Global persecution of Christians increasing at alarming rates

Report: Bibles for Mideast

Every single day, an increasing number of Christians die for their faith while countless more suffer growing persecution worldwide.  

A report commissioned by the British government released in May concluded that global Christian persecution is now so severe it is close to reaching the international definition of genocide. Islamic oppression, increasing religious nationalism and communism have proven to be the three major drivers behind the current unprecedented levels of worldwide persecution.

Clearly, radical extremists believing the complete opposite of what Jesus taught, are being ever more deceived into thinking that the One Who in fact loves them most, and those believing in eternal salvation through Him alone, are their greatest enemies.

The mission organization Open Doors, in their annual  World Watch List, rank the top 50 countries where Christians face the most extreme persecution. According to their last report, one out of ten Christians live where Christianity is either illegal or forbidden.

Photo Credit: Stephen Perry

Photo Credit: Stephen Perry

“Worldwide, our data reveals that 13.9 percent more Christians are experiencing higher levels of persecution than last year,” says Open Doors official Henrietta Blyth. “That’s 30 million more people.”

Bibles for Mideast works in many of the top-listed countries, engaging in largely clandestine evangelical activities and establishing underground Assembly of Loving God (ALG) house churches.  Pastors and believers face constant persecution and often death threats, but the Lord Jesus miraculously protects them even while saving countless souls. Almost all the posts on our website attest to that.

North Korea, Afghanistan and Pakistan remain in the top five worst places, while the rise in attacks by Hindu extremists in India and tough new laws in China have seen believers in the world’s two most populous countries face ‘extreme’ and ‘very high’ levels of persecution respectively.

“This year, we noticed how Christian women are especially targeted around the world,” reports David Curry, CEO of Open Doors. “Often, they are culturally discriminated against because they are women—and when it’s discovered they follow Jesus, the suffering can be even worse.”

North Korea, Afghanistan, Somalia, Libya, Pakistan, Sudan, Eritrea, Yemen, Iran, India and Syria currently top the list of worst offenders—North Korea retaining its first place position for the past 16 years.

Although the communist North Korean government claims to provide freedom of religion in its constitution, no one can be openly Christian in the atheist state without facing arrest, re-education in a labor camp, or, in some cases, execution. Even so, underground churches have grown tremendously in the last two decades and close to 300,000 Christians live as covert believers under the oppressive regime.

For eight of the top eleven countries on the World Watch List, Islamic extremism proves to be the primary cause of Christian persecution.  Citizens in the 99-percent Muslim country of Afghanistan, second on the list, are banned from becoming Christian. Taliban radicalism continues to grow and new Christian believers have at times been killed by their own family members.

Many Christians have been martyred by Islamic militants in Somalia, third on the list of offenders. With about 99 percent of Somalis being Muslim, the tiny Christian community faces constant threats. In many rural areas, Islamic militant groups like al-Shabab, Al-Qaeda’s Somali-based branch, are de facto rulers. They regard Christians with a Muslim background as high-value targets, and when discovered, often kill them on the spot.

In Pakistan, the sixth largest country in the world and fifth on the persecution list, Christians are considered second-class citizens. Islamists there specifically vilify Christians. In 2016, a suicide bomber targeted members of Lahore's minority Christian community while they gathered at a funfair to celebrate Easter Sunday. Dozens of children were among the dead.

Lahore, Pakistan: Dozens of children among the dead in attack on Christians Easter Sunday 2016

Lahore, Pakistan: Dozens of children among the dead in attack on Christians Easter Sunday 2016

Persecution by means of a notorious blasphemy law, too often falsely leveled, can carry a death sentence. The most well-known example of this has been case of Asia Bibi. After sitting on death row for more than ten years, the Christian wife and mother has been finally acquitted of blasphemy charges yet her life remains in grave danger from radical Islamists. 

Coptic priests among the ruins of their church in Tanta, Egypt

Coptic priests among the ruins of their church in Tanta, Egypt

In fact, 71 of the world's 195 countries have blasphemy laws, with penalties ranging from fines to imprisonment and death.

The 29 countries listed with very high Christian persecution are Nigeria, Iraq, Maldives, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Uzbekistan, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Central African Republic, Algeria, Turkmenistan, Mali, Mauritania, Turkey, China, Ethiopia, Tajikistan, Indonesia, Jordan, Nepal, Bhutan, Kazakhstan, Morocco, Brunei, Tunisia, Qatar, Mexico and Kenya. 

