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

Saved by Jesus from scheming friend, debt, doubt and suicide

Dominique and his Muslim friend Rahman* had known each other since boyhood. So as young adults, they decided to go into business together.

As plans for the business progressed, a friend of Dominique’s invited him to a Bibles for Mideast prayer meeting. A nominal Christian, Dominique figured some prayer for the business certainly couldn’t hurt and may even help, so went along. As the meeting drew to a close he approached the leader, Pastor Paul, for prayer.  He was hardly prepared for what he heard.

“Your Muslim friend Rahman will cheat you in business, and try to get you out of the partnership,” the pastor told Dominique he felt the Lord saying. “Your life is also in danger. Be careful, and look to Jesus before you do anything!” He then prayed for him.

Dominique walked away incredulous. He could not believe such nonsense about Rahman, he told the Christian friend who had brought him.  

“All these praying Christian people of whatever denomination are just frauds—trying to brainwash poor people and take advantage of them!” he proclaimed. Refusing to believe the warning, he chose to believe and trust Rahman instead. “He is a true Muslim,” he explained. “He prays Muslim prayers five times a day. He won’t cheat me.”

So the two friends started their company and, for the first two years, all went well. When profits began to decline and they had to borrow from a private bank at high interest rates, the business still languished. As debts grew, the bank took legal action against them. Soon, all and everyone seemed against them.

Hopelessly discouraged, the men devised a suicide pact. They would lie on a railway track face down, and wait until the train came to end their lives and their misery. They’d put stoppers in their ears and cover their eyes with pieces of cloth to block out the sounds and sight of death coming.

oncoming-train-steve-ohlsen-225x300.jpg

All seemed to be going according to plan. But before the train arrived, Dominique felt himself forcefully dragged off and away from the railway tracks.

“You have no authority to take your own soul and spirit!” a voice boomed. “That is my gift to you! I, Jesus your savior, am saving you from hell and from debt!”

Dominique pulled the stoppers from his ears and the cloth from his eyes and leapt to his feet. Glancing around he saw no one … not even Rahman. He watched the train roar by. His friend must have been killed, he figured, but where was he? Not finding the body on or near the tracks he decided the train likely dragged his body further along the track.  He ran along the line, but could see nothing.

Suddenly, out of the corner of his eye, he spied Rahman, mostly hidden behind a tree, watching him. He tried not to show he had noticed the so-called friend, and Rahman remained unaware he'd been seen.

Obviously, after the two had lain down on the tracks, Rahman had removed the ear and eye coverings and run to safety. Dominique immediately connected the dots, realizing the man had been a traitor in business as well, stealing money and creating false accounts.

train tracks.jpg

He headed straight from the railway tracks to where he knew he could find some Bibles for Mideast pastors. Telling them what happened, he openly and willingly confessed his sins and accepted Jesus as his personal savior and Lord.

As the pastors prayed for him, Dominique again heard the voice of Jesus . .. no longer thunderous, but now full of gentle love.

“You are not a man of debt,” Jesus assured him. “I forgive your debts, for you are my son and I am the richest man in all the world. You, and all my children, are my hidden treasures before my Father.”

Dominique progressed quickly in his walk with the Lord. He has been diligent in prayer and study and now serves with Bibles for Mideast as a pastor in North India. He married a young Christian woman, and they have one child. Please pray for him and his family.

Unfortunately, Rahman learned nothing from his mistakes. He went into another business partnership, with a Jain man this time, and the enterprise followed the same pattern:  a year or two of profit, then rapid decline and increasing debt. Rahman’s underhanded thievery again drove both the business and the friendship into the ground.  The partner by then had heard about the earlier business failure, and the two became sworn enemies.

A few months ago, Rahman died when a truck rammed into his motorcycle, crushing his head. Some reports are that the Jain man hired the truck driver to ‘cause’ the accident, but this cannot be confirmed.

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UPDATE: Pastor Peter Haneef, President of the Assembly of Loving God Church (ALG) Church of Bibles for Mideast, has just returned from ministering at a three-day gospel convention at Dominique's church in North India. He reports that several Muslims and Hindus have joined the Kingdom of Jesus! 
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*
Name changed for security reasons

Conversions in the millions: Muslims tasting the love of Jesus and embracing Christianity all over the globe

Report: Susanna Perry-Ettel

muslims to Christ.jpg

No one can deny that over the past several years, millions of Muslims worldwide have converted to Christianity. Once they taste His love, they soon sense that real freedom can be found only in Christ.

