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.

 ________________________
*
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.

______________________
*
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.

_________________________
*
Name changed for security reasons

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.

________________
* Names changed for security reasons

Urgent prayer request: Pastors attacked and church demolished by terrorists

Report: Pastor Peter Haneef for Bibles for Mideast and the ALG Church

Bibles for Mideast has a mission field along with an ALG (Assembly of Loving God) Church in a remote mountain area of Central Asia among poor villagers. By God's grace, Pastors Shah* and Asif* work among the dozens of villages in this cold, Muslim-dominated northern area. Both men had once been enemies of the Lord Jesus as Islamic militants, but God captured them and made them mighty witnesses for Him in the mountain villages (God willing, we will tell you their testimonies another time).  

A few years ago, Pastors Shah and Asif went to share the gospel in one of the villages, where 45 families lived.  The Holy Spirit guided them to a poor family suffering many problems. The father was completely bedridden after a stroke and his wife battled cancer. Their eldest son had been imprisoned for murder; their second son went missing, presumed to have joined up with terrorists and then been killed by the army. Their eldest daughter had severe psychiatric problems and the second had committed suicide because of an illegal pregnancy and failed love affairs. Their third daughter, unmarried, helped her parents and her mentally-ill sister.

With no income and near starvation, the family decided one day to put an end to it all and commit suicide. That same day, our Lord brought our pastors to that very house. They learned the details of the family’s situation and prayed for them, and set about making sure they would have daily food. 

Both parents felt some relief after the prayers. They invited the pastors to stay with them, and so began their ministry in the area.

For the next three days, the men prayed and fasted for the household and the whole village. Soon, the father found he was able to stand up! The mother’s cancer vanished and the elder sister recovered her ‘right mind’. All then joined with the pastors as they prayed and fasted, and each readily accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Slowly the ministers became a solid part of the family.

A few months later, Pastor Shah and the elder girl—the one who had been mentally ill—became husband and wife.  He had prayed for wisdom and direction and felt the Father’s release for the marriage. Pastor Asif blessed their union in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. 

As time went on, our pastors developed good relationships with the other families in the village. All thought highly of them because of the miraculous healings and their loving service to the family and friendliness with the villagers. 

They opened a village school for the children and began teaching them Bible stories. They then started educating illiterate adults and set up a sewing school in the village for young women.. Soon they started a prayer fellowship and invited the villagers to attend services, which most did. Many experienced miracles through those prayers.

Pastor Asif felt led of the Lord to ask the youngest daughter’s hand in marriage, so both couples live together with the parents. Having two children each, it became a full and happy home.

Every evening, villagers gather together at one of the houses and have a prayer service under the leadership of the pastors. They sing songs, have a Bible class, meditate on the Word of God and join in intercession. In this way, 27 families accepted the Lord Jesus and a new ALG Church was born. They built a tin shed to meet in, and set aside part of the shed for a medical clinic. The villagers who did not accept Jesus still silently approved the believers since they received so much help from the pastors.

Two nurses serve at the clinic and a doctor comes from hundreds of miles away and stay three days a month to treat and check up on patients. The church pays the physician's expenses and a small allowance to the nurses, while patients receive free care.

One of the new believer's daughters, a brilliant student, scored high marks in school. She had a desire to study medicine, but neither her family nor the church could fund her. So the headquarters of Bibles for Mideast decided to sponsor her studies, and sent her to another country to study. Now a second-year medical student, her hope is to serve in her village as a missionary doctor and win more souls for Christ. She is the first person to study medicine not only from that village, but from the whole region.

Everything seemed to be progressing smoothly.  But the people of neighboring villages didn’t like any of the activities of the pastors and the church, so began persecuting them. A group of fundamentalists came from one of the towns to visit the villagers in an attempt to convince them to obey Islamic law and refute Jesus. A few youngsters joined with them and began threatening the families of the pastors and other believers.  All, however, stood strong in their faith.

Recently (Nov. 25), the young villagers who had been influenced by the outside extremists decided to attack while the new Christians met for Sunday worship. They completely destroyed the meeting house and clinic, as well as the sewing school and education center. Both pastors and several believers, including children, suffered serious injuries.

The situation is now extremely dire. They have no way to get the injured to a hospital, since the nearest one is more than a hundred miles away and they have no vehicles at all. The doctor has not visited for over a month due to threats from the militants. The nurses are doing what they can to treat and care for the wounded.

We request your urgent prayers for them. Our Lord alone can help and protect them by the prayers of the children of God.

 ____________________
* names changed for security reasons

EXCITING UPDATE: entire village now Christian!

Praising His amazingness: abducted pastors miraculously released in Middle East

Report: Bibles for Mideast and the ALG Church in the Middle East

On a Sunday evening two weeks ago, Assembly of Loving God (ALG) pastors Firos* and Altaf* were visiting an Arab Muslim in his home in the Middle East. The Christians shared the gospel with the man, and his entire household had gathered around, listening intently.

As leaders of an underground ALG church** in the area and with families of their own, the men used their ‘spare time’ to engage in personal evangelism and distribute bibles among local Arab Muslims. About 50 former Muslims now met regularly with them for prayer, worship, and learning more about their new and living faith.

This particular country has extremely harsh attitudes towards proselytizing, especially attempts to convert Muslims to Christianity. As the men shared the Gospel of Life that Sunday evening, a neighbor noticed the goings-on and informed the imam of the local mosque.

