Mohammed finds Jesus in Mecca!

Mecca! Mohammed shivered with excitement. To think he was really here, at the heart of Islam in Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of the great Prophet whose name he bore—the dream of a lifetime!

Although Mohammed served as an imam (pastor) at his local mosque on the island of Sumatra, Indonesia, he had never before made a pilgrimage to Mecca, as all devout Muslims must do at least once. This first hajj in May 1992 fulfilled Mohammed's commitment to the fifth and last pillar of Islam. He went full of expectation that the trip would represent the spiritual climax of his life.

On his first day in Mecca, Mohammed signed up for a bus tour of some outlying holy sites. The next morning he arrived early for one of the many regularly scheduled departures, and he sat right behind the bus driver to get a good view out the front window. He was glad the coach did not fill up and seats nearby remained empty.

The bus shifted into gear and headed down the road toward the city of Medina and the shrines they would visit. In Medina the Prophet Mohammed had established his theocratic state after fleeing a murder plot in Mecca in the year 622. With Medina more than 200 miles north of Mecca, Mohammed had plenty of time to strike up a conversation with the bus driver.

Above the drone of the engine they exchanged chit-chat, using English as a common language.

"Yes, this is my first hajj," Mohammed told the dark-haired driver whose face framed deep, penetrating eyes. "I'm from Sumatra, a Malay—one of the largest Muslim people groups in Southeast Asia."

The driver swiveled his head sideways enough to see Mohammed. "You know, you really shouldn't have spent all your money coming here."

Mohammed figured he had misunderstood. He leaned forward to catch the driver's words. "Excuse me?"

"Coming here on pilgrimage is really a waste of money," the driver repeated unmistakably. "All the rituals seeking to get into Allah's good graces—when you stop to think about it, Islam is full of hypocrisies."

Stunned, Mohammed  could only listen as the man went on to point out issues he had never considered. For over an hour they conversed as the bus rumbled on through the desert.

"The truth is," said the driver, turning to look straight at his passenger, "God wants to know you personally, as a friend, not just at a distance through rituals. Islam can't give you that kind of relationship."

With their destination approaching, the driver slowed and downshifted to park at the site. Everyone disembarked, but Mohammed's head spun with new, unthinkable thoughts. In a daze he followed the tour group, yet now everything seemed confused.

What did the driver mean? Where did he get such a perspective? How could I possibly run into a person like that in the Holy Land!

After the tour Mohammed hurried back to meet the returning bus, eager to get a seat by the driver and resume their conversation. But when he boarded, he looked up to see the face of someone new. His spirits sank.

"What happened to the earlier driver?" he asked the man behind the wheel.

He got little more than a shrug in response.

Intense pleas to Allah for forgiveness in Mecca

Intense pleas to Allah for forgiveness in Mecca

Mohammed found a seat and stared out the window. During the trip back to Mecca, his heart burned with the words of the man on the morning bus. He felt he could recall the whole conversation from beginning to end.

Mohammed's hajj lasted more than a week, but the excitement and anticipation he had brought with him fizzled like air from a leaky tire. Everything he saw and did etched fresh questions and doubts into his mind. As he continued his pilgrimage, he scanned all the buses lined up at each tour site, but never saw his driver again.

Back at home, Mohammed's family wondered why he had not returned bubbling with joy from his spiritual zenith. In the solitude of his thoughts he pored over the events of his hajj. He could not forget the driver's words or his face. Yet Mohammed's spirit grappled with perplexities. If Islam is not the true faith, what is?

A few days later, Mohammed dropped by the home of a neighbor we will call A-Ching, a Chinese Christian, to borrow something. A-Ching welcomed him inside with customary Indonesian hospitality. As they chatted, Mohammed's eyes lit on something hanging from A-Ching's wall. There within a picture frame he saw the face of his bus driver from Mecca!

Mohammed gasped, pointing to the picture. "A-Ching! Do you know this man?"

"Yes, I do," came the reply. "That's Jesus. You know Him as Isa."

Mohammed sat still as a stone. Isa! The second-highest prophet in Islam—the Christians' Messiah! Could it be ...?

When he found his voice, he spoke up quietly. "I have a story to tell you, A-Ching."

His neighbor, just as shocked at the tale, listened in silence. When Mohammed finished, he began to choke up, suddenly overcome with conviction of his sin. A-Ching explained the truths Jesus had declared about His own identity and purpose.

"Mohammed, you can receive salvation as the free gift of God through Jesus Christ," A-Ching told him. "You can have a personal relationship with God."

Mohammed prayed and committed his life to Christ. When he returned home, he gathered his family and spilled out the whole account. Awed at his story and his transformation, they, too, confessed Jesus as Lord and Messiah.