Many missionary organizations, including Bibles for Mideast, engage in evangelism to Muslims. Out of concern for the security and safety of new converts in some regions, we cannot publish all the details. Even the converts themselves often must resort to secrecy to survive.

This concern over safety proves the greatest complication in assessing the number of Muslims converting to Christianity in Islamic nations, according to Albert W. Hickman of the Center for the Study of Global Christianity.

"Many of these converts keep their new faith a secret. Some of them are fairly isolated, not knowing any other Christians," he noted.

"Others are part of house churches that consist exclusively of secret converts. These individual house churches can be part of networks that are quite extensive, although most individual members might be unaware of exactly how extensive."

Violence against Christian converts is connected to the rising tide of violence against Christians in the Islamic world, according to persecution watchdog group Open Doors USA.

The website Muslim Statistics reports that “A major Christian syndication has provided video evidence to us from their user data around the world which proves that a massive 350 million Muslims live their outward lives as Muslims, on the surface, but have secretly converted to Christianity” (article here).

In December 2001, Sheikh Ahmad al Qataani, a leading Saudi cleric, appeared on a live interview on Al-Jazeerah satellite television to confirm that, sure enough, Muslims were turning to Jesus in alarming numbers.

"In every hour, 667 Muslims convert to Christianity," Al Qataani warned. "Every day, 16,000 Muslims convert to Christianity. Every year, 6 million Muslims convert to Christianity."

Stunned, the interviewer interrupted the cleric. "Hold on! Let me clarify. Do we have six million converting from Islam to Christianity?" Al Qataani repeated his assertion. "Every year." The interview has since been removed from Al-Jazeerah’s website, but you can both view and read it in its entirety here

Muslim women come to pray in a church

Muslim women come to pray in a church

Thousands and thousands have turned to Christ in Bangladesh, India,  Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Pakistan, Maldives, Egypt, Morocco, Libya, Tanzania, Cambodia, Somalia and many other Asian and African countries. Bibles for Mideast has about 150 gospel teams ministering in different Asian, African and Middle Eastern nations. Out of those, 20 are led by women, and many Muslim women convert because of these women evangelists. 

A vast number of Muslims who have turned to Christ in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, UAE, Jordan and Palestine now worship in underground house churches. We hear many miracles of healing, deliverance and even resurrections from the dead.

Some members of ruling Arabian families have come to faith in Jesus as Lord and face persecutions such as house arrest or imprisonment (see Royal Family members believe in Jesus, now face death threats and prison).

While there were only 17 Christian converts from Islam in Afghanistan in 2001, more than 250,000 believers now exist. Hundreds of baptisms happen every week.

In 1990, there were merely three known Christians in Kazakhstan and none in Uzbekistan. Now more than 250,000 worship Jesus in Kazakhstan, and 350, 000 in Uzbekistan. In 1979 there were fewer than 500 Christians in Iran. Since then, millions of Iranians have come to believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior, most meeting in underground house churches.

In Sudan, despite a radical Islamic regime and an ongoing genocide that has killed more than 200,000, more than one million have converted since 2000, and some five million have become Christians since the early 1990s. Seminaries are being held in caves to train pastors to shepherd the huge numbers of people coming to Christ. Why such a dramatic spiritual awakening?

"People have seen real Islam, and they want Jesus instead," a Sudanese evangelical leader reports.

One of the most dramatic developments is that many Muslims—including Shiites in Iran and Iraq—are having dreams and visions of Jesus, and thus are coming into churches explaining that they have already converted and now need a bible and guidance on how to follow Jesus. This is the fulfillment of biblical prophecy from the book of Joel:

"In the last days, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days.... And everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved." (Joel 2:28-32)

Even though persecution against Christians in Bangladesh is on the rise, so too is the number of Muslims converting to Christianity.

“When I began my ministry in Kurigram, there was only one Christian family with a Muslim background,” says Pastor Faruk of Bangladesh, who converted to Christianity from Islam in 1995. “Now, almost 1,500 believers from Muslim backgrounds are glorifying God in this area.” As many as 100,000 Muslims across Bangladesh have converted to Christianity in the last six years.

“Persecution will come more, but the believers and I are ready to face it," Pastor Faruk added.

In India, millions of Muslims are choosing to follow Christ and now face hardships and persecutions.

A large number of Muslim refugees in Europe from Syria, Iran and Afghanistan have also converted to Christianity, with some churches conducting mass baptisms.

