Aggressive Islamic militants now serving God and bringing multitudes to Christ

Shah* once lived the life of an aggressive Islamic militant in a Muslim-dominated south Asian country. While the state officially recognized Christianity as a minority religion, it also considered blasphemy against Allah and the Prophet Mohamed great crimes. So with no justification, many would persecute Christians by falsely accusing them of such a ‘crime’.

One day, Shah saw a young Christian man associated with Bibles for Mideast holding a Bible and explaining salvation and the second coming of Jesus to a young Muslim fellow. Shah approached to set him straight. outlining the Islamic belief about ‘Prophet Jesus (Isa)’. He proclaimed forcefully the Islamic belief about Prophet Jesus (Isa): he did NOT die on a cross, but was elevated by Allah and will come back again as ‘Mahdi Imam’, a Messiah who will rule the rule the entire world for 40 years under Islamic (Shari'a) law.  

The Christian minister calmly and politely shared with him how Jesus, born of the Virgin Mary and living a sinless life, really did die on the cross of Calvary.  He then rose from the dead as a ransom to save all humanity from sin and death. Those who believe and follow Him are washed by His shed blood on the Cross. They are His bride and He is coming back in the clouds to receive them. That, he said, is what the Bible teaches.

"Your bible is annulled and false!" Shah screamed. He slapped the evangelist and grabbing the bible from his hands, threw it to the ground. He then set it on fire. The other man joined Shah in the assault, and the two decided to tie the minister up with a rope.

By this time a mob had gathered. They brutally beat the Christian and afterwards handed him over to the police, accusing him of blasphemy against the prophet Mohamed. The court then sent him to prison and within days, he was dead.

Shah and the young Muslim, Asif* rejoiced when they heard of the evangelist’s death in prison. They became fast friends in their crusade against Christianity, and made a sport of persecuting Christians by falsely denouncing them.

One day, the young men worked up a plan of attack on a group of Christians they’d heard were having an extended meeting for fasting and prayer. As they walked to the meeting place, a man joined up with them. He talked with them about the Son of God.

Protests in Pakistan over the killing of a young Christian couple falsely accused of blasphemy.  While Pakistan has a mandatory death sentence for those indicted for blasphemy, 12 other countries can punish with death people who leave or change their religion: Afghanistan, Iran, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.

Protests in Pakistan over the killing of a young Christian couple falsely accused of blasphemy.
While Pakistan has a mandatory death sentence for those indicted for blasphemy, 12 other countries can punish with death people who leave or change their religion: Afghanistan, Iran, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.

"God sent His Son, born of a virgin woman, not to condemn the world, but so that the world could be saved through him. That man is Jesus, the Son of God." 

Shah and Asif naturally became infuriated, and wanted to beat him up. Instead, they suddenly stepped back in fear. A heavenly host of warrior angels had appeared behind him! And now, he held a burning bible in his hands—looking just like the bible they’d thrown on the ground and burned when they attacked the Bibles for Mideast worker.

The man grew brighter and brighter, His body now shining like many suns. They noticed nail marks in his hands.

In a powerful voice, He proclaimed: "I am Jesus, the Son of God, who was crucified, died and then rose from the dead. I have come to save you. Don’t let Satan misguide you! He is a liar and a thief. The thief does not come except to steal, kill and destroy. I have come that you may have life and have it more abundantly, now and in eternity. Those who gave their lives for me aren’t lost, but are with me in eternal glory. I am totally revealed in this book,” He said. “Follow me and be my witnesses."

"Lord Jesus!” the men cried, closing their eyes and kneeling before Him. “You are our Saviour and Lord! We believe in You!" When they opened their eyes, Jesus and the angels had vanished.

They practically ran to where the Christians were meeting for prayer. The believers reacted in fear when they saw the men rush in. But their alarm turned to wonder as the two shared their experiences with Jesus and boldly declared their new-found faith.

The men spent several days with the prayer group members, learning more about Christianity. But their turning made them enemies of Islamic fundamentalists and terrorists, who set out to kill them. They fled to another area and began seriously studying God’s word, and eventually were anointed pastors. As persecution persisted and grew, the men headed for the mountains and joined in ministry with Bibles for Mideast. It wasn’t long before a new ALG Church was born in one of the mountain villages.

In our first story on Asif and Shah back in November, we reported on their work and a horrific attack they’d suffered, asking for the prayers of God’s people (Urgent prayer request: Pastors attacked and church demolished by terrorists).

God miraculously answered those prayers, so that a mere two weeks later, we had an exciting update: the entire Muslim village is now Christian (Exciting update: entire Muslim village now Christian)!

Please continue to pray for these men and the work they do in so many dangerous areas, as well as for the many new Christians.

