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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