From Islamic enforcer and Christian killer to underground church leader: a modern-day Muslim Saul

For years, Zakkir* and his father lived to uphold the many religious rules governing their 100% Muslim country, one of the strictest in the Middle East. They followed Islamic ritual practices fanatically, and if they witnessed anything or anyone ‘out of order’, had no compunctions about resorting to violence. 

While Zakkir’s father served in the often-merciless Islamic religious force known as Muttawa, his son headed up an outlaw gang of angry young militants. All were fully committed to punishing anyone daring to defy the stern laws and practices of Islam.

Taliban religious police beating a woman because she dared to remove her burqa in public

Taliban religious police beating a woman because she dared to remove her burqa in public

“If anyone passed along the road by the mosque at the time of Namaz [Islamic prayer], our gang would stop and brutally beat them for not attending,” Zakkir explains. 

One day, he noticed some Christians distributing sample gospels and, he says, trying to convert several Muslims. The gang determined to put a stop to the evangelical activities.

“We attacked their office,” Zakkir relates, “and killed three of them.” Pleased with themselves, the men were jubilant when they discovered later that the ‘infidels’ had also been secretly translating bibles into Arabic.

Soon they were back at their post, stopping those passing by the mosque at the time of Friday prayer, insisting they come in.  They pulled over one man in the midst of rushing his sick child to hospital, and refused to take even that as an excuse.

“I dragged him out of the car myself,” Zakkir confesses. But as he did, the distraught father grabbed a gun from his glove compartment and fired off three shots directly into his assailant’s chest. Zakkir fell to the ground, and the man jumped back into his car and drove off.

The young militant’s friends sped him to the hospital. Surgeons managed to remove only two of the bullets, deciding that taking out the third, lodged in a dangerous position in his chest, would mean certain death.

He remained in a coma for several days, and doctors gave up hope for his recovery. Friends and relatives who had been by his hospital bed from the beginning gave up as well, leaving him alone in the hospital to die.

Bibles for Mideast director Pastor Paul ‘just happened’ to be visiting the country with several other missionaries at the time. In prayer for their mission, he received clear instructions about Zakkir and his condition in a vision, even though the two had never met.

“Not only did the Lord ask me to visit him,” he recalls, “but He told me to bring him back with me from the hospital! We fully trust our Lord, so without any doubts we went. My coworkers suggested we take along separate clothes for him, since he would be in a hospital gown.”

He, Pastor Rahim* and two other evangelists headed off to the hospital, found Zakkir’s room, and began to pray over his comatose body.

“At this moment,” the militant remembers vividly, “I had a dream that Jesus Christ came to me and said, ‘I am your Lord and Savior, I have been wounded for you, and by my stripes you are healed. I choose you as one of my vessels to bring many to my fold.’"

He says the Lord then touched his wounds with His own nail-scarred hands. “Suddenly, the remaining bullet jumped from my chest automatically, as I felt new blood flow through my veins!” He opened his eyes to see four people praying over him.

“I thought they were angels of the Lord,” he says. Pastor Paul made clear they were simply servants of the Lord Jesus Christ, and that they’d been given instructions to come and pray for him. He also explained to him the way of salvation.

“He is the author of life, believe in Him and you will be saved." 

Zakkir hardly needed convincing. He got up, accepted Jesus as his Lord and savior, and surrendered his life to the Lord of Life. The missionaries helped him into his ‘new clothes’, and then secretly whisked him away.

“No one knew about my escape with the pastors,” he explains. As only Jesus could work it, Zakkir now heads up an underground Bibles for Mideast affiliated church in his country.

“I am not worthy to be a pastor of our Lord's Church, for I was persecuting the Church,” he says, sounding for all the world like the Apostle Paul writing to the Corinthians (1 Cor. 15:9**). “But I am pastoring an underground ALG church. We are taking care of the persecuted Christians who were former Muslims.”

Please pray for Zakkir and the Christian colleagues he lives with as they work to spread the Kingdom of Jesus in a dark and restrictive kingdom of this world.

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* names changed for security reasons
** "
I don’t deserve to be included in that inner circle, as you well know, having spent all those early years trying my best to stamp God’s church right out of existence." [1 Cor. 15:9, The Message]

Despite persecution, more than 3,000 former Muslims baptized

Report: Bibles for Mideast

(April 05, 2017)  By God’s grace, in spite of setbacks and persecution, more than 3,000 former Muslims were recently baptized in all of the churches of Assembly of Loving God (ALG) in the Middle East, Asia and Africa. 

