A Muslim love story: first with Jesus, then each other, and now the world around them

Islamic teacher Davood* worked for years training children in the Koran at a religious school attached to a mosque in Africa. One day, he discovered a student with a gospel tract. Infuriated, he demanded to know where the fellow had gotten it. Someone had handed it to him as he walked to school, the boy explained. Snatching the leaflet from him, Davood warned him to never accept such foolish writings from anyone ever again.

But he held onto the tract, intending to show it to the mosque’s religious leaders. They absolutely must find out who was distributing the literature and, if he had anything to say about, punish them severely.

Since he wasn’t able to meet any of the leaders when school finished, he headed back to his home. Getting ready for bed that night, he again noticed the tract. He might as well see what nonsense they were writing, he figured, and read it through.

When he got to the part about there being “salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to people by which we must be saved” something—he wasn’t sure what—struck him and stuck in his mind.

That night Jesus—whom Muslims recognize as a great prophet and messenger of God—came to him in a dream.

“I am the way and the truth and the life,” he announced to Davood. “No one comes to the Heavenly Father except through me.”

As morning dawned the Muslim man had another look at the gospel tract, and finding a contact number on the back, called it. Pastor Musthafa with Bibles for Mideast in Africa answered [an earlier story about Pastor Musthafa here: The storms of heaven in Africa: punishment for some, salvation for others]. Soon Davood had many of his questions answered and was led in a prayer to accept Jesus as his personal Savior and Lord.

Meanwhile, in another part of Africa, young Minoo* lived with her parents, seven sisters and four brothers in a poor but fanatically Islamic household. 

“I wanted to go to school and college,” she explains, “but my parents directed me to go to work on farms before I was 12.”  

Because of the heavy labor and intermingling with other workers, she contracted HIV, which developed into full-blown AIDS several years later.

tHE FATE OF MANY EBOLA SUFFERERS [gETTY IMAGES, LIBERIA)

tHE FATE OF MANY EBOLA SUFFERERS [gETTY IMAGES, LIBERIA)

“I was in severe pain, but doctors refused to treat me,” she remembers.  “My friends and relatives were also afraid to visit me.” With no medical treatment, other members of her family also contracted HIV, and then all were infected by the Ebola virus when it later raged though West Africa.

With neighbors refusing to visit or help in any way, and with little to eat and drink, the family began to waste away physically and emotionally. Minoo decided to put an end to her misery.

“I collected some poisonous fruits to end my life,” she explains, but her attempt failed.

Pastors and workers with Bibles for Mideast learned of the sad and dying family, and, ignoring the warnings of others in the community, brought them food and clothes. They also fasted and prayed for three days for the family.

“The Lord Jesus revealed to us to visit the family and pray for them,” Pastor Paul explains, so he and Pastor Musthafa visited, bringing more food and clothes. When neighbors reiterated the warnings of certain death if they went in the home, they stood firm.

“We are going to that house in the name of Jesus Christ, who is the living Lord and Savior and mighty healer,” they told the naysayers. “If it is His will they all will be healed and saved, and you all will see it with your own eyes.”

The pastors found the family to be “like skeleton people,” Pastor Paul recalls. The men knelt down in the power of the Holy Spirit, while some family members gathered in front of them. Minoo and several others lay on their beds, unable to get up.

aS hE DID THEN, HE DOES NOW!

aS hE DID THEN, HE DOES NOW!

When the pastors began praying, “the power of Jesus’ victorious life-giving blood poured out on each in the family like electricity,” Pastor Paul recounts. Screaming, Minoo jumped to her feet and began dancing around.

“Glory to Jesus!” she cried, praising and thanking the Lord. Others stood to their feet, all experiencing the almighty awesomeness of God. They then knelt in His powerful Presence. The pastors shared the gospel with them, and each accepted the Lord Jesus as personal Savior and Lord.

Within days they had recovered their physical health, and grown leaps and bounds spiritually. But new trials began. The Muslim community they lived in insisted they reject their faith in Jesus as Savior, but with new-found strength and boldness, they held on. One night some radical neighbors set fire to their house, intending to kill all of them. The family managed to escape, and fled the region.

Minoo’s strong desire for higher studies finally found fulfillment as she went deep into the Word of God, and with the help of Bibles for Mideast, went on to university.