Late evening namaz (prayer) was ongoing at the mosque, a requirement called Isha’ [Muslims are supposed to perform namaz five times per day, with Isha being the fifth—Ed.]. When Isha ended and the people learned of the evangelical activity in their neighborhood, an angry mob formed under the leadership of the imam. They armed themselves with a variety of weapons and headed to the home. Bursting in on the family, they brutally attacked the evangelists. They dragged the pastors to their mosque, tied them to a pillar, and kept up the beating. Firos and Altaf clutched their bibles to their chests, but the mob snatched them away. Shouting and laughing wildly, they set the men’s bibles on fire.

The imam told the pastors to leave Jesus and come back to Islam, offering them a number of official state positions if they agreed.*** But they turned down his appeals.

The ONLY fire and sword that matters

The ONLY fire and sword that matters

"Jesus is our Lord and Savior,” they bravely declared. “He saved us from the sin and death we knew and experienced in our own lives. Now we are new creations in HIM. You may kill our flesh, but we will have an everlasting life with our Savior in Heaven. So we will never lose our faith in Jesus, no matter what happens."

This provoked the people even further. They dragged the men to a cellar and abandoned them there for three days, without even a drop of water to drink. But the pastors looked to their Lord. For the entire three days and nights they praised and prayed. Being so with their Lord in Spirit, they didn’t feel any pain, hunger or thirst, nor were even aware of the passing time.

After the three days, the mob handed them over to a terrorist group, who threw them into a cellar in another location. For nine days they endured more brutal torture and again, no food or water. They were given dire warnings that unless they return to Islam and join the fight against Christians and Christianity, they would be killed and their bodies hung in a public place.

This proved hardly a threat to the pastors. For the sake of Jesus, they knew they could endure any persecution. They personally prepared themselves to die, assured of the greatest high hope of living even closer with Christ. 

Yesterday (Friday) morning, the terrorists tied the men’s hands behind their backs and took them out into an open area. Midday approached and temperatures soared. They told the pastors to kneel down. When they did, they tied their legs together as well.

Two men stood behind the kneeling pastors, wielding razor-sharp blades.  The killers tried to cover the Christians’ faces, but someone told them not to bother.  ‘Let them see and experience even more fear as they are being executed,’ they explained. 

Instead, the pastors looked to their Lord. They watched in amazement as a cloud formed overhead and they began sensing a refreshing coolness. Within the cloud, they saw Jesus seated on a throne! Thousands of angels surrounded Him.  They began praising the Lord joyfully and enthusiastically as they knelt under the shadow of His Presence and the cloud-like formation of angels around Him.

The killers, now even more determined due to the men’s praises [we’re fairly certain no one but the pastors saw the spiritual reality—Ed.], brandished their knives over the men’s necks. But as they prepared to bring down the blades, both they and their weapons unexpectedly fell to the ground.

Fear gripped onlookers as they heard the pastors’ loudly praising their Lord, and only intensified as they watched the would-be assassins fall over, helpless and disarmed.

The evangelists then witnessed rays of fire emanate from Jesus and down through the cloud towards the witnesses of the ‘execution’. Overcome with terror and the now-extreme heat, the crowd fled.

Somehow the pastors’ legs and hands were then loosed. Instead of standing up, however, they remained on their knees, praising and thanking their mighty Savior. Both then observed two angels appear, and felt themselves being lifted up. The next thing they knew, they were standing in front of a house.

They heard sounds of praise and worship from within the home, so they knocked on the door. A man came and opened the door slightly to have a somewhat fearful peek. When he saw the pastors outside he could barely contain his joy, praising the Lord loudly and shouting for the others to come. They were all members of the men’s own church … in the midst of prayer and fasting for their pastors’ immediate release!

Adding to the miraculousness of this story, this was not the location the church had been meeting in before the abduction. Soon after the pastors disappeared, worshippers had noticed several suspicious-looking characters watching the home they’d been meeting in.  Concerned, they moved their ‘church’ to a place many miles away. Since they had lost their leadership, some elder believers now led services, which was what was going on when the pastors ‘reappeared’. But the pastors of course had no idea their congregation had moved.

Our Lord of course knew, and He Himself arranged and rearranged everything according to His purposes. While the underground believers’ Friday prayer and fasting session would have normally drawn to a close by 3:00 p.m., this one continued many more hours, on into the night.

Both pastors’ wives and children had been sick with desperation when the men disappeared two weeks ago. Now of course they, and all who gather with them, are overjoyed.

Please pray for both families, and the believers who meet with them. The pastors want to specially thank all who have been praying for them, and know that it is only because of prayer that our Lord so mightily intervened.

____________________ 
* Names changed for security reasons
** the umbrella organization for Bibles for Mideast churches
*** We can’t know if this was a deception to tempt the pastors, or if the imam did have the authority to offer the positions since many religious leaders in the Middle East do have high influence in government.

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Daughter of evangelist miraculously survives terrorist attack, now she AND her attacker serve Jesus

Close to twenty years ago, 12-year old, Sofi* and her young brothers all arrived home from school, accompanied by their neighbor, seriously ill. The neighbor had found them vomiting uncontrollably shortly after getting off the bus. When the youngest boy fainted, he’d picked him up and then helped the three youngsters find their way back home.  They were then rushed to hospital.