Bibles for Mideast had evangelized them and prepared them to witness Jesus Christ in the water and by the Spirit. What a tremendous blessing as our 21 days of fasting and prayer wrapped up!

Satan tried to spoil the ministry many times, but our Lord Jesus Christ destroyed all the evil plans.

In one church in Asia, the pastor and newly-baptized believers were attacked by fanatics. Pastor Paul was stoned while changing out of his wet clothes after the baptism service, receiving a blow to his head. Hameed, Fasal, Ruqiya, Sheela and Bishara were wounded as well.

In his epistle to the Philippians, the apostle Paul spoke of knowing the fellowship of the Lord’s sufferings and his goal to experience the power of His resurrection (Phil 3:9-11). We aspire to the same.

Five strong powers worked together against our Lord’s resurrection.

1)  The government: Pontius Pilate, the Roman prefect (governor) ordered the Lord’s crucifixion and also commanded the sepulchre be sealed;

2)  The military: soldiers guarding the burial site;

3)  The Lord’s own people: the Jews wanted to seal the tomb and set a watch;

4)  Heathen: all screamed against Jesus;

5)  Satan: of course never wanted the resurrection of Jesus.

But our Lord Jesus Christ overcame all these powers by rising from death and the grave. Such was the power of His resurrection!

Certainly we too need to overcome these forces. Most governments do not favor Christianity; police, military, terrorists and other militants all conspire against us. Many of our own people (blood-relatives or nominal Christians) do not share our precious faith in Jesus Christ. Non-believers and satanic forces everywhere work against our evangelistic activities.

Let us overcome all these powers by experiencing the power of our Lord’s resurrection.

“In the world you face persecution,” Jesus said. “But take courage; I have overcome the world!” (John 16:33)

St. John says, “For whoever is born of God overcomes the world: and this is the victory that overcomes the world: our faith. Who is it that has won the battle over the world? Only the person who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.” (1 John 5: 4-5)

End-time prophecy about the Middle East

Special message from Pastor Paul

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

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

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

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

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

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

Abducted missionaries miraculously rescued from terrorists in Middle East

(June 20, 2016) The last three stories in the Bibles for Mideast website have built to this astonishing Book of Acts conclusion. As reported earlier: That article included a call to 100 hours of concerted prayer and fasting for the missionaries’ release, as well as for other serious global needs.
Today, we have the following jubilant report from Pastor Paul of Bibles for Mideast:

1.    12 Arabs convert from Islam and are baptized;
2.    The missionaries involved are attacked and hospitalized;
3.    The missionaries aren’t safe in hospital and are abducted by terrorists as they try to return home.

Today, we have the following jubilant report from Pastor Paul of Bibles for Mideast:
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All praise and glory to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit! Mere words cannot express our thanks and praise to our Lord Jesus Christ for His unspeakable grace and gifts. He is our Wonderful Counselor. He always hears and cares for His children.  Today we praise and thank Him for the miraculous rescue of abducted Bibles for Mideast missionaries Stephan, Samuel and James. We thank every prayer warrior fasting and praying for them around the globe.

The Lord brought the three men safely back to us this evening. They are extremely tired and weak because of the stress, lack of food and sleep, and a long walk through the desert.  When we saw them, we all embraced and wept together, praising our Lord.

No one can tell the story better than the men themselves. Here, Pastors Stephan and Samuel, along with Evangelist James, describe what happened:

“After the worship service and Lord’s Supper, we were going back home. On the way we met somebody who smiled at us and said ‘Assalamu Alaikkum,’ which means ‘peace be with you’. We replied, and got an opportunity to speak about real peace, and the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ. We explained to him using Bible verses about the Lord’s birth, life, ministries, crucifixion and resurrection … and the need for salvation for everyone. Accepting Him as savior and Lord is real peace, freedom and the way to heaven, we told him.

“All at once, several extremists jumped out at us with sticks and iron pipes, took the Bible from our hands by force, tore it up and threw it away. We consider the Bible precious for our life, so we begged to have it back. At that point one of them started beating us, others shouted ‘Kill them, kill them!’ They all then began beating us and shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ [an Arabic phrase translated directly as ‘Allah is Greater’ but often mistranslated as ‘God is great’—Ed.].

