Attacked by wild pig, rescued by ‘man with nail-scarred hands’

Pastor Paul's wife Mercy shares a pivotal, transformational experience in her grandmother's life

My grandmother Eliyamma grew up in a heavily-forested area in a highrange region of India. Her family was religious but hadn’t been taught what it meant to have a living relationship with Jesus Christ. Child marriage was common in India at the time, so at the age of 13 she married a man named Mathai.

Eliyamma and Mathai lived with her family in their mud house in the forest. They had no electricity or running water, and there wasn’t a local market to buy food. Her father and Mathai worked hard to reclaim the forest for their small farm, where they cultivated coffee and spices such as pepper and cardamom.

Because the family had no pipes to get suitable drinking water to their house or even a well nearby, it was part of the women’s daily chores to fetch water from the river.

One day, when Eliyamma was 27, she walked down to the river to fill up her water pot. As she bent over the water’s edge, a wild pig charged out of the underbrush and brutally attacked her. She fought back, using the water pot as a defensive shield and weapon to swing at the pig’s head.

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But as they fought, the wild pig became even more enraged and fierce. His sharp teeth ripped her legs and arms. Eliyamma knew her life was in jeopardy when blood began to flow profusely from her torn body. She cried out for help, but no one was nearby.

Suddenly a man appeared out of nowhere. He drove the pig away and then knelt down beside her to tend to her wounds. When his hands touched the torn places on her body, she was immediately healed.

Still in shock, Eliyamma’s eyes grew wide with astonishment as she saw the palms of the man’s hands. They were nail-scarred; he carried the markings of crucifixion. Reverence and awe filled her heart. Only one response came to mind as she recognized who attended her. She prostrated herself on the ground and said, “My Lord and my God!”

It was but a moment that she was face down in the soil, which was damp with river water mingled with blood. When she slowly raised her head, her Rescuer had disappeared.

After this dramatic incident, Eliyamma had an insatiable hunger to know more about Jesus. She accepted Him as her personal Savior and, as a result of her testimony, her entire family believed and received Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

In their lifetimes, Eliyamma and Mathai had a total of sixty-seven children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

Eliyamma at 100!

Eliyamma at 100!

Being one of them, I grew up knowing Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I married a man named Paul who, though Muslim by birth, accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Savior and Lord on his twenty-first birthday while studying at university. Now we are winning souls for Christ.

My grandfather, Mathai, went home to be with the Lord when Eliyamma was 62. Thirty-nine years later, Jesus took Eliyamma home when she was 101. Up until that day, she eagerly awaited being with her Rescuer face-to-face, and she devoted her life to studying the Bible, praying for others, and glorifying her Lord as His living witness.

“The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear?” (Ps. 27: 1)

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This forms a chapter from Amazing Modern-Day Miracles:  52 True Stories to Strengthen Your Faith by Suzanne Frey. 

Saved first from Islam, then by a giant bird of prey from Islamic extremists

Report: Bibles for Mideast and an underground ALG Church

Fadila* and her husband Al Rafeeq*, both former Muslims, serve in the Middle East as volunteer evangelists with Bibles for Mideast.

Fadila, once a strong devotee of Islam, converted to Christianity through the miraculous healing of her bedridden mother. As a result of that dramatic healing, she, her parents and siblings all accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior and began regularly attending an ALG underground church in their area.  

As we reported two years ago in our first story about Fadila (Bedridden Arab Muslim woman healed by Jesus; she and her family now believe), her father’s second wife and her children by him—Fadila’s half-siblings—became hostile to the new Christians in the family and even threatened to call religious authorities. While her father came to faith in Christ as well, he kept it quiet out of fear of possible reprisal from the threats of this other wife.

But Fadila, along with her brothers and sisters, regularly prayed for their step-mother, and if opportunity arose, would try to talk to her about the salvation possible only in Jesus.