Testing showed deadly poison in their saliva, so doctors administered the proper antidote immediately.

Sofi with her brothers a few years before the attack

Sofi with her brothers a few years before the attack

“Two or three minutes later and there would not have been any hope for your children,” medics informed the alarmed parents.  

The family later discovered that as the children had gotten on the public bus packed with other travellers and students, a middle-aged woman had smiled at them and called them by name. She invited Sofi to sit beside her as the boys stood nearby.

Friendly and kind, she explained she was a prayer partner with the same ministry their father served as a leader in. She chatted away, asking how the rest of their family were. As the children prepared to get off, she offered them chocolates as a ‘token of her love’, unwrapping them herself and putting them into their mouths. Loving chocolate as much as any kids do, they happily gobbled them up.

But almost immediately on descending the steps of the bus, the younger boy began vomiting, then the older, then Sofi … undigested chocolates spewing everywhere. Their concerned neighbor happened by about this time. 

Relatives and friends of the family began searching all over for the woman who’d provided the chocolates, but could find no clues anywhere.

By the next day, Sofi’s condition grew far worse. She could no longer breathe properly, and as much as she tried, couldn’t get any words out. As her memory began failing, doctors worried the poison may have affected both her lungs and brain. Fortunately, the boys began to slowly recover.

As Sofi’s condition deteriorated, she fell into a coma. Her family and many church members knelt tearfully before the Lord, claiming God’s promises and asking Him for a miracle.

About 30 hours later those still praying around her bed noticed her face suddenly became remarkably bright. With eyes still closed, a joyful smile spread across her face. She suddenly raised her hands into the air as if trying to catch something. Everyone thought she must be on her way from this world, and cried out in sorrow. Her parents completely lost it. Doctors and nurses on duty hurried into the room.

Just as a doctor reached out to check her pulse, Sofi rose from her bed, her hands still upraised. It looked as if she were holding onto something in the space before her.

holding hands centred.jpg

“Jesus! Abba! JESUS! ABBA FATHER!” she began calling out in her native language. She then opened her eyes, gazed at her hands in amazement, looked back in front of her and then pointing to a particular spot cried out: “There is my Father Jesus!”

Her mother reached out to hold her and called her by name. Sofi immediately recognized everyone, and realized she was in the hospital.

She also declared she was hungry. The doctor checked her over thoroughly and advised her parents to feed her something light. Since she had a slight temperature, he also gave her a tablet to bring the fever down.

Before she went to bed that night, she and her family joyfully praised the Lord together. Sofi seemed imbued with new power in her prayer and praise.

Unbeknownst to the family and medical staff, a fellow named Rashid* had appeared in the hallway and with two other men, had been closely watching the goings-on in Sofi’s room. They had come up from the hospital parking area, where, posing as ambulance attendants, they’d been observing from the outside.

Rashid also happened to be in command of a group of militant fanatics seeking to convert everyone to Islam and eventually bring the whole world under Islamic domination. The plan to have the children given poisoned chocolates had been hatched by his group. They were certain the children would die, at least the girl Sofi. The next part of their plot entailed carrying away the child’s dead body along with her family in the ambulance, and then kill the rest of the family.

But as Rashid and his men kept vigil, he witnessed an intensely-bright sphere of light flash down from above and then hover over where Sofi lay unconscious. He saw a hand came out from the orb, touch the leader’s daughter, and then watched her regain consciousness and stand.

He could barely contain himself when he saw blood flowing from a hole in the middle of the hand. He trembled with fear, felt woozy and fell to the floor. The men with him picked him up and scurried awkwardly away with him.

Rashid completely lost whatever peace he had. Disturbing dreams ruined his sleep and he grew convinced Jesus must be ‘after him’.  Feeling unbearably burdened, he managed to locate Pastor Paul, Director of Bibles for Mideast, and confessed everything. Yet instead of being turned in to the police as Rashid expected, he was embraced with tears. He began to read the Bible he had kept on hand simply to criticize and disprove Christianity, and found now he could hear Jesus clearly in the words. He readily accepted Him as his Lord and Savior.  

Sofi (r) teaching bible to young Hindu girl, who later received Christ

Sofi (r) teaching bible to young Hindu girl, who later received Christ

Rashid now serves as an ordained pastor with Bibles for Mideast, and works unstintingly alongside his wife and children establishing house churches across the Middle East [we wrote him about him earlier here].

Sofi, now married and with two youngsters, works as a school teacher and, on the side, a Bible teacher. Many of the young people she teaches scripture to, albeit secretly, are Hindus and Muslims who do eventually find the truth in Jesus (see picture)!

____________________________
Names changed for security reasons

RELATED STORY: Radical Muslim terrorist ‘terrified’ by the Light of Jesus now serves as pastor!

Muslim terrorist moves from death and destruction to Life and healing

Report: Bibles for Mideast

Radical Hindus destroy historic Babri Mosque: AFP (1992)

Radical Hindus destroy historic Babri Mosque: AFP (1992)

Ameen* decided as a teenager, back in 1992, to join the forces of Islamic terror. Radical Hindu nationalists had just destroyed the historic Babri Mosque in northern India (they believed the 16th-century mosque stood where one of their most revered Hindu deities had been born).**

After completing his training, Ameen became commander of a terrorist group with the main objective of destroying both Hindu temples and Christian churches—along with their priests, ministers and worshipers. 