A-Ching introduced Mohammed privately to the pastor of his local fellowship. Then, for their own protection, a network of believers spirited the new convert and his family to a safe house in another city where they could receive biblical teaching without risking retribution from angry Islamists.

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Mohammed's trip to Mecca indeed proved to be the turning point of his spiritual life. But he never expected supernatural revelation to come through his bus driver.

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This story has been excerpted, with permission, from Stories from the Front Lines by Jane Rumph.

Resurrection life and healing for an abused young Muslim woman

ReportAssembly of Loving God (ALG) Church

Seydath (not her real name) grew up in a poor fundamentalist Muslim family in Central Asia. When only six, her father died, and her mother remarried a year later.

As Seydath grew into a beautiful young woman, her stepfather’s unwanted attentions grew unbearable. While she knew she wasn’t safe, she had no way of escape. 

At 13, her stepfather and the Imam of the local mosque brought an elderly man to their home for a visit. He turned out to be a rich Arab from the Middle East who, once he saw her, decided she should be his next bride. For a sum, her mother and stepfather gave their young daughter to the man. He then returned to the Middle East with her as his fifth wife—far younger than his other wives and younger even than his grandchildren.

When the elderly Arab died four years later, the other wives and their children forced Seydath to become their servant. With a young child to raise but without proper food or care, the two lived a subsistence, isolated existence. When the child fell ill with pneumonia, it soon died due to lack of medical attention. Seydath had no idea how to approach the authorities, get help from anyone, and had no contacts with her native people. As the years passed, she persistently endured but barely survived.

At 40, Seydath developed serious back pain. No one in the household she worked so hard for cared. As the pain increased, she grew less and less able to function. Not until completely disabled was she admitted to the common ward of a hospital.

Doctors diagnosed severe, final stage, terminal bone cancer. None of her ‘family’ visited her in hospital, or seemed to even care she was dying.

Seydath became plagued by dreams and visions of evil spirits coming and going, attacking her body, increasing her pain and laughing at her. When doctors and nurses came, she would imagine they were agents of death, and scream at them in terror.

One day, several women working with Bibles for Mideast dropped in on her as part of their regular hospital evangelism. Near delusional, Seydath figured they too were forces of evil. She shrieked at them as she had with the hospital staff. The women merely moved back slightly from her bed and began praying in earnest.  An angel suddenly appeared to Seydath, smiled at her, and calmly reached out to touch her.

“Don’t be concerned. Be at peace,” the angel said sweetly. “You have a great healer, the Lord Jesus. He will heal you by His stripes. Trust in Jesus and believe in Him." It then vanished.

Seydath felt overwhelming peace. She looked at the women holding their bibles and praying. She knew now they had to be agents of healing and life, not death. So she called them over.

"Who is this Lord Jesus, the great healer?" she asked them.

The women told her about Jesus Christ and His mission. She listened, but as a practicing Muslim, could not accept their message. The Jesus she believed in was a prophet, not the Son of God.

"I am waiting for my death," she told them. "I won't believe in your Jesus and don't want to go to hell as a Kafir [one not believing in Islam]. I only believe in Allah and his prophet Mohammad. So please leave me alone."

That evening, a Bibles for Mideast group of believers gathered together in an underground church of the Assembly of Loving God (ALG) Church, and prayed for her the entire night.

The next day, Pastors Peter and James visited her in the hospital. Even as they entered her room, she had been dreaming of and sensing the evil spirits unleashed against her. She opened her eyes as the pastors approached, and witnessed the evil spirits flee.

Pastor Peter opened up to her more about Jesus, the risen Lord and Saviour.

“Jesus was crucified on the cross of Calvary, died and resurrected from the dead to save us from hell and give us eternal life,” he explained. “He is the one sitting at the right of Almighty Father God to receive His people to heaven. He lives and does miracles. By His stripes we are healed. If you accept Jesus as your Lord and Saviour, you will be saved.”

Both pastors then shared their own dramatic stories of conversion from Islam.

Seydath listened carefully, remaining silent. When the pastors asked permission to pray for her, she consented since, whenever they spoke, she could feel such peace and even relief from her pain.

As the pastors prayed, she fell asleep. She dreamed that Jesus appeared before her, and gently touched her from head to toe with His nail-pierced hands. He then asked her to get up from the bed and be His witness.

The pastors were still praying when she woke up. She rose, then just as quickly knelt down by the bed.

"I believe in Jesus as my personal saviour and Lord!” she announced to them. “He really was crucified, died and rose from the dead for me. From now on, He alone is my Saviour." With one voice, all three exclaimed “Amen!”

Seydath now makes her home with the Bibles for Mideast women, worshiping Jesus and studying the word of God.

"Never in my life have I experienced such happiness,” she says with conviction. “My Lord Jesus totally showers me with great joy. Praise His Name!"