In China, the most populated country in the world, some church leaders are even saying persecution is the worst it’s been since the Cultural Revolution ended in 1976. Chinese authorities have implemented laws prohibiting teachers and students from discussing religion or promoting their faith. Hundreds of churches have been demolished and Bibles are now banned across the country. In October of last year, Chinese police arrested more than 20 Christians for praying in the park.

Beijing has also banned public displays of the cross, and has torn down Jesus posters across the country and replaced them with photos of China's President Xi Jinping.

Christians meeting in a public park in China earlier this year after their services were shut down and their leaders taken away.   look closely :  many have packed bags next to them as they worship. They brought their clothes and personal items to the open-air meeting in case they were arrested and taken to prison.

Christians meeting in a public park in China earlier this year after their services were shut down and their leaders taken away. look closely: many have packed bags next to them as they worship. They brought their clothes and personal items to the open-air meeting in case they were arrested and taken to prison.

High persecution countries include the Russian Federation, Malaysia, Kuwait, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Sri Lanka, Colombia, Bangladesh, the Palestinian Territories and Azerbaijan.

Hindu nationalism continues to grow in India and Nepal, as does Buddhist nationalism in Myanmar and Sri Lanka. Persecution of Christians in central Asian nations, including Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, and Azerbaijan, has intensified under nationalist, pro-Islamic governments.

Please keep our persecuted Christian ‘family members’, fellow citizens of the Kingdom of Jesus who live in increasing danger around the world, in your prayers. Please also be praying for those who, in spite of the increasing perils, refuse to stop sharing the Gospel of Love and Salvation.

We especially appreciate your prayers for the underground ministry of Bibles for Mideast, its leaders and believers. They suffer incredible hardships, yet continue to work and stand in faith boldly for the Kingdom of God. 

Dramatic healing and salvation for young Muslim woman ... and the miracles continue

Report: Bibles for Mideast and an ALG church in the Middle East

Halima*, born into an Arab Muslim family in the Middle East, grew up faithful and obedient to the many practices and rituals of Islam. She married as a teenager, set up home with her new husband, and the couple soon had a baby girl to look after. Within a few years, she conceived twice more, but unfortunately miscarried each time.

About four years ago, Halima developed severe pain throughout her whole body and found herself growing weaker and weaker. After a thorough medical check-up, doctors diagnosed a serious, life-threatening type of blood cancer.

Her husband loved her desperately. He could not imagine life without her or raising their now two-year-old girl on his own. He took her to many oncologists and even to specialists abroad for further treatments. But all medical efforts failed, and a year ago, she had reached the final stages of the disease. Doctors gave her no hope, advising her husband to take her home and give her whatever she needed to help her be as comfortable as possible for the limited time she had remaining.

Before being discharged, however, two Bibles for Mideast women visited her as part of their hospital ministry. When they offered to pray for her, her husband refused and angrily demanded hospital security get the evangelists out. Security staff complied, actually dragging the women out. Halima, however, quietly tucked the sample gospel away in her purse. 

Back in her own bed at home, waiting to die, she retrieved the gospel tract from her handbag and began poring over it. Like all Muslims, she knew historical Jesus had healed all manner of diseases and who knew? Maybe He could still do it. It seemed to her it was worth trying.

She told her husband what she had read and showed him the pamphlet. She then asked if he would call the mobile number printed on its back and see if someone might be able to come and pray for her.

“This is just wicked propaganda of the Christian religion!” he exclaimed. “It is not right for us to contact Christians and ask them to pray for us. Only a Kafir  [Arabic for infidel, or unbeliever—Ed.]  would do that. If we die, we should not die as infidels, but as Muslims. That is the real way to heaven. This Christian connection would only lead us to hell.”

Gazing at her little daughter by her side, now five, Halima began to cry. She reached out to her, pulled her close and held her tight, kissing her sweet face. The girl started crying as well.

This all proved too much for her husband. Relenting, he picked up the brochure and called the number printed on it. A Bibles for Mideast pastor answered. Halima’s husband outlined the details of his wife’s disease, and explained that she would like someone to come and pray for her. He handed the phone to Halima, who spoke to the pastor as well.

After praying for guidance, the pastor called several members of his congregation to join him at the church. Along with the pastor’s wife, they joined together in further prayer. [Situations such as these can be difficult in restricted areas of course. The possibility of a trap to ‘out the Christians’ always exists—Ed.]

"Lord, don't send me to Halima's house unless you come with me," the leader prayed. Sensing affirmation from the Lord, he headed off to the home, asking two church members to join him.

Halima's husband answered the door, invited the Christians in, and led them to his wife’s room—extremely unusual for a Muslim to do.