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*
Name changed for security reasons

The dangers of happy children?

As persecution persists and grows in the many regions Bibles for Mideast serves, we delight in telling you stories of how the Lord’s work persists and spreads as well … often with surprising results.  

How about this dire government warning issued in a Muslim-dominated region of Africa where house church growth has been remarkable?

“If you see your child suddenly forgiving, jolly, happy, listening to you, not arguing, talking about not hating, these are the signs that they might be going to an underground church.  This is a threat to your family.”

Reported by Christian satellite TV network SAT-7’s ‘people on the ground’ in that country, the organization’s recent newsletter  goes on to detail some of the more honestly threatening conditions believers live under.  

“Church growth has been strong in my country,” an Algerian believer told them, “but recently churches have been subject to a government crackdown, with several being closed.  Every three months, our church holds a baptism, sometimes for more than 100 people.  Then the government closed our own church, along with four others.  But the more problems the church faces, the stronger they grow.”

smiling cuties3 lo.jpg

“We cannot worship regularly in any one place,” another believer explained.  “It would be too dangerous and attract attention.  We are always being watched.  We rotate where we meet and arrive at random times and through different routes.  Everyone is always vigilant.

“When the authorities find an underground church, they enter the room, take all our cell phones, all our computers- anything they can use to extract information to find others like us.  They look for links, for networks of believers, especially house church leaders. They want to know who is influencing us.  And they accuse us of working with ‘foreign enemies’ saying that we are undermining the nation.

“They demand, ‘Who is your teacher?  Where are your Bibles?  Who is your pastor?  You are illegal, propagating false and illegal teachings.  Show us your license to meet!  You are not registered!’  They use threats and intimidation. Without cause, our teachers and pastors are taken away.  They disappear for days, weeks, or are never seen again.”

Will you help us spread the Gospel and establish new churches across these countries and regions so desperate for God’s love?  Only together can we fulfill the Great Commission.

Yes, I would like to support the work of BIBLES FOR MIDEAST

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* SAT-7 broadcasts in Arabic, Persian and Turkish across 25 countries in the Middle East and North Africa, along with about 50 countries in Europe.

Exciting update: entire Muslim village now Christian!

The health of Pastors Shah* and Asif*, attacked in the remote mountain village where they live and serve in Central Asia, continues to improve [original story here: Urgent prayer request: Pastors attacked and church demolished by terrorists]. We praise God for all 45 families of the village who stand with the ministers, encouraging and helping them in their recovery. The other injured individuals have almost fully recovered as well. We thank everyone who has been praying for them.

As reported two weeks ago, several local youngsters, influenced by outside extremists, had demolished the church, health clinic, sewing school and education center, all which had been set up by the pastors. Both ministers as well as a number of believers, including children, had suffered serious injuries. The young attackers’ parents and other elders in the village severely reprimanded them, and advised them to ask the pastors’ forgiveness.

The village’s medical student, home on vacation, paid the young men a visit and full of the love of Christ (with plans to become a missionary doctor), counselled them similarly. They finally agreed.

All the villagers, including the young men, then joined forces and chased the militants from their town. The former ‘temporary terrorists’ then approached the pastors and asked forgiveness for what they had done. The ministers embraced them with brotherly love and prayed for them.

The villagers have since been working hard to rebuild the tin sheet church and the health clinic, all under the leadership of the young people.

Before the attack, 27 of the village’s families counted themselves believers. The other 18 families remained Muslim, but had no complaints against either the church or their fellow villagers who became Christian. The boys who had joined with the terrorists and persecuted the church had come from those families.

To dedicate the newly-constructed church, the pastors held three days prayer and fasting in the building, from Thursday through Saturday.  Even though still weak, Pastors Shah and Asif led the services, with all the villages’ 45 families taking part! 

By the end of the three days, every single one of the those Muslims accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior. So the whole village, in an otherwise entirely Muslim-dominated region, has become Christian!

Thank you for your prayers for the Assembly of Loving God Church and Bibles for Mideast. Please pray now as we prepare for baptismal services for the new believers, as well as for all future activities of the church.

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* Names changed for security reasons

1,268 baptisms and many miracles in three days!

By God’s grace, underground house churches of Bibles for Mideast conducted 127 baptismal services across Asia, Africa and the Middle East over the past three days, with 1,268 former Muslims going through the cleansing waters. In Saudi Arabia alone, 613 people in 72 different areas went through the sacred rite. While threats and attacks accompanied the services, so did the miraculous!

“Because of police patrolling and the threats of attack from Islamic militants and terrorists, we avoid sea shores for the baptisms and held the services inside of our churches.” Pastor Paul, Director of Bibles for Mideast explains. Most churches arranged to have fiber or polythene water tanks erected inside of their prayer halls.