Before going, she began preparing for baptism with, unknown to her, her future husband—yes, Davood!—as a fellow candidate. They were baptized together by Pastor Musthafa, but only later, while studying at the same university, did they get to really know each other and fall in love.

Davood learned of her unfortunate past but did not let that get in the way of his desire to marry her. Pastor Paul officiated at their marriage and now, several years later, they have a young girl and infant boy. They lead an underground church, as well as evangelize Muslims in their area and distribute bibles. Please pray God’s protection, provision and guidance for this young couple, their church and their ministry … as well as for the ministry of Bibles for Mideast as a whole.

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*names changed for security reasons

Minoo Hussain reported several earlier stories for us: The storms of heaven in Africa: punishment for some, salvation for othersand God restores and redeems: an astounding update of attack on the African church.

The Resume of Jesus Christ

Jesus Christ, for Bibles for Mideast

Address: Ephesians 1:20
Phone: Romans 10:13
Website: The Bible; Keywords: Christ, Lord, Savior, Redeemer, God-Man, Jesus, son of David

Hello. My name is Jesus Christ. Many call me Lord! I've sent you my resume because I'm seeking the top management position in your heart.  Please consider my accomplishments as set forth below. 

Qualifications 
 I founded the earth and established the heavens (see Proverbs 3:19).
  I formed man from the dust of the ground (see Genesis 2:7).
  I breathed into man the breath of life (see Genesis 2:7). 
  I redeemed man from the curse of the law (see Galatians 3:13). 
  The blessings of the Abrahamic Covenant come upon your life through me (see Galatians 3:14).

Jesus carrying suitcases cropped intenser.jpg

 Occupational Background 
  I've only had one employer (see Luke 2:49).     
   I've never been tardy, absent, disobedient, slothful or disrespectful.
  My employer has nothing but rave reviews for me (see Matthew 3:15-17). 

Skills and Work Experience
  Some of my skills and work experience include: empowering the poor to be poor no more, healing the brokenhearted, setting captives free, healing the sick, restoring sight to the blind, and setting at liberty the oppressed (see Luke 4:18).
  I am a wonderful counsellor (see Isaiah 9:6). People who listen to me will live in safety and security and will not fear evil (see Proverbs 1:33). 
  Most importantly, I have the authority, ability and power to cleanse you of your sins (see 1 John 1:7-9). 

Educational Background 
  I encompass the entire breadth and length of knowledge, wisdom and understanding (see Proverbs 2:6). 
   In me are hidden all of the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (see Colossians 2:3). Hidden … yet accessible to the heart which welcomes me in.
  My Word is so powerful; it has been described as being a lamp to your feet and a light to your path (see Psalm 119:105).
  I can even tell you all of the secrets of your heart (see Psalm 44:21). 

Major Accomplishments 
  I was an active participant in the greatest Summit Meeting of all time (see Genesis 1:26).
  I laid down my life so that you may live (see 2 Corinthians 5:15). 
  I defeated the archenemy of God and humanity and made a show of them openly (see Colossians 2:15). 
  I've miraculously fed the poor, healed the sick and raised the dead! 
  There are many more major accomplishments, too many to mention here. You can read them on my website, located at: www dot the BIBLE. You don't need an Internet connection or computer to access my website. 

References 
Believers and followers worldwide will testify to my divine healings, salvation, deliverance, miracles, restoration and supernatural guidance. 
  
In Summary
Now that you've read my resume, I'm confident I'm the only candidate uniquely qualified to fill this vital position in your heart. To summarize, I will properly direct your paths (see Proverbs 3:5-6), and lead you into everlasting life (see John 6:47). When can I start? Time is of the essence (see Hebrews 3:15).

____________________________
[original creator of this bit of genius unknown, to us at least]

Prayer support still desperately needed for Pastor Paul and family

First, a huge thank you to everyone praying our Pastor Paul back to a measure of health so that he can now be released from hospital. We didn’t reveal this earlier, but he actually had to be moved to a different hospital after authorities thwarted a plan by militants to kill him and his wife in the hospital.

He is now able to go home, but since ‘home’ is not a safe place, he and his wife have decided to go to a different state for the three months' rest doctors recommend for his full recovery.

Please continue to pray: for complete healing, for redemption, for protection, and for guidance and provision for the future. A massive thank-you to all who have generously contributed to the hospital costs for the past month!