After the prayer time, the pastor asked the man if it would be okay if he and his church members held three days of fasting and prayer right there in his house.

“We will pray and fast from morning to evening,” he explained. “We won’t eat anything at all. And you must join with us.”

"Well, I will allow you to do your prayers and fasting in this room, only because it’s one of her last wishes,” the husband replied. “But I will not participate with you."

"Your presence is so important for our prayer and fasting," the pastor reiterated.

Halima then spoke up, pleading with her husband to go along with the pastor’s requests. Clearly annoyed, he finally gave in.

fasting breaks the chains 3 lr.jpg

The ALG church began their mission in the home the next day, Halima’s husband a reluctant participant. On the first day he ate his regular meals in his dining room, but by the second and third days he fully joined the fast. Not only that, he carefully listened to the prayers and gospel messages. At his request, the family servant, maids and driver even joined in. The Holy Spirit wonderfully moved among them.

On the third day, Halima saw Jesus! She watched and felt Him touch her head with His nail-pierced hands, and said that it felt as though blood flowed into and through her body from those hands. She jumped to her feet as power surged through her.

"Lord Jesus, you alone are my savior!” she exclaimed repeatedly, dancing and clapping. “You are my everything! Praise you Lord and thank you Jesus!" To the surprise of those around her, she even began speaking in tongues. All the pain had vanished, she announced.

She, her husband and daughter all surrendered themselves before Jesus and accepted Him as their Lord and Savior. The servants and maids also accepted Jesus into their hearts and lives.

The fourth day proved a great time of celebration as the church gathered in the couple’s home to give thanks. All praised and worshiped their saving, redeeming Lord in Spirit and in Truth. As the time of praise and thanksgiving wrapped up, Halima and her husband served everyone food.

Halima of course checked in with her oncologist soon afterwards, who, after examining her and testing her blood, looked at her in amazement.

“This is a total miracle,” he said. “Your blood has no cancer cells. You are completely healed.” 

A few days later, all were baptised and began attending services regularly at the underground church in their area. But the Muslim community, on discovering they had become Christian, did their best to convince them to return to Islam. The little family remained firm and bold in their witness. Militants took to attacking their home with rocks, and threatened to kill them. They felt they had no choice but to escape to another region.

As they planned their departure, their driver and household help all wanted to join them since they had all become Christians as well. But the family knew they would no longer have the finances to support them and said they simply had to find work somewhere else. Still, two of the workers pleaded to come along, even knowing they could no longer be paid, and the family relented. Those left behind promised to never leave their faith in Jesus.

On settling into their new home, in an area with no known Christians, they continued worshipping on their own. The pastor who had prayed for and baptised them visited regularly for the first few months to lead a midweek service for them. With Halima and her husband, he began evangelising in the area. Some listened as they shared the Good News, many scoffed and scolded, and once they barely escaped when attacked. Still, they have managed to win a number of locals for the Kingdom of Jesus and a new underground ALG church was born! ALG Church President Peter Haneef recently appointed a minister to lead the new congregation, with Halima’s husband assisting.

Just last week, Halima gave birth to a baby boy. Both mother and baby, whom they named Abdul Masih—meaning ‘Servant of Messiah’—are healthy.

Please pray for Halima, her husband, children, and all the new Christians meeting in their home.  Please also pray for the ministry of Bibles for Mideast and the ALG Church—that our Lord will protect, guide and bless His work being done in so many dangerous situations.

no fear allowed Teresa of Avila quote for site.jpg

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* Name changed for security reasons

ISIS fighter flees bombardment and inadvertently, into the hands of Jesus

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

Shuhaib* grew up in a fanatically fundamentalist Muslim family who had 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 the official reign of terror in Afghanistan (1996-2001), the Taliban murdered thousands of people and destroyed countless churches and temples. When US-led forces attacked Afghanistan in 2001, Shuhaib was only four years old.  Three of his brothers died in the assault, one of his older sisters went missing, and his mother died without getting proper treatment nor even a burial. Finally his father fled the home with nothing but his youngest son Shuhaib and little daughter Sameera, then seven. 

They hadn’t gotten far before being captured by armed forces in a military truck patrolling the streets. Shuhaib’s dad felt sure they would be killed but to his surprise, when the American soldiers saw the innocent youngsters, they actually helped the family escape. Driving them to a deserted area, they motioned for them to flee and many difficult days later, the young family ended up in a Middle Eastern Kingdom. The father eventually found work, and labored long and hard to support his growing children.