Once while attempting to attack a major Hindu temple, a surprise counter-attack by Hindu militants forced them to flee. Ameen suffered serious gun-shot wounds and needed to be carried away by his fellow terrorists. They administered first-aid but he subsequently fell into a coma. Thinking they’d failed in their efforts to save him, they left his body alone in a field.

A few hours later, a passerby noticed him lying there. Thinking him dead, they approached the body and on checking more carefully, discovered a pulse. They immediately called police, who rushed him to hospital. There, doctors managed to revive and save him.

Police suspected he might be a terrorist and questioned him, but could not get him to reveal his true identity, let alone betray his friends. So he remained under police surveillance in the hospital.

Pastor Paul and a gospel team of Bibles for Mideast ‘just happened’ to be in the same hospital a few days later. They secured permission from the police to visit Ameen, and found him slowly recovering from his injuries.

The missionaries told the wounded terrorist about Jesus, how He is the author of life and death. They then shared their own dramatic testimonies, and explained how Jesus was crucified on the cross of Calvary, died and rose from the dead. The visitors assured him that anyone who believes in Jesus will gain eternal life. Ameen listened to their words, but didn’t respond. So the gospel team prayed for him before leaving the hospital.  

According to the anti-terrorist act then in place in India, Ameen was sentenced to prison without bail. He remained there for years without legal assistance. Two years ago, 24 years after being imprisoned, he was finally set free.

Another ‘God-incidence’

Prisoners with their new bibles

Prisoners with their new bibles

But before Ameen’s release, Pastor Paul ‘just happened’ to meet him while there on prison ministry. Ameen was friendly to him, attended the gospel meeting held inside the jail, listened attentively to the message presented, and received a Bible when they were handed out to prisoners. He even asked for Pastor Paul’s mobile phone number.

Then, just last month, Ameen called Pastor Paul in extreme anxiety. He and his family members all wanted to meet with him for prayer.

“When I call on the name of Jesus, I feel relief whenever I’m desperate,” Ameen explained over the phone. “But I do not know what to do more. If possible, kindly come to me, give me needed guidance and pray for me and my family."

Pastor Paul prayed about the request, and asked the church and several others to pray for the Lord's guidance. 

Days later, all spent in fervent prayer, he traveled 18 hours to meet Ameen and his family. Two other ALG (Assembly of Loving God) church pastors joined him on the mission trip.

They finally arrived at Ameen’s house to find a most unwell 46-year-old. He could barely walk, needing the help of his brother’s children to get around. With no wife or children, his younger brother, their elderly mother and his brother’s family—all firm believers in Islam—took care of him.

Ameen happily greeted the pastors when they arrived. The visitors shared the gospel with him and the family. But his younger brother took offence at their presence and their message, and began shouting angrily at them. He wanted them out of his house, NOW! Ameen pleaded with him, explaining the men were there because he had asked them to come.

Neighbours, hearing the commotion, came over to investigate. Soon community leaders and the Imam of the local mosque got wind of the Christian visitors and arrived to voice disapproval and argue with them.

“I politely explained to them about Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on the cross,” Pastor Paul relates. “But with great anger, the Imam slapped me on the cheek.” 

Seeing the Imam slap the kindly pastor, Ameen felt wretched and cried out in grief.

Pastor Paul reached out to hold Ameen’s hands, then wiped away his tears and tried to console him. He and his fellow pastors then knelt down before the Lord in front of the family, and prayed for further guidance.

Ameen's brother never imagined the Imam would slap Pastor Paul. He also of course couldn’t help but be moved by Ameen's sorrowful outburst and the Christians’ kneeling prayers. So he turned against the Imam and the community leaders. The brothers’ elderly mother also shouted at the Imam and other leaders, ordering them out of the house.

When they’d all gone and quiet returned, Ameen's brother with the rest of the family apologized to Pastor Paul, asking his forgiveness.

“We consoled all of them and shared the sufferings of our Lord,” the Bibles for Mideast director explains.

“After that, they all sat before us and listened to the Word of God. Some neighboring people also participated. That same day everyone of that house accepted Lord Jesus Christ as their personal savior and Lord.”

And that very night, Ameen dreamt that Jesus touched and healed him. When he awoke—and without anyone's help—he got up, walked, and then ran around the house. His brother also had a dream of the glory of Jesus.

Please praY FOR aMEEN, HIS FAMILY, AND THE NEW UNDERGROUND CHURCH

Please praY FOR aMEEN, HIS FAMILY, AND THE NEW UNDERGROUND CHURCH

The pastors stayed four days and nights in the family’s tiny, impoverished home. With only one room plus a kitchen and a veranda attached to the front of the house, the family had no furniture: no tables or chairs, not even cots to sleep on.

“We all were happy to spend more time for prayers and sharing the Word of God,” says Pastor Paul. “We pastors slept in the room with Ameen on floor mats. The other men slept in the veranda, and the women slept in the kitchen.”

The second day of their visit, more people joined in their times of prayer. On the third day, a number of villagers attended and accepted the Lord Jesus as their savior.

By the fourth day, a new church was born! They held a worship service, and Pastor Mujib, who had been working in another area, is now in charge of the newborn ministry..

Please pray for him, the new believers, and the ongoing work in this area.