Many did experience attacks or threats.

Baptism in makeshift pool

Baptism in makeshift pool

“A mob of Islamic militants attacked the people of our church on their way to the service,” Pastor Hilal of one church reported. “Nobody knows how it happened, but the people of the mob ended up having a serious argument about something and they divided into two groups.  Finally they fought each other and police came and arrested them all.”

Al Muthalib reported what happened when some radicals attempted to attack the people gathered at his church.

“Some militants smell about the baptism service of our church, and they gathered outside of the church wall with weapons and tried to enter the church compound by jumping over the gate. While jumping, one of them was seriously injured by an iron bar fixed to the top of the gate. The sharp point of the bar went through his body. Others took him to the hospital at once.”

“Police came to search in our church,” Evangelist Davood reported from his area. “But the pastor got information they were coming, so the service ended quickly before they arrived. The people turned the water tank upside down in a corner of the compound and put hollow bricks around and on the tank to hide it.   When police came, they couldn’t find any evidence of a religious service, so they left.”

Salmath shared the wonders witnessed by all at her church.

Water 'boiling' in the tank!

Water 'boiling' in the tank!

“During the baptismal service, a star light descended from above the water tank and water started boiling with steam, but without getting hot.  Till the end of the baptism, the water boiled continuously. All the people who were baptized in that water tank were immediately anointed by the Holy Spirit!”

So many wonderful accounts have come in we are not even able to report them all.

Please keep these new believers in your prayers, and continue to pray for the evangelization of the entire Muslim world.

“I sought the Lord, and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.
This poor man called, and the Lord heard him; He saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, and He delivers them.
Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him.”
— Psalm 34:4-8

Muslim slaughter of Christians in Asia and the Middle East

PAKISTAN
1) A group of Muslim men went into a Christian district, abducted a 7- year-old boy, and took turns gang-raping him before finally strangling him to death with a rope. Locals found the child´s body the next day dumped in a field: "[T]he body was sent for post-mortem examination which revealed that the 7-year-old was killed after being brutally raped," a local said. "The suspects belonged to rich families and were drunk when they kidnapped the child, took him away and they raped him."
2) A week later, another group of reportedly "rich and drunk" Muslims in a car accosted three Christian girls walking home from work. They sexually harassed them, saying "Christian girls are only meant for one thing, the pleasure of Muslim men." When the girls tried to run away, the Muslims chased them down in their car and ran them over, killing one 17-year-old girl.
3) A Christian man was brutally tortured to death by police in an attempt to get him to confess to stealing from his Muslim employer. Khurram, the son of Liaqat Masih, the 47-year-old slain Christian, was also tortured by police for the same reason; he shared his eyewitness testimony of the beating his father endured before expiring. Police stripped him naked, made him stand on a chair, tied his hands behind his back, and hung him from the ceiling, causing Liaqat´s shoulders to become dislocated. Each time the captive´s feet hit the floor, a police officer would pull the rope to lift him up again and continued applying tension to his arms and dislocated shoulders. Because both Khurram and Liaqat adamantly maintained their innocence during the ordeal, the officers continued to beat his tied-up father with wooden logs until he eventually died. About an hour into the beating, the guards noticed that Liaqat was no longer breathing. The officers then released the tension on the rope and laid the father´s beaten body down in a pool of his own urine, said the son who watched. At the autopsy, doctors concluded that Liaqat died of a heart attack and failed to record the numerous injuries and bruises suffered during the beating.

BANGLADESH
ISIS claimed responsibility for the murder of an 85-year-old Muslim man for reportedly converting to Christianity. He was found lying in a coffin-like structure with blood on his chest. It is believed that he was stabbed to death while working at his homeopathic practice. According to the report, "Soldiers of the caliphate were able to eliminate the apostate, named ´Samir al-Din´, by stabbing him with a knife." Although al-Din´s son claims that his father never converted to Christianity and frequently prayed facing Mecca, One Way Church disagrees, stating that he was just "in a meeting of the church at Gopinathpur village on Jan 3" and that he had told others that his life was in danger. "The local church has shown us papers confirming his conversion to Christianity in 2001," said local police.

SYRIA
A bomb attack on a mostly Christian neighborhood killed three people and wounded 10 others, all Christians. The attack occurred on January 24 in the Kurdish city of Qamishli. While rumors began that ISIS was behind it, according to one Christian leader, "So many people think that behind the bombing there could also be Kurdish masterminds and executors. It is another disturbing factor of this war: there is terrorism, but sometimes we do not know who really terrifies us."