Work in the field continues, so please continue to pray and support as you are able. We in the West have such a limited conception of how difficult it is to live for Jesus in so many restrictive countries in the world, such as those where Bibles for Mideast missionaries live and work.

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Related stories:
Despite persecution, more than 3,000 former Muslims baptized
Stoned by terrorists, protected by a lion!

Can Jesus bear our burden?

GOSPEL TRACT FOR MUSLIMS (prepared by Bibles for Mideast)

The book of Genesis in the Bible tells of Almighty God creating man out of dust in His image, after His likeness, and giving him life through the Word to be the overseer of His creation. He named him Adam, and through Adam, He created Eve.

God had a definite plan to glorify His name through humanity, and for that He needed them to be fully surrendered to Him.

To obey each and every law of God is total surrender. But Adam and Eve disobeyed, ate of the tree of which God commanded them not to eat. So they sinned.

Suppose you hire new help for your business or household. That person is obliged to obey your rules. Do you appreciate it if they do their own thing instead, and make friends with your enemies? You will fire them immediately and make sure they don’t get any support from your colleagues or friends.

If God were like us, He would have completely removed Adam and Eve from His creation, but He didn’t. Instead, He sent him out from the Garden as punishment, where they could no longer live in the ease of fellowship with Him.

“You will have to work hard and sweat to make the soil produce anything, until you go back to the soil from which you were formed. You were made from soil, and you will become soil again." (Gen. 3:19)

God also promised the Messiah, Jesus, who is the Word from God, Son of Mary, illustrious in the world and hereafter as the deliverer from sin.

The Qur’an says: “Lo! the likeness of Jesus with God is as the likeness of Adam. He created him out of dust, then He said to him: ‘Be!’ and he was. (This is) the Truth from your Lord. (O Muhammad), so be not of those who doubt” (Qur’an 3:59-60).

How is Jesus ‘the likeness’ of Adam?

Adam was created as a faultless man, in God's likeness and image (Gen. 1:26; 5:1), and crowned with glory and honor (Ps. 8:5). The Prophet David says in the book of Zabur (Psalms): “What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Yet You have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings, and crowned him with glory and honour. You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; You have put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas.” (Psalms 8:4-8)

The Qur'an 2:34 says that God asked the angels to prostrate themselves before Adam. All fell prostrate except Iblis (Lucifer), who demurred through pride and so became Satan. Satan’s promptings enticed Adam and Eve to disobey God and eat the fruit of the forbidden tree.

When they sinned against God, they lost their glory and honor and became aware they were naked (Gen. 3:7). In other words, they lost their likeness to God and took on the ‘likeness of sin’. Adam, at 130 years of age, had a son “in his own likeness, in his own image; and he named him Seth” (Gen. 5:3). So Seth had to have been born with the likeness of sin.

The Prophet David says in Zabur: “Behold I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me” (Psalms 51:5).

The Injil (the New Testament of the Bible) states very clearly that “there is no distinction; since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). But a promised remedy follows immediately: “They are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus”.

In several places the Qur’an states: “No burdened soul can bear another’s burden” (35:18, 39:7, 53:38). That can only mean that only an unburdened soul can bear another’s burden.

Both the Bible and the Qur’an teach that Jesus was born faultless. “He [the Archangel Gabriel] said [to Mary]: I am only a messenger of your Lord, that I may bestow on you a faultless son” (Qur’an 19:19). The Hadith (the record of Mohammed’s words and actions) also teaches that all the children of Adam are touched by Satan at their birth, except Jesus, son of Mary.

The Bible says this about Jesus: “For it was fitting that we should have such a High Priest, holy, blameless, unstained, separated from sinners, exalted above the heavens” (Hebrews 7:26).

 “Can any of you prove I am guilty of sinning?” Jesus once asked the Jews. “Am I not telling the truth? Then why don’t you believe me?  Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you don’t hear is that you don’t belong to God.” (John 8:46-7)

Yes! Jesus was faultless by birth and life. He can carry the weight of sin from each and every person in this world.

Jesus said in the New Testament: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). The Prophet Yahya (John the Baptist) was born to be a witness to Jesus, declaring, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29)

In the second letter of Paul to the Corinthians we read: “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21). No doubt! Jesus took all our sins and died on the cross to give us eternal life. “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our sins” (Eph. 1:7).