We also ask that you remember the dire situation in Indonesia after the devastating earthquake and tsunami. With millions affected and the death toll at 1,400 and rising, relief efforts have been slow to come. Bibles for Mideast has pastors and evangelists working in Indonesia, and a number of underground churches with between 12 and 20 members each. By God’s grace all are safe but needs—both practical and for prayer—are huge.

____________________________
Name changed for security reasons
** The religious site where the Babri Mosque was destroyed in 1992 in the northern Indian town of Ayodhya has been a flashpoint between Hindus and Muslims for years and has sparked recurring episodes of violence.

Boy’s dramatic dream of wounded lamb leads to salvation of his Islamic terrorist father

Report from Bibles for Mideast and the ALG Church

After a brutal attack by Islamic extremists last week, Pastor Peter Haneef (President of the ALG Church), by God’s grace and the prayers of His people, is recovering. He had been ministering in Bangladesh when, in the middle of the night, radicals burst into the place where he and his young family were staying (Brutal attack on ALG Church leader Pastor Peter Haneef and family in Bangladesh).

Underground church members rushed him first to a nearby hospital where he was refused admission, then transported him hours away to another hospital.  With several broken bones and severe blood loss, he had by then lost consciousness. In need of major surgery, believers donated blood and stayed on hand to pray him through the operation. They rented a room in a neighboring lodge and began a prayer vigil. Pastor Paul of Bibles for Mideast arrived at the hospital to visit with Pastor Peter and his family, later joining with the others for all-night prayer at the lodge.  

lamb emerging from darkness loer2.jpg

In the meantime, Khani*—who had led the attack on Pastor Peter and his family—began having serious troubles at home. His 16-year-old son dreamt one night that a joyful little lamb entered their house, but his father grabbed a knife and tried to kill it. Injured, the lamb managed to escape.

Within a few minutes, the boy saw a mob of giants—resembling an army from some other planet—hurry towards their house.  Furious and with round, reddish eyes, they breathed fire from their mouths and nostrils. They clearly intended to destroy the whole village, particularly his house and every one in it with some kind of strange, extraordinary weapon, the boy marvelled. The wounded lamb appeared instantaneously and stood between the monstrous army and his house. Alone, it successfully fought off the angry giants. It then gazed mournfully at the boy’s household before disappearing. He couldn’t help noticing blood oozing from its wounds.

When the dream ended, Khani’s son got up. Still reeling from what he saw, he began begging his father to get back the little lamb. “Why did you persecute and try to kill it?” he asked angrily. “It was coming to save us! Bring it back please!”

His father, mother and others in the home had no idea what he was talking about. They finally realized he must have had a disturbing dream and tried to calm him. But the boy’s pleas only intensified. Now shaking uncontrollably, he began screaming for the lamb. His fever rose dangerously throughout the day; by evening his concerned parents took him to hospital. Pneumonia began setting in but doctors could find no reason nor offer any relief. Within two days his legs were paralyzed.  Their imam visited the boy and prayed over him, but nothing changed.

A few neighboring women came to visit the sick boy in hospital. Two were secret believers, attending an underground ALG Church in the area and taking part in prayer and fasting services when they could.  They explained to the boy’s mother that his ailments must be due to what his father and the other attackers had done to the innocent pastor. “Go and see the pastor,” they advised her.  “Confess before him so your son can be cured.”

The boy’s mother implored her husband to go find the pastor as soon as possible, for their son’s sake. Khani however had no idea whether the man had survived, and if he did, where he might be. But his wife wouldn’t give up her desperate pleas. If he went to where the church leader had been staying and he was no longer there, others nearby would know something, she felt certain. But Khani remained uneasy, especially about the prospect of facing the pastor and his people. The secretly Christian women insisted he had nothing to be concerned about.

“They are such loving people,” they assured him. “They teach God’s love only and never stay angry. If you see them, they will pray for your son and he will be healed.”

Within seconds, Khani left the hospital to go to where the pastor had been staying. Several church members were meeting for prayer there with Pastor John Asghar, a Bibles for Mideast minister who had stepped in to lead while Pastor Peter recovered.

Fear gripped the believers when they saw Khani … until he began to speak. He politely and humbly asked them about Pastor Peter, then burst into tears like a child.  At Pastor John’s request, he explained everything. The pastor told him about the major surgery ongoing, necessary due to the attack.

Absolutely miserable by now, Khani asked forgiveness of all of them. Pastor John and the others invited him to sit with them for prayer. As they began to pray for his son, they felt Holy Spirit moving mightily. Pastor John heard the Lord tell him to go with Khani to see his boy in the hospital. 

He then explained why and how the Lord Jesus was crucified, died and rose from the dead. He shared his testimony of converting to Christianity from Islam, and how Pastor Peter converted [that story here: From radical Islamic murderer to ardent leader in the Kingdom of Jesus].

“If you accept Jesus as your personal savior and Lord, He will surely save you and your family from sin and death,” he assured Khani. “Certainly your son will be cured by the healing power of Jesus Christ.”  

Khani went along with what they said, and did as they suggested, but apparently not fully convinced.  Led by the Holy Spirit, the pastor and three of the other believers accompanied him to visit the boy in hospital. They found him lying sedated and motionless.  

lamb with scripture red blood of Christ.jpg

Pastor John took out his Bible and read Isaiah 53. They all then sang several verses of a song before joining hands to pray over the boy. As they did, his legs began shaking intensely and he opened his eyes. He tried to sit up, so the men reached out to help him.