EGYPT  
"The tombs of the Copts [Egypt´s indigenous Christians] are being turned into garbage dumps." This was the message from Fr. Ayoub Yousef, who heads the Coptic Catholic church of St. George in the village of Dalga, in Minya, Upper Egypt. According to the priest, local Christian cemeteries are in a "piteous state," with all types of sewage and waste being dumped into them to the point of filling the tombs. He has filed numerous complaints with the prime minister and many other officials "to no avail, to the point that the situation has become unacceptable" and urged "immediate intervention."
Separately, during a televised Egyptian talk show that aired January 18, Ahmed ´Abdu Maher, a lawyer, denounced Al-Azhar, the Islamic world´s oldest and most prestigious university, for continuing to radicalize its students. By way of example, he said: "There is a book in Al-Azhar that calls for the forceful shaving of the heads of the Copts, placing a sign on their homes [so Muslims know where the ´infidels´ live], and refusing to shake hands with them." As it happens, the Islamic State and similar Muslim groups all make it a point not to shake hands with "unclean" Christians (one Egyptian cleric said he finds Christians utterly "disgusting") and that Christian homes should be distinguished with signs, as ISIS did when it placed the Arabic "N" (nun) letter on their homes in Mosul and elsewhere. Even forced head-shaving is being practiced. Back in 2013, jihadi groups in Libya abducted around 100 Copts and abused them— including shaving their heads.

TURKEY
Out of almost two million Syrian refugees within Turkey´s borders, 45,000 are Christian and are finding that "life is only slightly better at best." Many have to pretend to be Muslims in public in order to avoid being attacked. They restrict their Christian worship to the privacy of their tents and homes.
According to the report, another group of refugees in Turkey that was attacked is the Armenians. Zadig Kucuk reportedly found his 85-year-old mother murdered in December 2012, even though she was living in a large Armenian community in Istanbul. When her body was found, a large cross had been carved into her chest. There have also been incidences of refugees being beheaded.

IRAN 
Instead of receiving much needed medical treatment, a Christian prisoner was instead given five additional years in prison. Ebrahim Firouzi was first arrested by agents of the Islamic Republic in 2013. He was later condemned by a court of law to one year in prison and two years´ exile. After his sentence ended, Firouzi was kept in prison when new charges of "acting against national security" were levied against him. He remains in prison even though he has been suffering acute pain in the left side of his chest for over a year, and his condition has continued to deteriorate in the last three months.

KAZAKHSTAN
After he appealed the decision, a court in Astana, the nation´s capital, increased the sentence originally handed to Yklas Kabduakasov, a convert from Islam, from seven years’ house arrest to two years’ hard labor in a prison camp. The father of eight was arrested last year on charges of "inciting religious hatred." He was convicted last November and allowed to go home to begin his seven years of house arrest. Local Christians believe the real reason behind the arrest of Yklas Kabduakasov is his conversion from Islam to Christianity and that he was sharing his Christian faith with Muslims.

MALI
A Swiss Christian missionary abducted for ten days in 2012 has been kidnapped again in Timbuktu. On January 8, Beatrice Stockly, a woman in her 40s, was taken from her home before dawn by armed men who arrived in four pickup trucks. Militant Islamic groups are active in the area in which she lives and had launched two attacks in the previous weeks, one of them on a Christian radio station just before Christmas, which left 25 people dead. In 2012, when the jihadis ruled the area, they outlawed the practice of Christianity and desecrated and looted churches and other places of worship.

KUWAIT
Lawmaker Ahmad Al-Azemi said that he and other MPs will reject an initially-approved request to build churches because it "contradicts Islamic sharia laws." He added that Islamic scholars are unanimous in banning the building of non-Muslim places of worship in the Arabian Peninsula.

GERMANY
Hegumen Daniil, Father Superior of St. George the Victorious Monastery in Gotschendorf and a member of the Integration Committee at the German Federal Chancellery wrote In a letter to the Federal Minister of Germany for Special Affairs:
”Christian refugees from Syria, Eritrea, and other countries are exposed to humiliation, manhunts, and brutal harassment at the camps for refugees by their Muslim neighbors. This also relates to the Yazidi religious minority. The cases when humiliation turns to injuries and death threats are frequent. …. According to the Islamic tradition, they [former Muslims, who are at special risk] should be punished, because they moved away from Islam. They are exposed to great pressure and are afraid for their lives, because ‘renegades’ lose any right to it as far as radical Muslims are concerned. Many Christians who came from the Middle East are suffering from such great harassment that they want to return home, because their situation there seems to them to be a lesser evil as compared with the circumstances in the German refugee accommodation centers.”

INDIA
Pastor Sumati Prakash was badly beaten and his hands and legs broken on March 23, 2016. He was attacked by 25-30 people including the Sarpanch. He pastors a church in Sabli village in Doongerpur, Rajasthan.