When one of the second wife’s younger children developed a severe fever with seizures. Fadila prayed over the little girl, and immediately she was healed. So the woman, no longer able to deny the power and reality of Christianity, finally accepted Jesus as her personal savior. Her young children all readily followed her into the Kingdom.

This emboldened Fadila to share her testimony and the gospel message with many of her friends and relatives. When possible, she would also join some missionaries for Bibles for Mideast in her area, distributing bibles and sample gospels.

One of her distant relatives, a young man named Al Rafeeq, grew increasingly furious as all the members of Fadila’s household converted.  Unfazed, she went out of her way to meet with Rafeeq and at least try to share the gospel message with him.

He not only refused to listen, but ordered her to ‘get lost!’—as she had done when Christian pastors several years earlier visited her home to pray for her mother. Still, out of both stubbornness and perseverance, she refused to give up. And many visits later, she did finally persuade him of his need for salvation. Fadila brought him to her pastor, who gave him further instructions in God’s Word, will and ways. Finally, convicted and convinced, he accepted Jesus as his own personal Lord and savior.

The bond between Fadila and Rafeeq grew and soon blossomed into love. Not long ago, they married in an ALG church with the full support and participation of her household and other new believers. The newlyweds now volunteer with Bibles for Mideast, doing personal evangelism and distributing bibles to many of their fellow Arabs in the Middle East.

Their path together has been short so far, but treacherous. They have been threatened numerous times, even with death. Still they refuse to worry, completely trusting and believing, they say, in the powerful, mighty protection of their Lord Jesus Christ.

Two weeks ago, as they walked home late one evening after visiting and sharing the gospel with a neighbour, three masked men suddenly jumped from the darkness and attacked them.

A furious falcon attacking university researchers (who were trying to tag their young) in the US. [Photo courtesy Caters News Agency]

A furious falcon attacking university researchers (who were trying to tag their young) in the US. [Photo courtesy Caters News Agency]

“Jesus, save us! Jesus save us!” Rafeeq and Fadila screamed.

The words of their cries provoked the attackers even more.  While one man aimed his rifle at Rafeek, the other two attempted to rape Fadila.

“JESUS!!!” the couple screamed again.

A giant falcon-like bird swooped out of seemingly nowhere.  It first attacked the man holding the rifle, and then lunged at the other two with its beak and talons. All three attackers ran for their lives. 

Just as swiftly, the bird disappeared. Rafeeq and Fadila say they have never seen such a bird before—close to four times larger than a common falcon. They have absolutely no doubt their awesome Jesus saved and rescued them from certain harm. They fell to their knees on the spot, praising and thanking the Lord for his mighty deliverance. 

Please keep them and their ministry in your prayers!

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names changed for security reasons

Dead Imam comes alive during burial preparations; a year and a half later, he heads up a newborn church!

Report: Bibles for Mideast

Munaf Ali*, 46, had served faithfully as Imam and preacher at his Middle Eastern mosque for years. On one fateful day in March of 2016, the Bibles for Mideast gospel team decided to pay him a visit. As they chatted, the topic of Jesus and the Bible naturally came up. The imam heatedly denied both the divinity of Christ and the credibility of the Christian Bible. He angrily rejected their offer of a sample gospel and proceeded to curse the missionaries.

He then formulated a plan of assault. Gathering a mob of fanatics, he led them in an effort to attack the gospel team. With shouts of ‘Allahu Akbar’ (Arabic for ‘Allah is Greater’—Ed.], they arrived at the site they’d heard the group met at. Fortunately, by God’s leading, the team had decided to meet elsewhere.

A few days later, the imam was on his way back to his home after the Friday afternoon Juma Namaz (ritual prayers) at the mosque. Suddenly overcome by faintness, he fell to the ground. As he slipped into unconsciousness, he witnessed demons arriving on the scene—intent, he says, on taking his soul.

