Saved from Islam and suicide by a raging river

Report: Bibles for Mideast and an underground ALG Church

Asmath*, born and brought up in a predominantly Muslim country in central Asia, never met her natural father. Five months before she was born, her father divorced her mother and left the family home. When she was only three, her mother re-married, but her stepfather refused to accept her as his own. So she was handed over to a Yateem Khana (orphanage). She grew up there according to the tenets of Islam, and learned to practice all the required rituals.

Girls at a Yateem Khana (representational image)

Girls at a Yateem Khana (representational image)

When she reached the age of 20, a much-older man asked the orphanage if he could marry the young woman. Even though the 60-year old had other wives and children older than Asmath, the orphanage officials told her she had little choice but to marry him. After so many years of isolation and loneliness, she decided to go along with the proposal.

But the man had a heart condition, and died within two months of their marriage. With the funeral service barely over, his children forced her to leave their home, saying it was no longer hers.

So she decided to put an end to her life of misery. She found what seemed like the perfect way: leaping from a tall bridge into a deep river flowing below.

In a village near the banks of the same river, miles downstream, many Muslim families had accepted Jesus Christ into their lives under the ministry of an underground Bibles for Mideast ALG church in their area. The villagers, including the church’s leader Pastor Hamad* and his family, live in mud houses with no modern conveniences. The river banks serve for most of their ‘primary needs’, and Pastor Hamad baptizes new believers in the same river. He always conducts early-morning baptismal services to avoid the spying eyes of authorities and radical Muslim neighbors.

Early one morning, as church members prepared for another of these exciting services, they noticed the body of a young woman lying submerged near the shore of the river. Running to drag her body out of the water, they discovered she was still breathing, but barely.

As onlookers prayed, Pastor Hamad pushed and released her chest and stomach until water began gushing from her mouth. He then breathed into her as others rubbed her feet and palms to warm her up.

She gradually began breathing more easily, opened her eyes and began to talk. They learned how far upriver she had jumped to her death, and realized that only the Lord could have protected her and brought her to them. With the believers joining in, the pastor prayed over her.

He then gave a short gospel message to all gathered around, explaining the salvation possible only in Jesus Christ and the importance of baptism. He then baptized five people, with Asmath intently listening to and watching all that went on.

When the service ended, they brought her back with them to their church, where they participated in a joyful Lord’s Supper as she continued to observe.

That night, Jesus came to Asmath in a dream.

“Fear not. I am your Lord and God,” he said to her. “I am the only one who can be your very present help in trouble. And I am the life and resurrection.”

Then he showed her his nail-pierced hands.  “See, I have suffered this for you,” he said. “for I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands. Have faith in me.”

She knew that it had to have been the Lord Jesus who had rescued her and now offered her new life. The next day she shared her dream—as well as her story—to the pastor, and accepted Jesus as her personal savior and Lord.

Asmath now studies the word of God and helps out with the ministries of the church. She recently asked to be baptised, and just last week she was!

Believers in Asmath’s country attend underground churches and worship as secretly as possible due to severe persecution. Accusations of blasphemy happen regularly and mean dire punishment or death. And it’s not only government officials they fear; terrorist groups war against Christians there as well.

Please pray for Asmath, for all the underground ALG churches and the ministries of Bibles for Mideast.

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* Names changed for security reasons

Stoned by terrorists, protected by a lion!

By Pastor Paul, Director of Bibles for Mideast

My risen Lord Jesus Christ has saved my life once again, and I praise and thank God for His unspeakable grace! Certainly I am not worthy of it.

The Assembly of Loving God (ALG) Church of Bibles for Mideast called for 21 days fasting and prayer from March 13 to April 2. As that drew to a close, more than 3000 former Muslims were baptized in many of our churches in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. The Lord enabled me to baptize many people during this time.

About three weeks ago, I was changing my wet clothes after an early-morning baptism service for one of our churches. Suddenly, militants began stoning me and our group. My head was severely injured and bloodied, and a number of others sustained injuries as well.

Believers rushed me to the nearest hospital. An examination showed serious damage to my skull, so I was transferred to a specialist hospital for immediate surgery. Authorities there, however, refused to do surgery before receiving payment. My poor believing friends somehow managed to comply.

The Islamic militants who had attacked us discovered I was undergoing treatment in that hospital, and plotted to kill me. So the believers shifted me from the hospital to Pastor Ayyoob’s house in a nearby forested area.

Pastor Ayyoob lives there with his wife, two young children and 80-year-old mother. Two believers joined us to help care for me. So the eight of us stayed there—with no internet, electricity, piped-in water, or even proper bathrooms.  For primary things we used the forest areas and a nearby river.

Believers secretly visited me at the forest home and we would have prayer services together. I stayed there about three weeks.