Whenever they thought about their deceased mother, murdered brothers, missing sister and other dead and missing relatives, their rage towards Christians grew. Like many Afghanis, they believed Christians were behind the invasion. So at 17, Shuhaib joined up with a militant group and from there was recruited by ISIS. He served as a faithful commander, but his father and sister never had any idea where he was.

ISIS militants, once on the march but now in retreat and disarray everywhere

ISIS militants, once on the march but now in retreat and disarray everywhere

About a year and a half ago the father died in a tragic accident, and as we reported in an earlier story, his sister Sameera, miraculously touched by the Lord Jesus about a year ago, accepted Him as her personal savior and even joined the ministry of Bibles for Mideast.

What we hadn’t reported is that six months ago, she married an ALG pastor in the Middle East. While no one knew for certain whether Shuhaib was even alive, his sister, her new husband and their whole church prayed fervently for his return, and that he would also join the Christian fold.  

Several days ago, a surgical strike by an anti-terrorist squad completely destroyed the base where Shuhaib and his forces had set up operations. All died except Shuhaib, who was catapulted from the camp like a football. Even though injured, he managed to flee the devastation, the sounds of bomb blasts continuing behind him. As he ran, he could feel someone holding his hand, helping him run even faster.  He also heard a voice from above.

"I am the Way, the Truth and the Life,” it declared. “No one can come to the Father without Me."  He neither understood the words nor had any idea where they came from.

As morning dawned, exhausted and parched Shuhaib had reached a village. He staggered to the door of a house on the outskirts and knocked. A young couple with two small boys by their side opened the door. Shuhaib asked for some water to drink. Inviting him inside, they gave him water as well as food, and bandaged his wounds. They questioned him about where he’d come from but Shuhaib, without the strength even to answer, fell asleep.

It turned out the family were members of a local ALG church, so naturally they began praying for the sleeping stranger. But before they even prayed, they’d received biblical verses they knew applied to him.

"I was sought by those who did not ask for Me; I was found by those who did not seek Me. I said, ‘Here I am, here I am,’ to a nation that was not called by My name.” (Isaiah 65:1)

Then, “a bruised reed He will not break, and a dimly burning wick He will not quench; He will faithfully bring forth justice” (Isaiah 42:3).

As they prayed for the battered young man, they felt God tell them he was someone plucked straight from the fire by the Lord Jesus Christ. They got in touch with their pastor, who, with two other church members, came immediately.

Since Shuhaib still slept when the pastor arrived, he talked the situation over with the couple. Meanwhile, their two youngsters took it upon themselves to wake the fellow up.

"Shall we tell you a holy verse we know by heart?" a little voice queried.

"Yes," groggy Shuhaib replied.

"I am the Way, the Truth and the Life,” the older boy replied. “No one can come to the Father without Me."

"In Him was life, and the life was the light of men." the younger boy piped in.

Stunned, Shuhaib realized he’d been hearing the same words the older boy just recited the whole previous night as he’d been running to safety.

Seeing the visitor now awake, the others came over. Shuhaib asked them about that verse, and explained his own experience with it.

“Those are the words of Christ Jesus, our Savior,” the pastor replied.

At the name ‘Christ Jesus’, Shuhaib rose angrily.

"Are you Christians??” he demanded.

“Yes, we are Christians," the pastor replied politely.

"Well then, thank you for your hospitality. But I'm sorry, Christians have been my enemies since birth. So I’m leaving."

When he tried to, the pastor stopped him gently.

"Brother, the Lord Jesus just saved your life from a great tragedy. Jesus is not an enemy, but a friend of everyone. He rescued you, was with you on your way, and brought you right here. You can go if you want, but please allow us to have a few words of prayer with you before you do. God brought you here for that reason, we believe.”

Annoyed, Shuaib decided to do as they asked, and sat back down.

While the pastor prayed, Shuhaib again fell asleep.  He dreamt Jesus blessed him with nail-pieced hands, while behind Him stood a huge crowd of saintly-looking people. Multitudes of angels overshadowed the scene. Then, among the saintly ones, he clearly saw the bright, smiling face of his sister Sameera right on the front lines.

"I am the Light of Life, the Prince of Peace and the eternal Savior,” Jesus said to him. “I am the First and the Last. Follow me and glorify the Heavenly Father." He then disappeared.

Shuhaib suddenly opened his eyes wider than they’d ever been.

"I believe in you Lord Jesus!" he exclaimed.

Those standing around knew Jesus had visited him. Shuhaib then shared his whole story from the beginning. The pastor related his own testimony of how he had converted from Islam, and then outlined the message of the Gospel. Shuhaib readily accepted Jesus as his personal Savior and Lord.