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Please pray for Seydath. Please also keep up your prayers for Pastor Paul and his family. He is still in hospital undergoing treatment after his major brain surgery, needed due to the stoning by Islamic militants immediately following a baptismal service last month (that story here). He is expected to be released in about ten days.

He and his family do, however, remain under death threats. They survived a recent commando attack by terrorists, thwarted due to an intelligence report to the police (more details cannot be revealed). Our mighty Lord keeps them under His wings by your prayers.

End-time prophecy about the Middle East

Special message from Pastor Paul

It is the end-time harvest. Our Lord will be returning to take His bride in glory at any time. Before His return we have to take the Gospel to the unreached, especially in the Muslim world. Because of that, we do not fear persecution or death for His name's sake. The harvest is plentiful and the laborers are few.

Our Lord has given us clear information about the Middle East through prophetic words. The Arabian Peninsula will soon face absolute devastation. Oil fields will burn and some countries will disappear.

And our Lord will break the power of Islam in order to set the nations of the Middle East free. Some populations will turn entirely to the Lord. The Glory of the Lord will be such that thousands, even those injured by nuclear radiation, will be healed!

By the guidance of the Holy Spirit, Bibles for Mideast ministers wholeheartedly for this great breakthrough and end-time harvest.

We ask the prayers of those waiting His soon coming in glory

“For you yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. When they say, ‘There is peace and security,’ then sudden destruction will come upon them, as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and there will be no escape! But you, beloved, are not in darkness, for that day to surprise you like a thief; for you are all children of light and children of the day; we are not of the night or of darkness. So then let us not fall asleep as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober….” [1 Thess. 5:2-6]

Daughter of Muslim ruler under house arrest for Christian faith

Najima (not her real name) is the daughter of a Muslim ruler. She had firmly believed in and practiced Islam from childhood—reciting the Qur'an, praying (namaz) five times a day, fasting during the month of Ramadan and giving alms (zakat) to the poor and needy.

While she went to a western university for her higher education, she still never missed practicing ‘the pillars Islam’.

One day she noticed a small piece of paper stuck in a crease at the table at which she was sitting. She pulled it out and read: "For God made Christ who had no sin to become sin for us, so that in Christ we could become right with God." (2 Cor 5:21).

The verse struck her. ‘How can Jesus possibly be made to be sin for us?’ she asked herself, then threw the tract into the waste paper basket. But the verse kept invading her mind. Trying to forget it, she went bed.

But as much as she tried, she couldn’t get the verse out of her thoughts, nor escape into sleep.

Suddenly, she saw and felt her room fill with light. From that light, a voice spoke.

"Daughter, you're a sinner.  There is no one righteous, absolutely none. All have messed up and fallen short. But I came to take away all of your sins. I paid the ransom for many. Believe me and accept me … and I will give you eternal life."

She knew it had to be Jesus’ voice. Undone, she knelt down and accepted him as her personal savior and Lord.

She declared her new faith to her friends first. When she told her family, her father and brothers exploded in rage. They stripped her naked, bound her to a chair, and wired it up to a metal plate to electrocute her. She asked them to at least lay a bible in her lap.

"If you want to die together with your false religion, so be it," her father replied,

"That will show that your religion is powerless," one of her brothers added

Although they had bound her, she could still touch a corner of her bible. She then noticed a strange peace, as though someone were standing beside her.

Her father and brothers pushed the plug into the socket—and nothing happened. They tried four times with various cables, but it was as though the electricity refused to flow.

Finally, her father, angry and frustrated, hit her and screamed, "You are no longer my daughter!" He then threw her out into the street, naked.

Najima ran through the neighborhood, humiliated and in pain. People looked at her, curious rather than shocked. Shaking and tearful, she finally made it to a friend’s house. Her friend let her in, clothed her and gave her shelter.

The next day, her friend asked neighbors what they had thought when they had seen a girl running naked through the streets.

"What are you talking about?" they responded. "We saw a girl running with a wonderful white dress, like an angel.  We asked ourselves why someone so beautifully clothed had to run through the streets. With that dress, she almost looked like she was flying!"

God had hidden her nakedness from their eyes, clothing her in a beautiful white dress.

She became stronger in her Christian faith. But her father learned of her location. Her mother and  brothers went to see her to convince her to come back. But she would not, and reiterated her solid faith in Jesus Christ.

Her father then went himself, and took her back to their home by force. She remains there under house arrest. Because of her change of faith, he banned all other religious movements and activities in his region.

Recently, two women missionaries of Bibles for Mideast visited Najima at her home. Wearing veils, they introduced themselves as her university classmates, and so got permission to see her. Happy to see them, she prayed with the women. She asked that children of God around the world pray for her. She also asked that we pray that her father, mother, brothers, sisters and all the Muslims of her country experience the salvation of Jesus Christ.