“Get lost, you cursed demons of Allah!” he yelled at them as best he could. “You have no right to take my soul!” 

“No,” they responded. "It is our right to take your life.” He says they then forcefully “took his soul.”

As the demons turned to leave, Jesus himself suddenly appeared, Munaf reports, flanked by a vast array of angels. The demons fled in terror.

"Listen, my son," Jesus said to Munaf. "The first Adam disobeyed God and sinned against Him under the pressure of Satan. The gates of heaven were shut down because of his sin.

“I am the second Adam, the Word of God and Messiah Jesus, Son of the Most High. I was born of the Virgin Mary as a sinless Son of Man to redeem the first Adam and all of his descendants—including you—from sin and death. I was crucified and died as a ransom for all for your sins, to make you a child of God and citizen of heaven."

"I rose from the dead and opened the gates of heaven to bring you to eternal glory. Have faith in me and be my witness. I give you your life back, for I have the authority to give life."

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When Munaf opened his eyes, he became aware of his sons and other close relatives laying out his body on a table, preparing to wash and cover it for burial. A huge crowd attended the washing and shrouding ceremony, an Islamic necessity before burial.

All were absolutely astonished as he suddenly got up from the washing table.

He tried to explain to them what he had just experienced. He’d been dead, he said, and demons had done their best to try to take his soul. But Messiah Jesus had come and given him his life back!

Most of those listening thought he’d lost his sanity. Surely he’d hit his head on a stone while he’d fallen. Others wondered whether evil spirits now possessed him.

In the days that followed, Munaf talked about Jesus to his family and to anyone who visited him. His family members believed what he said and accepted Jesus as their savior and Lord. But the community insisted he needed psychiatric help, and dismissed him from the mosque.

As persecution against him and his family increased, they were forced to leave their home and country.

But God! Munaf went on to be a powerful evangelist working alongside Bibles for Mideast, winning many to the Lord. Two of his children now study the word of God. Just last week a new ALG house church was established under his leadership, holding their very first worship service on Sunday.

Please pray for Munaf Ali, his family, and the new church; that our Lord would continue to protect, guide and provide for them as they work to further God's Kingdom in areas hostile to the Gospel.

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*name 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.

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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.

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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

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!

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, pipe 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.

Gospel workers miraculously rescued from killer earthquake

Report: Pastor John 

I am Pastor John, leading a gospel team of Bibles for Mideast in South Asia, and have worked many years with Pastor Paul’s mission. I led a gospel team in Gandhidham, in the state of Gujarat in North India.

At 8:46 a.m. on January 26, 2001, a magnitude 9 earthquake lasting over two minutes shook Gujarat while citizens celebrated the 52nd Republic Day of India. It was one of the deadliest earthquakes in our country’s history. Around 20,000 people died, including 9110 women and 7065 children aged newborn to 14. The quake created 348 orphans and 826 widows.  170,000 were injured and more than one million left homeless. Many historical buildings were flattened.

The earthquake’s epicenter was 20 kilometers from Bhuj, a city in the region known as Kutch—the worst affected district. Several villages disappeared from the map completely. Many buildings fell like playing cards, and property damage totaled nearly $8 billion.

Ghandhidham is an important commercial city of Kutch District, 10 kilometers from India’s largest sea port, Kandla Port, and 40  kilometers from Bhuj, a city 90% destroyed by the earthquake. Kutch region alone reported more than 17,000 deaths. Close to 5,000 people died in the city of Gandhidham.

On that fateful day, we were about to begin a three-day missionary conference in a hotel in Ghandhidham.  Thirty-five pastors had travelled from different parts of India to take part, and had rooms on several floors of the five-story hotel. I decided to stay in my own house just a kilometer away since I did not want my wife and young children to be home alone.

The conference was supposed to start at 9.00 in the morning on the hotel’s third floor. I reached there, along with three of our gospel team members, by 8.30. We began arranging the conference hall for the meeting.

