPDATE! A year later, Sameera’s brother, who was really lost, is REALLY found:
ISIS fighter flees bombardment and inadvertently, into the hands of Jesus

Saved from Islam and suicide by a raging river

Report: Bibles for Mideast and an underground ALG Church

Asmath*, born and brought up in a predominantly Muslim country in central Asia, never met her natural father. Five months before she was born, her father divorced her mother and left the family home. When she was only three, her mother re-married, but her stepfather refused to accept her as his own. So she was handed over to a Yateem Khana (orphanage). She grew up there according to the tenets of Islam, and learned to practice all the required rituals.

Girls at a Yateem Khana (representational image)

Girls at a Yateem Khana (representational image)

When she reached the age of 20, a much-older man asked the orphanage if he could marry the young woman. Even though the 60-year old had other wives and children older than Asmath, the orphanage officials told her she had little choice but to marry him. After so many years of isolation and loneliness, she decided to go along with the proposal.

But the man had a heart condition, and died within two months of their marriage. With the funeral service barely over, his children forced her to leave their home, saying it was no longer hers.

So she decided to put an end to her life of misery. She found what seemed like the perfect way: leaping from a tall bridge into a deep river flowing below.

In a village near the banks of the same river, miles downstream, many Muslim families had accepted Jesus Christ into their lives under the ministry of an underground Bibles for Mideast ALG church in their area. The villagers, including the church’s leader Pastor Hamad* and his family, live in mud houses with no modern conveniences. The river banks serve for most of their ‘primary needs’, and Pastor Hamad baptizes new believers in the same river. He always conducts early-morning baptismal services to avoid the spying eyes of authorities and radical Muslim neighbors.

Early one morning, as church members prepared for another of these exciting services, they noticed the body of a young woman lying submerged near the shore of the river. Running to drag her body out of the water, they discovered she was still breathing, but barely.

As onlookers prayed, Pastor Hamad pushed and released her chest and stomach until water began gushing from her mouth. He then breathed into her as others rubbed her feet and palms to warm her up.

She gradually began breathing more easily, opened her eyes and began to talk. They learned how far upriver she had jumped to her death, and realized that only the Lord could have protected her and brought her to them. With the believers joining in, the pastor prayed over her.

He then gave a short gospel message to all gathered around, explaining the salvation possible only in Jesus Christ and the importance of baptism. He then baptized five people, with Asmath intently listening to and watching all that went on.

When the service ended, they brought her back with them to their church, where they participated in a joyful Lord’s Supper as she continued to observe.

That night, Jesus came to Asmath in a dream.

“Fear not. I am your Lord and God,” he said to her. “I am the only one who can be your very present help in trouble. And I am the life and resurrection.”

Then he showed her his nail-pierced hands.  “See, I have suffered this for you,” he said. “for I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands. Have faith in me.”

She knew that it had to have been the Lord Jesus who had rescued her and now offered her new life. The next day she shared her dream—as well as her story—to the pastor, and accepted Jesus as her personal savior and Lord.

Asmath now studies the word of God and helps out with the ministries of the church. She recently asked to be baptised, and just last week she was!

Believers in Asmath’s country attend underground churches and worship as secretly as possible due to severe persecution. Accusations of blasphemy happen regularly and mean dire punishment or death. And it’s not only government officials they fear; terrorist groups war against Christians there as well.

Please pray for Asmath, for all the underground ALG churches and the ministries of Bibles for Mideast.

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* Names changed for security reasons

From radical Islamic murderer to ardent leader in the Kingdom of Jesus

Peter Haneef, now President of Bibles for Mideast's Assembly of Loving God (ALG) Church, grew up in a fanatic Muslim family in a predominantly Islamic Asian country. For reasons that should become obvious in his story below, we cannot share his real name, nationality or location for his and his family’s safety.

“I was strict to follow Islamic rituals and cultures,” he explains. As he grew in his extremist beliefs, he wouldn’t think of associating with anyone from other faiths. “I hated them from my boyhood,” he admits.

One day, he heard about a young Muslim fellow from his area who had become Christian. So he decided to round up seven of his friends and take vengeance on the apostate. They attacked the new convert while he walked to his church on a Sunday morning, brutally stabbing him to death.

“Before he died, I was shocked to see him start praying,” Pastor Peter recalls. The words of the prayer stunned him even more.

“Lord Jesus, receive my life in your hands,” he heard him pray. “I praise you Lord for giving me an eternal home with you in heaven. But Lord, show these friends your forgiving love and great salvation. Bring them unto your fold, so that they may know that you are the resurrection and the life. Amen.” Then he died.