Last Sunday (April 16, Easter Sunday), we were in the midst of our worship service with Pastor Ayyoob leading. Suddenly, a group of militants reached the house, armed with steel bars and other weapons. We had no idea what to do.

I still hadn’t (and have not) fully recovered from the surgery. Pastor Ayyoob’s mother is an elderly, sick woman. We also had two children below four years old with us, and a woman seven months pregnant who came for the service.

Militants had found the house by noticing the people attempting to visit me secretly and coming for prayers.

Losing all hope, we thought for sure this was our last day. The children with us started crying. We all joined hand in hands and repeatedly praised and thanked our risen Lord Jesus Christ. We also continually claimed the blood of Jesus Christ as our victory.  The pregnant woman suffered pain, but joined in our praises to the Lord.

O Lord Jesus! Praise His Holy Name. Completely unexpectedly, a lion ran from the forest, leapt towards the militants, and seized one by the neck. When other combatants tried to attack the lion, two other lions bounded towards them. The terrified militants fled the site, and the lions left us completely alone. Equally astonishing, records show no lions are supposed to live in that forest.

Due to pressure from officials, we left the forest home yesterday.

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UPDATE
Pastor Paul took months to recover, and required further surgery in another hospital. Due to security concerns and threats on his life, he had to leave that hospital early as well. You can read more about that
here. Please keep him and the many other Bibles for Mideast workers whose lives are so often in danger in your prayers.

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)

41 former Muslims baptised!

By God’s grace, 41 former Muslims were recently baptized in the Middle East. Leaders of the Bibles for Mideast organization conducted the baptismal ceremony in a highly restricted area.

All candidates had accepted Jesus as their personal savior and Lord, fully believe he was crucified and died at Calvary for their sins, and that he rose from the dead. They knew that through and by his blood they had received redemption. Each personally requested this next step in their Christian journey, wanting to be purified in the Spirit and the water and be ready to meet Him. Our Lord’s return is imminent, they all believe.

Bibles for Mideast had called for five days of global fasting and prayer the previous week, and all candidates had taken part to prepare themselves for the planned mass baptism. When their bus arrived at the seashore at dawn that day, they discovered the area to be tightly patrolled by police.

“We smelled a dangerous situation at the seashore,” reports Pastor Paul, Director of the organization. “So we returned back to spend another day in fasting and prayer. We also divided the people into three groups, and conducted the service in three different places the next day.”

The organization had a special meeting later on the day of the planned baptism (Dec. 5) to discuss and formulate plans for the growth of the church in Asia, Africa and the Middle East among Muslims.

Close to 150 underground house churches worship the Lord in different areas under the directorship of Bibles for Mideast.

Pastor Paul said in his inaugural address to those gathered that all of the house churches must come under a separate church administration. He also said every church must become a self-supporting, missionary-sending church. Serious discussion ensued and a sub-committee was appointed for further action.

Bibles for Mideast is not a church, but a missionary organization spreading the gospel, distributing bibles and establishing churches. So it was decided all the separate churches need separate administration and curriculum.

Pastor Paul also strongly urged each church to give a bible to every believer as a Christmas and New Year’s gift. They should also, he advised, present a bible with an accompanying message of salvation to one of their best Muslim friends. This would serve to win others to Christ as well as train believers to be missionary-minded people, part of a missionary church.

1,200 former Muslims prepare for baptism

Report: Bibles for Mideast

baptism copy.jpg

Close to 1,200 former  Muslims who now believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior are preparing for baptism in a dozen Middle Eastern countries, as well as some Asian and African nations. All personally requested the pastors of Bibles for Mideast to baptize them as soon as possible.

The pastors and gospel teams of Bibles for Mideast have been fasting and praying along with the believers for the guidance of our Lord and His will to be done. God willing, baptismal services will be held within a few days in these different regions..

Terrorists, militants and religious police vigilantly oppose evangelical activities in all of these areas, and will do all they can to prevent the baptisms. God alone can protect the people from harm.

Bibles for Mideast baptized 24 former Muslims in the Arabian Sea last week. Islamic militants, on discovering the plans, arrived on the scene ready to shoot those in attendance. But our gracious Lord created a giant dust storm between the candidates and the militants, protecting them all. The incident encouraged the new believers tremendously, strengthening their faith and determination.

We request the earnest prayers of God’s children around the globe for this great task. May the power of the Highest overshadow all of the candidates, ministers, attendees and other believers and seekers. May our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ seal them by His precious victorious life-giving blood, shed on Calvary for the salvation of humanity. May the power of the Holy Spirit cover them all with His Mighty flame. May our Lord be with them and use them as His witness to many, especially within the Muslim world. Amen and halleluiah!

"But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.  Then He said to His disciples, "The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest."  (Matt. 9:36-38)