"The Lord Jesus Christ gave me freedom from sin and death,” she said to the missionaries. “I experience that real freedom and peace in my mind."

She concluded with, “Amen and Halleluiah!”

Jesus protects persecuted new convert from Islam by the 'power of His right hand'

Maheen* had always been an observant Muslim. When given a Bible by a team distributing them in his neighbourhood, he took one, brought it home, but never looked at it. Why should he? He had the Koran.

One night while he slept, he says an angel came to him and touched him on the shoulder.

“Read Acts 26:23 from the Holy Scripture which you received,” the angel told him. Whether a dream or a vision he wasn’t sure, but it certainly struck him as strange. Too tired to react otherwise, he fell back asleep.

A short while later, the angel touched his shoulder again, more firmly this time. “Get up and read Acts 26:23 from the bible you were given. It is a verse for you.”

Still groggy and half-asleep, Maheen had a hard time trying to process what was going on. So he decided to ignore the unusual occurrence again, and go back to sleep.

The angel appeared a third time, nudging him forcefully. “Get up and read the verses as I said!”

Maheen bolted out of bed, frantically grabbed his new bible, and began to read from the Book of Acts.

“That the Christ was to suffer, and that by reason of His resurrection from the dead He should be the first to proclaim light both to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles.” (Acts 26:23)

The striking visitation, the power of God’s Word, and the Holy Spirit brought Maheen to his knees. He acknowledged his sins before God and accepted Jesus as his Savior and Lord.

He became a strong believer in Jesus Christ. As much as he tried to convince his wife Muneera* of her need for salvation, of the importance of reading and meditating on the Bible, the Word of God—she would have none of it. Further complicating the situation were the attitudes of her brother Siddhiq*, an Islamic extremist working nearby in Saudi Arabia.

Maheen desperately wanted to be baptized, but waited months, hoping and praying his wife would join him in his new faith and be baptized with him. He finally decided to take the step alone.

When Muneera told her brother of the new development, he flew in immediately from Saudi Arabia. He implored Maheen to return to Islam, offering him an outstanding employment opportunity if he’d move to Saudi Arabia. He could even have an immense home and property as part of the deal.

"My Lord Jesus is far, far above any of the offers of this world,” Maheen replied. “I may be killed, but I will never deny Jesus, for He is my Lord and Savior, and granted me eternal life."

This infuriated Siddhiq. While his sister watched in horror, he joined with others he had traveled with and brutally beat Maheen. They then locked him in a dark room. For 17 days he remained locked away in darkness, without proper food or facilities, and unable even to see his wife.

Everyone felt sure Maheen would change his mind and come back to Islam. Instead, he grew stronger in his faith with each passing day. So they decided the only way to save Muneera from her husband would be to kill him.

She couldn’t believe it. How could her own brother, her own family, including her own father, even think of killing her husband? So she implored God, the Almighty, to intervene.

While praying, she had a vision of heaven and saw the Lord Jesus seated on the throne. And there was Maheen, her husband, at His right hand being held safe, praising Him along with the angels! While she couldn’t understand it, she could see human souls being washed by blood which flowed like a beautiful stream from the heart of Jesus.

When she tried to reach out to her husband, she couldn’t even get close. A huge gulf spanned the distance between them. Then she noticed a bridge in the shape of a cross over the gap, but when she tried to go towards it, it was taken back to heaven.  

Shaken to her core, Muneera began to weep. She took her own step of faith and accepted the Lord Jesus as her Savior. Who else could this be but the savior of humanity? She prayed that Maheen would not be harmed.

She then phoned the leader of the team who had been distributing the free bibles and holding the underground worship services Maheen had been attending. She explained to him all that had happened.

He explained that he too was a convert from Islam and often faced similar hardships. He arranged to visit the area, meeting up with a group of local believers first, all also converts from Islam. They prayed together, then met with a politician in the region. With his help they were able to secure the assistance of a senior police officer who freed Maheen from the dark room that had been his prison for over two weeks.

That same evening, a mob under Siddhiq’s leadership gathered with weapons to attack the church leader. A group of secret believers in Jesus heard of it and Immediately moved him to another house where the terrorists couldn’t find him. The prayers of the children of God certainly moved to save and protect Maheen as well as the Christian leader.

Maheen with bibles for distribution

Maheen with bibles for distribution

Maheen and Muneera now have two children, a boy and a girl. They work with Bibles for Mideast, distributing bibles, Christian literature and helping establishing house churches in their area of the Middle East.

“It is a great task,” they explain. “We have to work very secretly. We worship secretly. We collect bibles for distribution also in a secret way. We are in need of support, but we don’t get it.”  Both retain secular jobs to earn enough for themselves and the work of their team. Please pray for them!

If you feel led to support the work of acquiring and distributing bibles and establishing house churches for new believers, please use the form here.

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* names changed for security reasons