Report: Bibles for Mideast and the Assembly of Loving God (ALG) Church in the Middle East
Pastor M, married with two young boys, four and six, works tirelessly and fearlessly building a strong underground church in the midst of unimaginable constraints on what he can ‘legally’ say, do, share, or be in a highly restrictive nation of the Middle East. A former Muslim working with Bibles for Mideast and the ALG, he has an amazing story of his own healing and salvation but we’ll have to leave that for another time.
Two weeks ago, he completely disappeared. Religious police, after finding a gospel tract with his phone number on it, had tricked him into meeting with them. When he agreed and they met up, they brutally beat him before hauling him off to ‘religious court’.
"Why did you leave Islam and become a Christian minister?" the judge demanded at his trial.
"I was a sinner and got into all kinds of trouble,” Pastor M. replied. “I also contracted a serious disease and became a dying patient. But the Lord Jesus Christ saved my life. He healed me, and also rescued me from sin and death by His crucifixion and death on the cross of Calvary. He rose from the dead and still lives. I believed in Him and received salvation. Then, the Lord Jesus Himself called me to His ministry. So I am now trying to help my fellow brethren find salvation as well."
The court ordered he be imprisoned for 15 days. He was told that if he returned to Islam, he would remain in jail for two more years and then be in service to the religious authorities in their fight against Christianity. Should he decide not to renounce Christianity, he would be beheaded. It was as simple as that.
The young husband and pastor refused their demand so was sent to prison to await execution, and the horrible torture began.
The judge of the court had two sons of his own, plus five daughters. Sadly, he lost his older son at 21 last year to testicular cancer. Now his second son faced the same diagnosis. Doctors had given up both hope and treatment for the younger boy, so he lay in bed at home in excruciating pain, waiting to die.
A week after the sentencing, the judge woke in the middle of the night to a mighty voice sounding in the bedroom.
“Release the pastor from jail!” it boomed. “Ask him to pray for your son to be healed.”
Not liking what he heard, the magistrate ignored the plea.
The next day, his son’s sufferings increased to almost beyond what the boy could bear. That night, the judge dreamt a ball of light, somehow encasing powerful words, headed toward him. The words seemed to flow from the light as it approached.
"Release my servant from the prison and ask him to pray for your son!” he heard echo through the room. “With his prayers, your boy may be cured and healed."
Surely this had to be the work of Satan trying to misguide his faith in Islam! He got up, read some portions from the Koran, and did a Sunnah Namaz (ritual prayer done in special circumstances).
The third night, the Lord Himself appeared before the judge.
"I am Jesus, the Son of the Most High,” the man in white proclaimed. “I did die on the cross and now live forevermore [interestingly, Muslims do believe Jesus was raised bodily to heaven by God, but do not believe he died on the cross—Ed.]. You are needlessly persecuting my servant! Release him from prison. Your son will be healed. And, accept Me as your Lord and Savior. This is the only way you and your household can be saved from hell."
Jesus then disappeared. The judge rose from his bed to the sounds of his son screaming out in pain. Rushing to the room, he saw his wife and daughters standing by the bed, weeping. Overcome, he disclosed the details of his dream. They listened in amazement. Without hesitation, his wife and daughters begged him to release the minister and get him over to their house to pray for the boy. The son urged him to as well.
When prison officials got the unexpected order from the judge, they immediately freed the pastor and had him sent to the family’s home.
The judge poured out all he had heard and seen, and asked forgiveness for the prison sentence and execution order. Pastor M of course agreed, and was led to the young man’s room.
He began by sharing the Truth of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.
“Will you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior?” he asked.
The sick young man agreed straightaway. The others followed, kneeling down and inviting Jesus into their hearts and lives.
The atmosphere now thickening with holiness, Pastor M began to pray. As he did, all were filled with the Holy Spirit. The boy jumped from his bed and began to dance, praising and thanking Jesus for his total healing! Everyone rejoiced in the Lord, the family bursting with a joy they’d never known.
The next day, the judge took the minister back to his court, this time to release him according to court law. For the following three days, Pastor M stayed in the magistrate's home, praying, fasting, teaching from the Bible and preparing the new believers for baptism. On the fourth day, the whole family were baptized.
As all this was going on, the pastor’s church knew only that he had been beaten and taken away. They hadn’t heard anything from or about him since his disappearance—when they had immediately launched into a time of concerted prayer and fasting.
At one point, his wife—overwhelmed with the strain of continuous prayer, fasting, and understandable concern—became critically ill. Believers rushed her to hospital where doctors began treating her, and discovered she is carrying the couple’s third child.
She remains in hospital, recovering, but with her husband now by her side. Please pray for them, the church, the believers, and Bibles for Mideast ministry in the Middle East. Further exciting news is that the judge’s son has joined our Lord’s ministry and will be working alongside Bibles for Mideast after more extensive training.
Pastor M thanks all who joined the orchestra of prayer for his release and his wife's recovery.
Please also pray for the next baptism service which he had been planning for his church before being ‘sidelined’. Local fundamentalists may well cause problems and resume persecution of this pastor and the church he loves and leads.