Refugees lining up for baptism

Refugees lining up for baptism

"I've been spat on and told that I've betrayed Islam,” confessed a Syrian refugee baptized as a Christian in Germany. “But through what I've learned, I can forgive them."

"In Islam, we always lived in fear. Fear of God, fear of sin, fear of punishment. However, Christ is a God of love," an Iranian refugee reported in Switzerland.

"I've been looking all my life for peace and happiness, but in Islam, I have not found it," added Shima, another Iranian refugee.

In Austria there were at least 300 applications for adult christenings in the first three months of 2016 alone, with up to 70 percent of those said to be refugees.

“Within a few years all of the Muslim nations will come to Christ by the work of the Holy Spirit,” Pastor Paul of Bibles for Mideast, himself a former Muslim, says with conviction. “Satan knows it, that's why he tries to discourage and destroy the Christian workers and the believers through terrorism, persecution and brutal murdering. But our Lord Jesus will have the final victory.”

Since making that statement, Pastor Paul was again a victim of radical terrorists and is still recovering (those stories here: Despite persecution, more than 3000 former Muslims baptized,  Stoned by terrorists, protected by a lion!,  Prayer support still desperately needed for Pastor Paul and family).

Idris, another pastor with Bibles for Mideast, reports that countless ordinary Muslims, witnessing the brutal behavior of fanatics and terrorists towards Christians, are turning secretly to Christianity.

Please keep this ministry and its workers in your prayers! We so appreciate your ongoing interest and support. If you would like to submit your own prayer request or support the ministry in any way, please use the form here

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)

Miraculously sending His Word, the Lord radically saves Islamic scholar and teacher

Report: Pastor Paul of Bibles for Mideast

Abu Omar (name changed for security reasons) had been for many years a religious scholar and highly-respected citizen of the Middle East. He taught and preached the Koran, the Hadith and Sharia law in mosques and Islamic schools.

While getting into his car after evening prayers in the mosque, he noticed a piece of paper stuck to his car window. He pulled it off, climbed into his vehicle, put on the light and began reading it. 

“The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Rom. 6:23)

Furious, he crumpled it up. Then, taking the rifle he kept in his car, he stepped out to see if he could find the person who had left the tract. Seeing no one, he threw the paper out and drove away.

On the way home, he stopped in front of a shopping mall. A piece of paper flew towards him and stuck to his clothes: the same bible verse! Tearing it up, he stuffed it in the nearest waste bin.

After shopping, he came back to his car and as he opened the door, pieces of paper blew towards him from the garbage can—the same ones he had ripped up and thrown there. Enraged, he gathered them up and set them ablaze with his lighter.

As he drove home he felt something on his left shoulder. He pulled it off, and glanced to see a piece of burnt paper. He stopped the car to read it: “The wages of sin is death”. A terrible fear came to his mind. With other Muslims, Abu believed in two recording angels, one recording good deeds, and the other bad. He presumed ‘Atid’, the one recording all of his sins and bad deeds, sat on his left shoulder.

Suddenly he felt something on his right shoulder. There he found another scrap of burnt paper. Taking it off he read: “The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” He also held the Islamic belief that another angel named ‘Raqib’ rested on his right shoulder recording his good deeds. In frightened wonderment, he placed the pieces of gospel tract in the dashboard.

Abu Omar could now barely sleep at night. He began pondering the biblical teachings on Jesus Christ. His habit had been to get up at dawn to go to the mosque for morning prayer.

While sleeping fitfully one night, Jesus appeared to him in a dream and said, “Stop being afraid! I am the first and the last: I am he that lives, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive forever and always. And I hold the keys to Death and Hell.” (Rev 1:17-18)

Abu Omar saw his nail-pierced hands and knew he had to be Jesus.  He rose from the bed immediately and prostrated himself before Him. When he found the courage to raise his head, the Lord disappeared. He then heard the call for morning prayer from the mosque, but didn’t go.

He rushed to his car to retrieve the pieces of burnt paper from the dash board. On the back of one, he found a mobile number and calling it, connected with Pastor Steve of Bibles for Mideast.

Pastor Steve shared the gospel, and Abu Omar accepted Jesus as his own personal savior and Lord. The pastor later presented  him with a bible, and invited him to join in the 21 days fasting and prayer called by the Assembly of Loving God (ALG) Church. Abu also began preparing for baptism.

Pastor Steve’s secret underground house church of Bibles for Mideast is in an area highly hostile to Christianity.  Please hold all these believers in your prayers.