Suddenly, we heard a terrible sound from the ground floor. Thinking at first that hotel staff had started the generator, we were then startled as the building began to shake violently, like a pendulum. The noise almost deafened us, and it was impossible to even move a step in any direction.

I was thrown to the platform five meters away. The side wall of the conference room caved in, piercing through the slab of the next floor. Air conditioners and fans were tossed about, and tables, chairs and cupboards turned upside down. Within seconds, the hall filled with sand, dust and smoke.

I could not see my friends, or anything else around me. Before I could understand anything or even think of escape, I felt the whole building sink downward. I shouted to my friends and others who were in the hall to get out immediately. My ears and nose were covered with sand and dust and I could barely breathe. Coughing, I headed for the door and tried my level best to open it. It wouldn’t budge. So I cried out to the Lord Jesus.

“Jesus, you alone are our protector and you are able to save us!  Save us Lord!” I cried out "JESUS"again and again.

I then felt the presence of Jesus in the room, and felt His loving touch on my shoulder. Amazingly, I stopped coughing and was able to breathe again without trouble.  Looking  around,  I could see my friends were still suffocating.

By God’s infinite grace, all conference participants from every floor managed to get out safely. While the hotel’s walls and roof had collapsed, the floors had not given way. Sadly however, three hotel workers died. But in a hotel next to us, 24 were killed.  Certainly it was because of our Lord’s protection towards His children that we all escaped.

Outside, we heard screaming and saw dead bodies of both people and animals everywhere. Most buildings around were completely destroyed. Those who had escaped were running for their lives.

I of course had no idea what might have happened to my wife and children. I ran as quickly as possible towards our house, and along with my friends, called for the help of our Lord. When I saw my family standing outside of the house, I could do nothing but praise and thank God. Only our house windows and doors had been broken.  While many nearby homes had been destroyed and scores of people lost their lives, miraculously all of our gospel team members survived.

We began relief work immediately. Pastor Paul, the director of our ministry, somehow managed to reach us and joined in the aid efforts. With God’s help, we saved hundreds of people from the devastated buildings.

Narendra Modi visiting affected areas

Narendra Modi visiting affected areas

We must also mention the tremendous service offered by Mr. Narendra Modi, then Chief Minister of Gujarat (and India’s current Prime Minister). He led relief efforts over the region, visiting affected areas by hitching rides on people's motorbikes, or using any available mode of transport. Pastor Paul and myself met him during his visit.

While all conference participants were safe, they did lose everything they had brought with them. They also, with great difficulty, managed to return to their homes. No water, no electricity, no restaurants, no hospitals, radio or television— everything was in disarray. Eighty percent of all water and food sources had been destroyed. One man took more than 10 days to get back to his place, a journey normally 40 hours by train. Along the way he had to borrow what he could, including warm clothes, to survive.

One of our mission supporters, trapped beneath his collapsed home, felt the Lord protecting him under His wings. Relief workers finally found and rescued him three days later. Thirty-five hours after the quake, rescuers also found and rescued a small girl less than a year old trapped beneath a neighboring home.

Later I moved to another region and continue my involvement with the underground ministries of Bibles for Mideast, distributing bibles and planting house churches.

The righteous person may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all” (Psalm 34:19).

Militants firebomb home of Bibles for Mideast women; two seriously injured

(Nov. 19, 2016) The house of six women working with Bibles for Mideast was fire-bombed by Muslim militants in the Middle East yesterday evening, with two seriously injured.

Ramza, a young woman featured in a story here last July (Muslim father kills daughter; Jesus raises her from the dead), managed to miraculously escape with only minor injuries.

The six women lived and worked together, evangelizing and distributing bibles to local women, as well as  working for their livelihood as farm laborers.

After their evening prayers, the women had gone to bed. Not long after, they awakened to a terrifying noise and saw their house burning around them. They screamed and attempted to escape. But men armed with guns stood at their door.