The letter to the Hebrews says it this way: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Heb. 12:1-2)

The Qur’an records Jesus as saying: “And (I come) confirming that which was before me of the Torah (the law of Moses), and to make lawful some of that which was forbidden unto you. I come unto you with a sign from your Lord, so keep your duty to God and obey me” (Qur’an 3:50).

“When Jesus came with clear proofs [of God’s sovereignty], he said: ‘I have come unto you with wisdom, and to make plain some of that concerning which you differ. So keep your duty to God, and obey me’ ” (Qur’an 43:63).

What do you think? Isn’t it a must to obey Jesus by accepting him as Lord and Savior?

The children of Israel denied Jesus, even though they were the chosen people of God. So they lost eternity. Looking for a warrior king savior, they were blind to the truth that Jesus Christ was the very Messiah promised by their own prophets.

What about you? Accept Jesus as your Savior and Lord. He is Christ, the Son of God and God in flesh.

Jesus saves Arab from horrible tragedies, his Christian-hating wife soon to follow

The following story is from a man who for security reasons, we’ll call Al-Jamali. From a prominent Middle Eastern Arab Muslim family, Al-Jamali up until recently strictly adhered to the five pillars—the basic and foundational tenets—of Islam.

About eleven years ago, in 2004, I went on a tour of India with my friend. We were visiting Kanyakumari, the cape of South India, in December that year when gigantic waves began heading to shore. We saw them coming, but not thinking they would affect us on land, I made an effort to take photos. They were, in fact, tsunami waves [generated by the massive magnitude 9.3 undersea earthquake off the coast of Banda Aceh, northern Sumatra—Ed.].

Within seconds the waves battered the shore, wiping out everything.  Thousands of people died.  My friend and I were trapped in the waves. The undercurrent pulled me down to the ocean depths, where I probably remained for five minutes, certain I would die. Suddenly, I felt a strong and mighty man pick me up in his hands. I really felt like a baby being carried by its mother. I could see blood stains on the man’s hands. While he carried me, I heard him saying,

“I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me will live, even though they die; and those who live and believe in me will never die.” [John 11:25]

He carried me safely to the shore, completely unharmed. But I couldn’t find my friend, only dead bodies everywhere. I ran out among them, calling out, until I finally realized I would never see that friend again. Hundreds of the bodies could not be identified. While I watched, government authorities gathered them all up, poured gasoline over them, and set them alight.  Certainly my friend would have been among them. If God had not saved me, I too would have been burned.

Jesus holding man painting.jpg

Though I got my life back, I could not get over the shock of losing my friend. I know the mighty man had saved me, but somehow that did not affect me as much as missing my friend.  I just couldn’t get over it, and lost all peace of mind. I returned to the Middle East alone, and gradually the memories of that horrible day became less strong.

But eleven years later, on the same day, December 26th, 2015, I was driving my car along with my wife. By then, I had become a family man and had married two women. The one with me was my second wife.

Suddenly, my car rammed into the rear of a truck, while another truck came up from behind and crashed into me. Unfortunately, our air bags didn’t deploy. But I felt the same thing I had back on the day of the tsunami.  A strong, mighty man held me, carrying me like a baby in the arms of its mother. I saw the same blood stains on his hands and realized he was the same man who had rescued me from the tsunami. .

Police and an ambulance arrived almost immediately, and we were taken to the hospital. On the way, sadly, my wife died. I was admitted. And that same night, the man who had saved me from both the tsunami and accident visited me. I was very happy to see him. I held his hands and asked him to sit beside me. He sat down and then said to me:  “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.” [Matt. 16:26-27]

I asked, “Who are you?”

“I am Jesus, who was crucified and rose from the dead,” he replied. “Do you believe me?”

“Yes Lord, I believe,” I answered. “But what about my wife?”

“You need only one wife,” he responded. “Lead a life with her, and live for me.” He then vanished.

The very next day, two strangers came to my hospital room. They introduced themselves as Pastor Paul and Pastor Steve from Bibles for Mideast. One explained he’d had .a dream from Jesus Christ about me, and that’s why they had come. I welcomed them happily. They explained to me the message of the Gospel and gave me an Arabic Bible. When I opened it, there were the words Jesus had said to me!  I accepted him as my personal savior and Lord before the pastors, who then prayed over me. Afterwards I went to my wife’s burial, carrying my bible in my bag.