“We laughed at his nonsense, spat on his dead body and threw away our knives. We believed he would surely go to hell as a kafir [Arabic for infidel or unbeliever—Ed.]. The leaders of our mosque appreciated our action. But the police arrested all of us that night.” 

“Because we did it for the sake of Allah and his religion Islam, we thought certainly Allah will save us from all troubles and the religious leaders will stand behind us.”

The court had other ideas. Three of the murderers, Pastor Peter included, received the death penalty. Four others were sentenced to life imprisonment in another jail, while the youngest, a teenager, was sent to a prison for juvenile offenders.

The leaders of the mosque offered no help whatsoever. They refused to get involved with the case, and did not even try to visit their loyal Muslim brothers. The men’s parents decided to try jointly filing an appeal to the higher court.

“The higher court changed our execution order to lifetime imprisonment,” Pastor Peter explains.  “The others now got seven years imprisonment.”

While their outlooks seemed less bleak, the men still lost all hope. Their parents filed another petition to the higher court, but the sentences remained unchanged.

Two years dragged by, and the men found themselves haunted by thoughts and dreams of their victim’s last words. Pastor Haneef’s parents died, only adding to his agony.

One day, several Bibles for Mideast missionaries visited his jail as part of their prison ministry. They arranged a meeting in the recreation hall, and the jailer requested the murderers’ attendance.

With no intention to listen or respond in any way, the men filed into the meeting room. But as Pastor Paul, director of the ministry, shared the dramatic story of his own conversion from Islam they found themselves unable to block out his powerful words. 

“Usually we would have been violent and try to attack him because he was a convert from Islam,” Pastor Haneef explains. “But we did not feel any anger towards him!” That was their first surprise.

When the meeting ended, the three approached Pastor Paul, introduced themselves, and then spilled out the story of their crime. They explained they knew they would never be released from jail, and were equally certain they’d end up in hell. 

Pastor Paul listened quietly. With tears in his eyes, he told them the murdered man had been one of his best friends, a convert to Christianity with the help of his own mission organization. The men were shaken.

“Now he is with our Lord Jesus in heaven praising Him forever,” Pastor Paul explained. “You can go to heaven too, if you really confess before our Lord and accept Him as your Lord and Saviour. He is able to free you from jail, and also from sin and death. He was crucified, died and then rose from the dead for your salvation.”

Practically as one, the three convicts responded to the invitation and accepted Jesus as their saving Lord.

“Then he asked us to kneel down,” recalls Pastor Peter. “He and the other missionaries laid their hands on our heads and prayed for us.  Surprisingly, we all felt great peace.”

That night, Jesus appeared before Pastor Peter.

“I am the light of the world,” he heard Jesus say to him. “Whoever walks in my light will not go to the darkness. Follow me. And you will certainly be free, for I, the Lord of lords and the King of kings, give you freedom. Those who believe in me will have eternal life.”

“He touched me with His nail-pierced hands, and then disappeared,” Pastor Peter remembers with awe.

The other two men, remarkably, had matching experiences that night.

doves from chain final hi res.jpg

“On the third day, as a miracle we heard that the court ordered to release us from the jail! It was absolutely a miracle. We never thought we would ever be out of jail. Indeed Lord Jesus freed us.” 

The other four men were freed the same day from the jail they’d been in. When the new converts shared their experiences with their newly-released friends, they too accepted Jesus into their lives as savior and Lord.

Unfortunately, the men’s families and friends responded entirely differently. Pastor Haneef’s younger brother had by then become owner of the family home, but would not allow his now-Christian brother to enter. The others had similar experiences. All were rejected by their families and communities for their new faith, and had no idea where to go or what to do.

Pastor Paul had a vision from the Lord about their predicament. He contacted them, and invited them to his own small rental home.  All were soon baptized, and stayed with him for about two months. Pastor Paul arranged for the men to receive bible training, and helped them find another house to live in while they studied.

“We had no leave in Bible School for we had nowhere to go,” Pastor Peter recounts. “Four or five days in a month we had a mission trip with Pastor Paul. We learned midnight prayer from him. We adopted it. It is a great asset for our spiritual strength and ministry. After Sunday worship we conducted corner meetings. We got best training there!”

Nine years later, he is married to a fellow former Muslim and has two children. He works diligently as an evangelist and church planter with Bibles for Mideast and leads the Assembly of Loving God (ALG) umbrella organization

All seven of his fellow prisoners work with Bibles for Mideast as well. The man who had been in juvenile detention had been released before them, and unfortunately remains an enemy of Christ and of them.

“We suffer many persecutions, but Lord Jesus strengthens us by the prayers of many children of God,” says Pastor Peter.

Please pray for him, the work of the ministry and for the many desperately needing to discover the truth and peace possible only in Jesus.