“As we tried to come out, they fired at us,” reported Saleeha, who managed to escape unharmed. “So we were forced back into the house. By then, two women had collapsed, seriously burnt.”

“People living nearby managed to reach our house with weapons, and the attackers finally left,” Saleeha said.  “Five to seven attackers had come to kill us. They came by motor bikes. But our Lord Jesus Christ protected our lives,” she added.

“Christ Jesus is our mighty Savior and Lord!” Ramza added. “He is able to keep us safe. Whether we live or die, we belong to him.” As someone who had already experienced death at her own father’s hands, and been resurrected by Jesus, she certainly understood better than most of us the truth of her words.

The injured women were hospitalized, and the others moved to a different location. Please pray for them.

1,200 former Muslims prepare for baptism

Report: Bibles for Mideast

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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)

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.

Man learns the truth in Jesus' words, 'Better to lose one eye than go to hell with both'

A south Asian man learns first-hand the truth in Jesus’ words from Matthew 18:9: 
“It is better for you to have only one eye and have eternal life than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.”
One-eyed Sapru, taxi-driver and evangelist

One-eyed Sapru, taxi-driver and evangelist

48-year old Sapru, born and brought up in South Asia, wanted nothing to do with Christianity. The avowed atheist and equally-avid communist had many friends, most of whom, he says, were alcoholic. He drove a taxi for a living, and his drinking to relax with buddies soon grew into full-blown alcoholism.

But his Christian wife Blessey never gave up on him. She secretly prayed and meditated on scriptures every day, holding tightly to God’s promises for household salvation.

“If I had ever seen her praying or reading the bible, I would not have allowed it,” Sapru says.

Once, in an alcohol-fuelled rage after an argument with Blessey, Sapru beat her severely.  He then climbed into his taxi and careened off. He didn’t get far before colliding with a truck. The impact left him with life-threatening injuries, including a dislodged, completely destroyed left eye. An ambulance took him to hospital, where he went directly into emergency surgery.

Blessey, on hearing of the accident, rushed to the hospital with some Bibles for Mideast missionaries. They headed straight for the hospital chapel and fell to their knees. Blessey read promises from her bible and cried out to the Lord for her husband. She asked God to give me him his life back, but as a new creation.

“While the surgery was going on, my soul was wandering around trying to get a seat in heaven,” Sapru explains. “The angels did not allow me to enter into heaven, but pushed me to hell instead.”

Jesus, he says, then stepped in, rescuing him from the descent to hell.

“He held me back safe in His mighty nailed hands because of my wife’s intercession. The Lord showed me my wife and the prayer team kneeling down and praying for me with tears. And he said to me, ‘Go; be saved and baptized and live for me with your family.’”

As the surgeons worked to save him, Sapru’s heart and pulse slowed to a standstill. Doctors were ready to declare him dead when he suddenly began breathing again. He is convinced that is the exact moment when Jesus allowed his spirit to return to his body.

“It is better for you to lose an eye,” he heard Jesus say to him, “than to have both your eyes and be thrown into hell. Let this be your testimony in witnessing for me.”

Sapru confessed to his wrong ways, accepted Jesus as his personal savior and Lord and within days was baptized in water.

 “I recovered, but my left eye has been totally removed,” he says. “I don’t worry about it, because the Lord wants me to be with Him in heaven. Praise the Lord for His wonderful love.”

“Though I have only one eye, I can easily drive the car now. My boss, a believer in Jesus gave me a car to drive for him. I have two sons. I am so happy to see them rejoicing in the Lord because of my conversion and activities in ministries.”

Reji Joseph, who was abducted in Libya, rescued

Report: Bibles for Mideast

(July 6, 2016) Reji Joseph, 43, who was abducted in Libya has been rescued today. The Indian embassy in Libya has confirmed his release. The news has been validated by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who posted about the rescue on social media.