“The little lamb came to me again and washed me with the blood coming out of its wounds!” he exclaimed. “After that, it transformed into a man with blood-stains on his hands, chest and legs. Then he told me he is Jesus Christ, and was crucified on the cross of Calvary, died and rose from the dead for my salvation. He asked me to believe in him as my Lord and Savior. Then he disappeared.” The boy rose from his bed and took a few steps, his legs now fully functional. “I believe Lord Jesus Christ!” he cried.

Khani stood dumbfounded. Weeping now, he reached out to embrace Pastor John. “Forgive me for my unbelief!” he exclaimed. “Now I fully believe in Jesus Christ and I accept Him as my Lord and Savior.”

The third day after his son’s dramatic healing, Khani and his family attended Sunday worship at Pastor Peter’s church (currently led by Pastor John).  He shared his testimony, and immediately afterwards, his wife and their other children joined him in accepting Jesus as Savior and Lord. Once the meeting ended, he and his family made the long drive to visit Pastor Peter in hospital.

Khani reached out to gently touch the injured pastor’s legs and begged forgiveness.

“My dear brother,” Pastor Peter replied. He then invited the former terrorist to sit by his side and prayed for him. 

Khani says that he will share his experiences with his friends, and hopes to convince them of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice for the salvation of all. This will be a dangerous undertaking, so please pray for his protection and success.

Please also pray for Pastor Peter’s complete recovery; that he will be strengthened by the Holy Spirit to lead the church even more powerfully than ever. Keep the believers and other workers in your prayers as well.

_____________
*pseudonym

Brutal attack on ALG Church leader Pastor Peter Haneef and family in Bangladesh

(June 18, 2018)  Pastor Peter Haneef (President of the ALG Church) and his family were brutally attacked by a mob of Muslim extremists in a village in Bangladesh last night. Pastor Haneef leads several underground Bibles for Mideast churches, all in predominantly Muslim areas. The village where the attack happened lies about 180 miles from Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh.  

Pastor Peter baptising a new believer

Pastor Peter baptising a new believer

He had been ministering in a 25-member church, holding a baptismal service after Sunday morning worship and communion. An entire formerly-Muslim family had been baptised. When news of the baptism leaked out, enraged Muslim extremists set their sights on killing the family. Fortunately news of that leaked to Pastor Peter, who managed to move them safely to another location. Further incensed, the mob turned its focus on finishing off the pastor and his family, staying with him nearby.

Discovering their whereabouts, the attackers arrived at night while the family slept. Hearing people at the door, Pastor Peter—thinking it may be an emergency since he knew an elderly woman in the village had been sick—went to investigate. The attackers, armed with bricks and steel pipes, forced their way in and lunged at him. When his wife tried to intervene they turned on her. Their young children were by then wide awake and tried to get between their parents. The mob angrily flung them away. As the pastor tried to protect his wife and children, the extremists charged at him even more fiercely.

All suffered injuries, but Pastor Peter bore the full brunt of the mob’s fury and obviously needed medical attention. When church members attempted to get him admitted to a nearby facility, he was refused—by order of the police, who supported the attackers. So they rushed him to a hospital in a town many hours away.  By the time they got there he was in critical condition, having lost so much blood. At last report, he remains unconscious. 

Fanatic Muslims in the area want nothing more than to destroy the local church and get the new Christian believers back into Islam … or else. But the believers stand strong in their faith.

ALG logo slightly better2.jpg

Pastor Peter, President of the Assembly of Loving God (ALG) Church is himself a former Muslim. Please pray for him—especially right now for his full recovery—and for the protection of all those he ministers to.

_________________
You can read more about Pastor Haneef’s journey into Christianity here: From radical Islamic murderer to ardent leader in the Kingdom of Jesus.

AMAZING UPDATE!
Boy’s dramatic dream of wounded lamb leads to salvation of his Islamic terrorist father

 

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.

____________________________
* 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.

________________________ 

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

Warrior angels just one factor in many connected radical salvations

Report: Bibles for Mideast and an underground ALG Church

Al Bilal*, a fanatic Muslim, had long been an active member of his local mosque in a Middle Eastern kingdom. While studying at university, a Christian friend—who also happened to be the son of a Bibles for Mideast evangelist—gave him a sample gospel. As a courtesy to the friend he read it, but didn’t believe a word.

Not long after, Jesus surprised him by appearing before him in a vision.

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” he said to Bilal. “I am the beginning and the end. I died on the cross and rose from the dead to give everyone eternal life. Those who believe in me will have a place with me in heaven. Follow me without hesitation!”  

Bilal managed to find the gospel tract again, and contacted the number printed on it. A Bibles for Mideast pastor answered the call, and shared the message of the gospel clearly with him. He didn’t need much convincing to accept Jesus as his personal savior and Lord, and soon afterwards made a full commitment to Christianity through baptism. 

Being highly educated both academically and in Islam, Bilal’s community had tremendous respect for him. But on his embrace of Christianity his parents, relatives and community leaders desperately wanted him back in the Islamic fold. Bilal boldly held to his precious new faith.

The angered community eventually excommunicated him from the mosque. Each and every one—his family included—came to consider him a dangerous enemy.