I now study the scriptures, and secretly attend worship services at an underground house church of Bibles for Mideast. For several months, my wife refused to believe in Jesus. I tried to tell her gospel stories, but she didn’t want to hear them. When I mentioned the name of Jesus and talk about his crucifixion and resurrection, she’d become angry and even violent. But the church and I continuously prayed for her.

One day she slipped on the floor and broke her hip.  She needed surgery, and afterwards, in severe pain, could only rest at home.  Whenever I .prayed silently over her, she felt some relief but when I stopped, the pain would return. Slowly though, she began to understand the power of prayer.

I was thrilled when she asked me to call the pastors to pray for her. So I called Pastor Paul immediately to see when he could come, and then sent my car to bring him. He arrived with two others. It was in fact the second time he’d come to my house. The first time, my wife had angrily let him know she did not like or want Christians visiting our home. But on this second visit, she welcomed him with a beautiful smile and asked me to pull a chair up for him beside her bed.

Pastor Paul helped her understand more about Jesus, and her need for salvation. She readily accepted Jesus as her savior and Lord. Then he got up and started praying for her. I was surprised to see her reach out and take his hands, and then hold them to her head. As a religious Muslim, she never allowed any man except her husband to touch her body. This is an absolute requirement under Shariah law. But with Jesus in her heart, she had totally changed.

While Pastor Paul prayed, we all heard some breaking or joining sounds coming from her hip area, and she was totally healed! We had a consultation with her doctor that same day, and since she no longer needed them, all the materials that had been surgically implanted to repair the broken hip were removed. Now I attend the worship service along with my wife and children at Assembly of Loving God, the church organized by Bibles for Mideast..

Please keep our friend Al-Jamali in your prayers. Surely the Lord has huge plans for him!

Gospel-hating drunkard finds Jesus and escapes disaster

Mr. Julannan hated it when anyone tried to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with him. He and his wife, while members of the Catholic Church, lived worldly lives and looked with contempt on any charismatic Christians they encountered. He had a drinking problem as well. When drunk, he’d become violent both at home and with neighbors. There were times locals found him lying by the roadside in an alcoholic stupor.

He especially abhorred people coming to his house to share the message of Jesus. One day, members of a Bibles for Mideast team visited. They handed him gospel tracts which he grabbed, only to then promptly set alight with a nearby box of matches.

“Get out of my house!” he yelled as the surprised visitors watched their precious tracts burn.

Travelling home from his contracting job one evening, Mr. Julannan passed an open-air gospel convention ground. With contempt, he spat in the direction of those gathered there, and continued on his way.

“Jesus is the instant help for your troubles!” he suddenly heard the convention speaker announce. “He is always before you, watching over you, and healing your sicknesses.” He stopped dead in his tracks as the voice continued.

“But you are crucifying Him by your sins," the man warned. "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. So confess, confess your sins before the Lord!”

The words pierced his heart. That night he couldn’t sleep.  He couldn’t shake the feeling—especially when it also invaded his dreams—that something terrible was heading his way. He tried to pray, but didn’t know how.

“Jesus, Jesus, Jesus,” was all he could say.  “JESUS! Save me Jesus!”

The next day as Mr. Julannan hurried to his job, he noticed with dismay a train approaching the railway crossing along his route. If he waited the long minutes for it to pass, he knew he’d be late for work. So he decided to take his chances and run for it. Partway across, the speeding train barrelled down on him, knocking him flat between the railway tracks. Onlookers screamed as they watched the disaster unfold.

Mrs & Mr Julannan receive bibles from leader of Bibles for Mideast, Paul ciniraj

Mrs & Mr Julannan receive bibles from leader of Bibles for Mideast, Paul ciniraj

As soon as the train passed, he leapt to his feet and off the tracks—without a scratch on his body. To the astonishment of bystanders, he explained how when the train ran over him, he cried out to the Lord Jesus. Immediately, he sensed someone hugging him tightly, cushioning him from the train roaring overhead, like a baby being sheltered by its mother. The Presence then disappeared just as quickly once the train had passed.

“I know my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ saved me from what should have been a horrible tragedy!” he repeated with renewed confidence.

Since he and his family had no bible at home, Bibles for Mideast provided them with several, which they now read and meditate on daily. Alcohol no longer holds him in its grip. Further, he and his wife have partnered with the ministry to joyfully distribute both bibles and gospel tracts—ablaze now with the fire of the Holy Spirit!