Reji Joseph had been working as an IT professional, attached to the Civilian Registration Authority (CRA) in Libya. He was abducted on March 31 along with three others. The kidnappers are believed to be members of a local Islamic group.

Reji also worked as a volunteer minister with Bibles for Mideast, spreading the word of God in Libya. He remained in the custody of the terrorists for almost 97 days. His wife Shinuja had been serving as a nurse in Tripoli. The couple have three young daughters

We praise and thank God for the release of Reji. Also we thank for those who prayed for him, especially who were fasting and praying 100 hours with us for the release of Reji along with pastors Stephen, Samuel and James.  Our Lord heard our prayers and rescued them all. Praise the Lord!

Reji with his family

Reji with his family

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.

Daughter of Muslim ruler under house arrest for Christian faith

Najima (not her real name) is the daughter of a Muslim ruler. She had firmly believed in and practiced Islam from childhood—reciting the Qur'an, praying (namaz) five times a day, fasting during the month of Ramadan and giving alms (zakat) to the poor and needy.

While she went to a western university for her higher education, she still never missed practicing ‘the pillars Islam’.

One day she noticed a small piece of paper stuck in a crease at the table at which she was sitting. She pulled it out and read: "For God made Christ who had no sin to become sin for us, so that in Christ we could become right with God." (2 Cor 5:21).

The verse struck her. ‘How can Jesus possibly be made to be sin for us?’ she asked herself, then threw the tract into the waste paper basket. But the verse kept invading her mind. Trying to forget it, she went bed.

But as much as she tried, she couldn’t get the verse out of her thoughts, nor escape into sleep.

Suddenly, she saw and felt her room fill with light. From that light, a voice spoke.

"Daughter, you're a sinner.  There is no one righteous, absolutely none. All have messed up and fallen short. But I came to take away all of your sins. I paid the ransom for many. Believe me and accept me … and I will give you eternal life."

She knew it had to be Jesus’ voice. Undone, she knelt down and accepted him as her personal savior and Lord.

She declared her new faith to her friends first. When she told her family, her father and brothers exploded in rage. They stripped her naked, bound her to a chair, and wired it up to a metal plate to electrocute her. She asked them to at least lay a bible in her lap.

"If you want to die together with your false religion, so be it," her father replied,

"That will show that your religion is powerless," one of her brothers added

Although they had bound her, she could still touch a corner of her bible. She then noticed a strange peace, as though someone were standing beside her.

Her father and brothers pushed the plug into the socket—and nothing happened. They tried four times with various cables, but it was as though the electricity refused to flow.

Finally, her father, angry and frustrated, hit her and screamed, "You are no longer my daughter!" He then threw her out into the street, naked.

Najima ran through the neighborhood, humiliated and in pain. People looked at her, curious rather than shocked. Shaking and tearful, she finally made it to a friend’s house. Her friend let her in, clothed her and gave her shelter.

The next day, her friend asked neighbors what they had thought when they had seen a girl running naked through the streets.

"What are you talking about?" they responded. "We saw a girl running with a wonderful white dress, like an angel.  We asked ourselves why someone so beautifully clothed had to run through the streets. With that dress, she almost looked like she was flying!"

God had hidden her nakedness from their eyes, clothing her in a beautiful white dress.

She became stronger in her Christian faith. But her father learned of her location. Her mother and  brothers went to see her to convince her to come back. But she would not, and reiterated her solid faith in Jesus Christ.

Her father then went himself, and took her back to their home by force. She remains there under house arrest. Because of her change of faith, he banned all other religious movements and activities in his region.

Recently, two women missionaries of Bibles for Mideast visited Najima at her home. Wearing veils, they introduced themselves as her university classmates, and so got permission to see her. Happy to see them, she prayed with the women. She asked that children of God around the world pray for her. She also asked that we pray that her father, mother, brothers, sisters and all the Muslims of her country experience the salvation of Jesus Christ.