As the pastor listened to Shuhaib’s story, he put the pieces together and realized he could be none other than Sameera’s brother. He knew Sameera to be married to a fellow Bibles for Mideast pastor and living in another country.

After discussing the situation with Pastor Paul, director of Bibles for Mideast, he contacted Sameera's husband and told him the wonderful news. Within days, the former terrorist joined his sister and her husband at their church, and was baptized there.

We also just learned from Sameera that at likely the same time as her brother met with Jesus in his dream, she’d had a vision of herself worshiping the Lord in Spirit and in Truth alongside her long-lost brother!

Please keep all of these precious people in your prayers.

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Name changed for security reasons

Previous story on Sameera: Jesus heals and saves Afghani girl brought up by Taliban

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

Terrorists JOIN church after Jesus terrorizes their plan to burn it down!

Report from Bibles for Mideast and an ALG Church in the Middle East

Ibrani*, a young man born and brought up in an orthodox Muslim family in a Middle Eastern kingdom, had always strictly followed the rituals and principles of Islam. 

A sister he was close to and loved very much had become Christian two years ago through the ministry of Bibles for Mideast. Her husband and children also joined the Kingdom of Jesus, and all were baptized and became members of an ALG Church. They evangelized whenever possible and brought others to faith in Christ.

Ibrani tried his level best to bring his sister and her family back to Islam. But they would explain to him how they now knew that Jesus was not only a great prophet (as all Muslims believe), but the Living Lord and Son of the Most High God. Jesus was born to the Virgin Mary as a sinless man to take away the sins of all humanity, they told him. His crucifixion on the cross of Calvary served to take away the penalty of sin. He died and rose from the dead on the third day. Only by believing in and accepting Him as Lord and Savior could he be free and attain salvation, they assured him. They even invited him to meet their pastor and attend a worship service, letting him know where and when the church met.

Ibrani would have none of it. He became their sworn enemy and determined to free his region of the scourge of the Christians and their church. Joining up with a group of militants, he formulated a plan to attack the believers and destroy their meeting place. His father, mother, brothers and other sisters all offered him their total support.

The plot entailed pouring petrol on the church during a worship service, then setting it alight in hopes of burning the place down. They received the backing of both local and religious police—who it turns out already knew about the church, but hadn’t yet been able to determine where it met. The religious police in particular were delighted with the new information.

Ibrani and the team collected the petrol in a large container, which Ibrani kept in his own house. They planned to carry out the attack as the church met for Sunday worship last week. 

Around midnight Saturday, the men noticed a fire develop over the petrol jar, and watched in horror as it began spreading to the parts of the house near it. They screamed to waken Ibrani’s family sleeping in other rooms. All woke immediately and ran to safety.

Suddenly, to their astonishment, a man appeared from within the fire.

Jesus in fire wall heart.jpg

"I am the Lord of Heaven and Earth,” he told them with calm authority. “I dwell in the light which no one can come near.

“I am also the burning fire. I can finish you off now, for I am the author of life and death. But I didn’t come to the world to destroy, but to redeem each of you from sin and death. I died for you on the cross of Calvary, and I rose from the dead. Believe in me and follow me. You will have salvation and eternal life."

He then disappeared as quickly as he had materialized, and the burning fire subsided as well. No one doubted that the Jesus Ibrani's sister had told him about had just visited them. They prostrated themselves, foreheads to the ground, convinced now in the Truth of the message she had shared.

While the church had met for prayer and fasting on Friday, the pastor had had a revelation and three members had prophesied about a great tribulation coming to the church. The prophecies warned them to move their meeting place immediately to somewhere far away, even showing them where exactly to go. It turns out the religious police intended to arrest the pastor and church members that Sunday if  the militants’ plans failed.

Ibrani's family members and his band of (former!) militants contacted Ibrani's sister and brother-in-law the same night of their visitation. They met together with the pastor, and shared what all had happened. The pastor taught them more about Jesus and the gospel throughout the night. Everyone accepted Jesus as their personal savior and Lord.

As morning dawned, they all freshened themselves up and travelled to the new worship location for Sunday service. Once there, they openly declared their new faith in Jesus and joined in worship with the believers. The church rejoiced in the Lord for HIS amazing works.

Please pray for the new believers, the pastor and his church, all the churches in the Middle East and the entire ministry of Bibles for Mideast and the Assembly of Loving God Church as we keep marching forward with the Gospel of Love and Life.

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*
Name changed for security reasons