Testimony of Pastor Paul of Bibles for Mideast, a former Muslim

At the request of many, Pastor Paul tells his story

I was born into an ancient, prominent and orthodox Muslim family in South Asia, the fourth child of a retired higher secondary school principal. Besides being a former principal, my father was an Islamic scholar and President of the Jama’ath (parish of the mosque) Committee.

More than 4000 Muslim families lived in our area, and some Hindus in the suburbs. As far as I know there were no Christians at all not even in the schools where I studied.

The mosque we attended is around 1,000 years old. My ancestors spread the religion of Islam in that area and established the mosque very close to our ancestral home. My grandfather founded the present mosque. The land, revenue and auxiliary records of the mosque were kept in my father’s name well into my boyhood. 

I was brought up to love and highly regard my family as well as Islamic teachings and practices. I did my religious education before regular schooling. No bad habits existed in our family life. As a young man, I even wrote and published a book on the Qur’an.

I went to a Christian institution for my college education, so the vast majority of my classmates were Christian. As the only Muslim, I at first had difficulty mingling with others there, but gradually became close and intimate with many.

This, however, led me into evil associations and wretched habits. I started smoking, began to use drugs and alcohol and became known as rowdy in the city. Damaging reports and ugly pictures concerning me began to appear in the newspapers. As a result, my parents, brothers, sisters and dear ones became greatly concerned.  It began to look like I’d have to discontinue my education.

By that time I’d become addicted to drugs and alcohol. My body began to shiver and I became very tense if I did not use drugs at the habitual times. I was even on the police watch list. When I had money in my pocket, I had lots of friends, ready for any adventure. But when my parents cut off the money they’d been giving me regularly, those ‘friends’ became my sworn enemies. I lost my peace of mind.

At this juncture, some missionary students gathered enough courage to come and talk to me. They claimed that Jesus is the Son of God, and was crucified for all humanity. He rose from the dead and He is the King of Peace, they told me. They further claimed that if one believes in Him and confesses all sins, he will become a new person.

I could not even imagine that Prophet Isa (Jesus) could be the son of God, or that he was crucified and rose from the dead. So I in turn exhorted them to reach heaven by believing in Islam, which I told them is the true religion. I had heated arguments with them on many occasions. They could only find fault with my wretched life, but could not prevail over my arguments or prove my ideas wrong.

But without losing heart, one day they brought some gospel tracts.  They were based on the bible which I considered forbidden, for it is abrogated. [Most Muslims believe the teachings of Mohammed override, or abrogate, earlier Christian and Jewish scriptures—Ed]

Hence I went into a rage. The thought that the advice I had given them earlier regarding Islam had made no impact on them only increased my anger. I tore the tracts into pieces. With despicable words I threw the pieces into their faces and threatened to destroy them if they continued misleading others.

It was a serious matter that students of the priesthood were publicly insulted and persecuted, especially within the walls of a Christian institution. It looked almost certain that I would be expelled from the college. I could also expect trouble from many other directions.

The next day I went to the college armed with weapons and intent on using them. When I entered the class, the missionary students ran up to me and embraced me with love and joy. They surprised me by expressing regret for having caused me mental distress. Had the college been run by my religion and I found myself in the place of those missionaries, I know my reactions would have been very different. I was so touched by their love, kindness and gentle nature. The Holy Spirit, which reminds us about sin, righteousness and judgment, began to work upon me.

That night I found a piece of paper in a text book in my room. On it was written, “The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came to the world to save sinners, for whom I am the foremost” (1 Tim 1:15). On the reverse side of the paper I read, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 6:23). I did not know they were verses from the bible. But I was overcome.

All the sins and violations I had committed since childhood began to appear before me as if on a screen. I recognized all my iniquities, big and small. Each one of them seemed to transform into a blister on my body. The blisters burst open and became sores. The flesh and bones, from where pus began to flow out, became very hot and began to melt. Worms were competing to get at the marrow of the bones. The pain was unbearable. The stench could not be described. I was being pulled into a bottomless pit. There was nobody to save me.

“God, save me!” I cried out.