Bilal began going to a deserted area around midnight each night. He would kneel down in the sand, alone before his Lord, and for nearly two hours would pray and praise in the Spirit.

Some young people, under the leadership of Bilal’s first cousin Sulfiker*, began formulating a plan to kill him. They first found out where and when he headed for his nightly prayers. Then, armed with steel rods and sharp knives, they snuck out after him one night and prepared to lunge. 

But angels of the Lord surrounded Bilal, and fought back the attackers. In absolute terror, Sulfi and his gang took off in all directions.  Bilal however remained so engrossed in his time with the Lord he didn’t even notice the commotion!

Some angels you do not want to mess with

Some angels you do not want to mess with

As Sulfiker bolted away, he suddenly fell into a deep pit. He broke both his hands and legs in the fall, so of course could then barely move, let alone climb out. 

As his time of prayer and praise ended, Bilal stood and shook the sand from his knees. He then felt the Holy Spirit leading him to the pit his cousin had fallen in to. He could see immediately Sulfi needed help getting out, so climbed down and managed to get the young man mounted on his shoulders. Sulfi thought his cousin must be furious with him.

“Don’t kill me!” he screamed.

Bilal dragged and pulled him from the pit and administered some first aid. He also prayed for his cousin. He then took him to his home, and from there to the hospital.

Sulfi remained in hospital several weeks, with Bilal almost constantly by his side. When the time seemed right, he shared the gospel message with his injured cousin. Sulfi then blurted out all that had happened the night of his fall. Embarrassed and overwhelmed, he confessed his sins and accepted Jesus Christ as his personal savior and Lord.

Sulfi’s friends—the fellow-attackers—also visited him in the hospital. They had obviously been just as terrified seeing and experiencing the mighty, fighting angels. When Sulfi shared with them the salvation available and possible in Jesus Christ alone, they likewise needed little convincing and joined him in praying to accept Jesus into their hearts and lives.

All have now been excommunicated from their mosque and face severe persecution. They also all secretly attend worship services in an underground ALG Church and work for the Lord through Bibles for Mideast.

Please pray for them and all other ministers and ministries of Bibles for Mideast! We so appreciate and need your prayerful support.

____________________________
* names changed for security reasons

Five years since teenage sisters murdered for reading the Bible

Report: Bibles for MIdeast

Five years ago, sisters Arifa, 17, and Akhtar, 19, were kidnapped and gunned down by Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Pakistan-based Islamic militant terrorist group in Indian-controlled northern Kashmir, bordering Pakistan. The victims were the daughters of Gulam Nabi Dar, a salesman at a government ration shop.

Arifa and Akhtar

Arifa and Akhtar

The girls did embroidery work and attended classes to learn to read and write at an adult education center run by an underground Bibles for Mideast outreach ministry. Though Muslims, the sisters believed in Jesus Christ, attended prayer services and had begun to read the New Testament.

Pastor Paul, Director of Bibles for Mideast and himself a convert from Islam, had visited the small community where the girls lived and shared his own story along with the message of the gospel. After the message, Arifa and Akhtar read Isaiah 53 together, declared their faith in Jesus Christ, and accepted Him as their Savior and Lord.

The very next evening militants barged into their home and forcibly took the girls. The terrorists may well have come to know about the underground ministries in the area and the young women’s involvement. Their bullet-riddled bodies were later found some distance away from their home. One had been shot in the left eye.

The teens’ family lived in two rooms, and their father had not yet come home from work when the assault happened. Police sources say the gunmen managed to escape under cover of darkness.

When the incident happened, two other women—aunts of the Arifa and Akhtar—were there, along with their younger brother and a young female relative who had come to visit the family. The women raised an alarm and ran after the gunmen, but stopped when the militants began threatening them. Their elder brother lived in another village with a maternal uncle.

Mourning over bodies of Arifa and Akhtar

Mourning over bodies of Arifa and Akhtar

“One of the gunmen had his face covered with a black scarf,” said younger brother Gulam Jeelani. “Only his eyes were visible. Two others followed him. They were speaking Urdu. One spoke a few words in Kashmiri.”

After the invasion and murder, local missionary Pastor Idris and his assistant were attacked with steel pipes, the pastor’s legs being broken. Pastor Paul and his family also suffered three brutal assaults and threats on their lives.

Lashkar-e-Taiba, or the 'Army of the Righteous', aim to create an Islamic state in South Asia and to ‘liberate’ Muslims in Indian-controlled Kashmir.

India has identified the group as the alleged masterminds behind the 2008 terror attack on the Indian financial capital of Mumbai that killed 166 people.

Muslim extremist stabs pastors; their love and forgiveness lead him and his family to Jesus

Report: Bibles for Mideast

cutting the fingers and hands of a man caught reading the Bible

cutting the fingers and hands of a man caught reading the Bible

Al-Farooqi (name changed for security reasons), 37, had been a fanatic and faithful Middle Eastern follower of Islam his whole life. He strongly believed the whole world should be ruled according to Islamic Sharia law, and anyone not following Sharia must be killed.

In his twenties, he worked with the Taliban, destroying churches and temples and killing scores of people. He seemed consumed with shedding the blood of ‘infidels’. Seriously injured when the US army attacked his Taliban base, he managed to escape and fled back to his native city. He still limps from the damage caused by the bombing.