“A bus driving by immediately stopped, and the travellers jumped out and attacked the extremists and rescued us. They then brought us, in the bus, to the hospital and had us admitted. James was the most seriously injured.

“While in the hospital we sensed unusual movement, that someone was against us. So we asked the doctors to discharge us from the hospital. Though Brother James was not yet well enough to walk properly, we did not want to leave him alone at the hospital. He also wanted us to take him with us. So we helped him leave as well.

“We hired a taxi. It was a fake taxi. There were two other passengers also inside the taxi. As soon as the car started moving, they took out a revolver and pointed it at us. At gunpoint, they asked us many questions about our ministries and its workers. When we started screaming loudly, they tied our mouths and hands, and assaulted our heads and faces. They accused us of propagating western religion. They said we have no right to live any more on earth, and that we would be killed. Then they blindfolded us.

“About three hours passed. They took us to some other people, who we suppose were the leaders of the group. They also shouted at and assaulted us. When we fell to the ground, they kept attacking us savagely. Finally, they locked us up in a cellar.  There they untied our eyes, mouths and hands and locked the door.

“The cellar had a bad smell, reeking of dead bodies and human waste. We could see blood marks on the wall. There were no windows or ventilation, only one small door. We were sure death was near.

“We called upon our Lord Jesus. We held hands and prayed for our Lord’s will to be done; and also for the salvation of those who had attacked, abducted, assaulted and put us into the cellar. We asked the Lord to make them His witnesses. For hours and hours we prayed. We could not sleep. We did not get any food or water.  We were not aware of the day and the night. And it was so hot in that cellar. But God gave us courage to remain faithful. We were surprised that we did not ever feel the need to pass urine or have bowel movements. Our Lord protected us.

“After maybe three or four days, we clearly felt our Lord’s presence in that cellar.  A bright light flooded the room. We could smell costly perfume. We began praising and worshipping the Lord. While we prayed, we felt oil being applied to our bodies. At first we wondered whether the terrorists were doing it before taking us out for execution. But then we realized nobody else was with us! Our Lord had done it. By the anointing of the oil, all of our outer and inner injuries were healed.

“While we prayed, we noticed a small creature going through a small hole in the wall. We found a nail and used it to try to make the hole bigger. We thought maybe this would be a way to escape, so we dug deeper and further. And finally, we saw a small opening to a narrow passage.

“We praised the Lord and, one by one, entered the passage. We travelled in darkness for maybe 100 meters. We were haunted by the fear of enemies with guns, of snakes, of wild creatures, but an unspoken courage guided us. The passage ended at the desert, which is outside of the terrorists’ main compound.

“From there, we knew we had to run very fast. There was pleasant moonlight, but we had no idea which direction to go in. Then we noticed a bird circling overhead. First we thought it was a local bird, but by the way it flew and performed, we think it may have been an eagle or a falcon. And we understood it had to be from the Lord to guide us.”

The men trudged through the hot desert sun and blowing sand for hours, with temperatures over 45°C (113 °F). The next morning, clouds sheltered them some from the excessive heat.

They decided to rest under the moonlight the second night, sleeping three or four hours. While sleeping, all three had the same dream (or was it a vision?): that the Lord’s angels came and fed them with appetizing food.

The next morning, 42 hours after their escape, the men followed their bird guide up to a house they did not recognize, and watched in wonder as it stopped to peck on the door of the home. Somewhat fearful at who might open it, all were astonished to see the equally overwhelmed faces of their fellow Bibles for Mideast missionaries. All embraced in joyful amazement, praising and thanking our miracle-working Lord.

When they attempted to point out the bird that had guided them, it had vanished.

“It’s the second time our Lord Jesus Christ saved us from death,” they explain. “First, He saved us from sin and death through salvation. Now He saved us from death by the hands of terrorists. So we submit our lives completely to Jesus Christ. And it is our topmost priority and responsibility to do His ministry and keep winning souls into His fold.”

We value your support, especially your prayers, and could not keep going without it. If you would like to support the ministry of Bibles for Mideast in any way, please use our CONTACT form. May God bless, encourage and guide you in all your ways.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Maheen with bibles for distribution

Maheen with bibles for distribution

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

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

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

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* names changed for security reasons