Then a man, holy, white and bright, descended from heaven and touched me. I understood it was Jesus. For a moment I closed my eyes with heavenly joy, for His touch cooled my body and mind. When I opened my eyes, all the blisters and sores had disappeared. It was as if I’d been washed with perfumed ointment. But Jesus, who came in bright and spotless, was now infected with blisters and sores. Pus and discharge was flowing out of them and worms and maggots roamed freely on his body. He now appeared as an abominable, foul-smelling creature.

 “Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our inequities; upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:4-5)

Christ had taken on himself all my afflictions. I should have been condemned to death for all my sins.  But I saw Christ taking on all my sins and being crucified in my place, for my sake.

Earlier I had never believed that Christ had been crucified. I used to ask how our sins could be washed away by his death, even if he was crucified. But now I was convinced how and for what Christ died.

“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Cor. 5:21)

I saw Jesus break the tomb and rise up from the dead, glorious and resplendent. I fell at his feet crying, “My Lord and my God!”

I do not know whether this experience was a dream, a revelation or a vision. I wasn’t a believer in anything like this. But it transformed me into a Christian.  It enabled me to throw away the old man and become new. I received joy and peace, the like of which I had never known before.

I shared my conversion of mind and my new joy that same night to my parents. Although they listened, they tried to dissuade me, saying this was only a trick played by Iblis (Satan).  But I was convinced that the loving God had saved me through His only Son, and that I would inherit eternal life.

I was baptized in water as soon as I accepted Him as my personal Savior. The Lord also baptized me with the Holy Spirit and granted me the gifts of the Spirit.

But mine has by no means been an easy path. Some of the community I formerly belonged to felt that my accepting Jesus Christ was an act of betrayal and they tried to take revenge. Someone once sprinkled sulfuric acid on me.

One day, I was narrating my Christian experiences to some of my friends near the mosque. Suddenly one of my cousins stabbed me, splitting my lower jaw. Everyone thought I might die. But God saved me and made me a witness again at that place.

My cousin began planning another way to kill me, and try to make it look like a suicide.  While tying a noose for me to the top of a tree, a gust of wind knocked the branch he was on to the ground. We found him there near death, and I instinctively wished he would die. But Jesus ordered me to love and nurse him as He had loved me when I was His enemy. He was taken to the hospital and was in plaster for more than six months. When he recovered, he accepted Jesus as his Savior.

When yet another person became a Christian, the Jama’ath (mosque) authorities chained me, shaved my head, and locked me in an underground cellar. When I tried to escape, they sprayed me with acid. I was beaten up several times and even lost a few teeth. I considered these experiences as lucky tips in the name of Jesus and as a symbol of my spiritual fervor.

The Lord visited a few more people who had caused me trouble, and most of them have come to believe in Jesus.

I have two sons and one daughter. A terrorist group once sent a division out to destroy my entire family. Their commander managed to make my children consume poison, and all three were taken to hospital in critical condition. My daughter remained in a coma for close to 30 days. Her remarkable recovery so resembled a resurrection from the dead that the man who had wanted to kill them became a follower of Jesus Christ. He has dedicated himself to working as a missionary and winning many souls unto His fold.

Pastor Paul in one of his demolished churches

Pastor Paul in one of his demolished churches

Another time, I and one of my assistant pastors were severely beaten in a village by a mob of radicals who also burned down our prayer hall. God alone has saved me, over and over.

Recently our Lord enabled me to overcome a murder attempt. Someone ran their motorcycle into me intentionally, trying to make it look like an accident. While I was in the hospital recovering, my wife and children faced murder threats at home as well, but God preserved us all miraculously.

I must mention that my parents, brothers and sisters were all devout Muslims. Most of the seniors are Hajjis (men who have made a pilgrimage to Mecca) and Hajjummas (women who have done so). Having let Jesus Christ into my life, I was ex-communicated and for quite some time was not allowed to have any contacts with my parents and extended family.

I and my wife felt sad about this, and brought it to the Lord in our prayers. Gradually, I began to re-establish links with my people through letters and telephone calls. Finally, a day came when they had accepted the fact that I worship Jesus Christ, visited my place and stayed with us and our children. I spoke to them about the love of God. We have maintained good contacts since then.

Two days before his death, my father had a vision of Jesus with the marks left by the nails on His hands and feet, and accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. My mother too became a believer shortly before she died.

My deep desire is to take the gospel to the unreached, especially to the world of Islam, and win them to the salvation of Jesus Christ.