He had a special enmity toward Christians. Whenever he met one, he would immediately slap them. It was his pledge, as was keeping a large knife ever with him.

Several weeks ago, two Bibles for Mideast pastors met him along the road, gave him a sample gospel and started talking to him about Jesus. They of course had no idea who he was or about his past; they simply saw and attempted to engage a handicapped man walking alone.

Farooqi exploded in anger. His eyes reddened and he shook with fury.

“Allahu Akbar!” he screamed, tearing up the gospel literature they’d given him. He then grabbed his knife and lunged at them several times. Both pastors sustained injuries, but by God’s grace the wounds weren’t too serious.

While furiously stabbing the pastors, Farooqi lost the grip on the knife. It flew from his hand down to his one undamaged leg, tearing into it violently. With blood spewing out like a gusher, he fell to the ground, crying out in agony.

The pastors moved quickly to form tourniquets out of their handkerchiefs and attempted to bandage him up. At first he wouldn’t let them near him. The men had to force first aid on him, and managed to at least partially stop the flow of blood. They then hailed a taxi and took him to the nearest hospital. Once medical staff had applied proper bandaging and  given him several injections, the pastors brought him back to his own home.

On the way there from the hospital, they told him the parable of the Good Samaritan [from Luke 10:25-37].

“This was what Jesus taught us to do,” they explained. “We are simply following what He says.” Farooqi listened but seemed totally uninterested.

When the pastors left, he refused to smile at or even thank them. They could tell he was still angry. Yet the next day, backed up by prayer, they went back to the home. While his family members were happy they returned, Farooqi refused to speak to them.

Two days later, the prayerful, persistent pastors again paid a visit. They helped him untie his bandages and apply new ones. Other family members grew fonder of the Christian leaders, but not until their fourth stopover did Farooqui finally speak, thanking them. While they knew he’d done it under the compulsion of his family, they became regular visitors. Farooqi eventually began to enjoy the visits, and as they talked, the whole family learned more and more about Jesus. They listened carefully, and accepted the Arabic Bible offered to them.

 “I am not worthy to stand before the Lord,” Farooqi told them one day. “I am such a sinner and I’ve killed so many people. He simply cannot love me as a human being.”

The pastors opened the Bible to Romans 5:8-10 and showed it to him.

result of punishment inflicted in picture above: The blood of Jesus covers even this

result of punishment inflicted in picture above: The blood of Jesus covers even this

“But here is how God has shown his love for us,” he read. “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. The blood of Christ has made us right with God. So we are even more sure that Jesus will save us from God’s anger. Once we were God’s enemies. But we have been brought back to him because his Son died for us. Now that God has brought us back, we are even more secure. We know that we will be saved because Christ lives.”

Farooqi and his family became convinced about the value and truth of the Christian belief system. They confessed before the Lord and accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Now all regularly but secretly attend worship services at a Bibles for Mideast underground church.

Please pray for Farooqi and his family: that the Muslim community will not bring them any harm; that our mighty Lord will continually protect them under His wings.

Christian grocer and Police Superintendent’s wife latest murdered by Islamic extremists in Bangladesh

Report: Bibles for Mideast 

Unidentified attackers murdered 65-year-old Sunil Gomes in the village of Bonpara, home to one of the oldest Christian communities in Muslim-majority Bangladesh. He had just returned from a Sunday worship service.

Murdered Bangladeshi grocer Sunil Gomes

Murdered Bangladeshi grocer Sunil Gomes

"Sunil Gomes was hacked to death at his grocery store just near a church at Bonpara village," said the deputy police chief of the surrounding Natore district, Shafiqul Islam.

He ran a fruit and vegetable shop, served at his Bonpara church and was respected among villagers.

"I am shocked and saddened. My brother had no enemies,” says his brother Proshanto Gomes, a Christian minister in Dinajpur. “We ask what could have motivated his murder?"

Benedict, a Christian leader in Bonpara, says that "the faithful of the village live in brotherhood with the people of other religions. Why did they attack us?”

He calls for severe punishment for the extremists, who in the past have escaped justice.  "Two months ago, an elderly Christian couple was attacked, but the police did not arrest anyone." Benedict added.

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the murder through its Amaq news agency, according to the SITE monitoring group, saying it was "part of a series of operations" in Bangladesh.

The local Christian community lives in fear. Only hours earlier the wife of Police Superintendent Babul Aktar—a man fighting hard against militants and drug cartels—had been stabbed

The Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council, Oikya Parishad, organized a human chain Sunday afternoon and imposed a seven-day ultimatum for the capture of the killers to draw government attention and ask for protection.

A relative consoles Ms. Khanam's children following her death

A relative consoles Ms. Khanam's children following her death

Sunil’s murder happened just hours after the wife of Superintendent of Police Babul Aktar was stabbed and shot to death by three bike-borne assailants as she walked her six-year-old son to a bus stop in southeast Bangladesh. Her husband has led several high-profile operations against terrorists and drug cartels in the region.

Islamic State militants have claimed responsibility for the murder of Sunil Gomez and the officer’s wife, Mahmuda Khanam.

Over 40 people have died in the past three years in a series of attacks targeting activists and non-Muslims. Attacks have increased recently, but Bangladeshi authorities hold political rivals and homegrown Islamist terrorists responsible and reject any involvement from foreign terrorist groups.

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.