"The Lord Jesus Christ gave me freedom from sin and death,” she said to the missionaries. “I experience that real freedom and peace in my mind."

She concluded with, “Amen and Halleluiah!”

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

Rashid* had been one of the commanders in a group intent on converting as many as possible to Islam, and with the goal of bringing all nations under Islamic rule.

As the men strove fanatically toward these objectives, they began hearing of formerly strong Muslims who had converted to Christianity and worse, were now spreading the Gospel. So they appointed a special commando unit from among themselves to either convert these ‘infidels’ back to Islam, or wipe them from the face of the earth.

Rashid voluntarily took on leadership of the wing. As time went on, some of their terrorist operations succeeded.

They eventually heard about the work of Bibles for Mideast: how they boldly evangelized people—especially Muslims—in Asia, the Middle East and several third-world nations; how their leader was himself a former Muslim; how they distributed bibles in many languages and were forming underground house churches in various regions.

So they set about in earnest to formulate a plan to hunt down a Bibles for Mideast leader’s family in their area operations. If they could destroy his family and force him back into the Islamic fold, what a great weapon they would have in their war against Christianity.

So they devised a plan to attack and kill the family as they slept at night. But on arriving at their home, they saw what appeared to be gunmen surrounding the house and abandoned that plan.

They then learned from some of the children going to the same school as the leader’s children that since they lived in poverty with little to eat, they were always hungry.

“So we sent a woman with some poisoned fast food to give to the children,” Rashid recounts.  “But on the way, a dog bit her so seriously she couldn’t get the food to them.”

So they tried sending another woman with poisonous chocolates to give the young ones, thinking for sure this would kill them. All three children got sick, but the two boys recovered fairly quickly. The third, a young girl, ended up near death in hospital.

"I was watching with two others from an ambulance near the hospital,” Rashid explained. They planned to wait till they saw the family take the girl’s dead body from the hospital, at which point they would kidnap them all and speed away in the appropriated ambulance.

But nothing seemed to be happening. So they went into the hospital, found the girl’s room and quietly stood watch outside.

“Then I saw a ball of light came down from the sky and stand over the room,” Rashid remembers. “I saw a hand came out from the ball and stand her up. There was a hole in the middle of that hand and the blood was flowing down. I trembled with fear.” Overcome, he fell over and had to be whisked away by his fellow conspirators.

But he couldn’t sleep that night. Whenever he began to drift off, Rashid explained, he’d see the same hand, with blood flowing from it.

“Next night I saw a shadow of a human face appear behind the hand.” He said the face asked him, ‘Why are you nailing me?’

Rashid, utterly unnerved, feared telling his friends anything “because they would suspect me, and I would be killed."

He did however have a bible—for no other reason than to find verses to criticize Christianity and justify Islam. So he turned to it now with questions.

Opening it, he read: “That was the true Light which gives light to everyone coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world did not know Him.” (John 1:9-10)

 “I understood it was about Jesus,” he said with certainty. “And also, I knew that the ball of light that came from above to protect the sick girl was the same Jesus, who suffered crucifixion on the cross by the nailing of his hands and legs.”

Feeling unbearably burdened, he managed to locate Pastor Paul, Director of Bibles for Mideast, and confessed everything. Yet instead of being turned in to the police as Rashid expected, he was embraced with tears.

“When I was an enemy of Jesus Christ, He loved me, too,” Pastor Paul explained. “He was crucified, rose from the dead and gave His life for me. In His love I have to love you, because Christ loves you. I believe Jesus Christ Himself brought you here to share this love and salvation. Jesus is the Prince of Peace, and He gives you peace. Accept Him as your Savior.”

And Rashid did! Soon after he was baptized and now walks and serves in all the gifts of the Holy Spirit. As a leader and anointed pastor within Bibles for Mideast he, alongside his wife, lives to evangelize others.

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Name changed for security reasons

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