Elderly woman thwarts attack on her church and points terrorist to Jesus

Report: Bibles for Mideast and an ALG church in the Middle East

Al-Khadir*, born into an Arab Muslim family in the Middle East, grew stronger in his faith in Islam and the law of Sharia as he matured into a young man. While at university one day, someone slipped him a sample gospel. He began reading, but when he got to “Jesus is the only Savior and the Son of Most High God”, erupted in anger. Ripping the pamphlet to shreds, he threw it into a nearby fire.

Soon after graduation, he joined a local terrorist group. Then, just a few months ago, he and one of his extremist friends planned an attack on an ALG church [ALG being the umbrella organization for all Bibles for Mideast churches—Ed.]. As they entered the church armed with pistols, an elderly woman somehow managed to grab hold of Al-Khadir’s legs.

“My son!” she cried out.  “Go back and save yourself! I was a strong Muslim once, with a husband and three sons. My sons joined up with terrorists like you and were killed in Syria. When my husband heard the news, he had a heart attack and died. Now I have no husband and no children. Yours is not the way of peace and reality! Lord Jesus is the Prince of Peace. He saved me from sin and death. I live with this hope. Only Jesus Christ can give us peace, salvation and eternal heaven. Sons, get back, please."

Infuriated, the other terrorist began kicking her. She fell down in pain, but kept repeating her admonition to them.

Al-Khadir suddenly thought of his own mother. He pushed his friend away and helped the woman to her feet.  The men then turned and left the church grounds without saying or doing anything more.

Back home that night, Al-Khadir had a dream like no other. The Lord Jesus Christ—the one he, like all Muslims, knew to be a great prophet but nothing more—came to him.

"I am the Massihullah [‘Messiah’ in Arabic],” Jesus said. “Do you know what that means? I am the one sent out from the Most High to bring humanity—who lost the Kingdom of Heaven through sin and iniquities—back to God. All have sinned and lost eternal life. To bring everyone back, I, the Kalimathullah [‘Word of God’ in Arabic] came down from heaven and was born of a virgin. I lived a sinless life, suffered, was crucified on the cross of Calvary, died and was buried as punishment for the sins of humanity … including yours. And I rose from the dead and now sit at the right hand of the Heavenly Father. Only those who confess before Me and believe in Me will have salvation and eternal life in heaven as God's gift. For I am the Son of the most high God. I will come again in clouds to separate and bring my own people to Heaven while others will end up in hell. Believe in Me and follow Me."

Knowing this to be no ordinary dream, the next day Al-Khadir approached the pastor of the very ALG church he had intended to attack. He poured out all that he had experienced. The pastor shared the gospel with him, along with his own testimony of conversion from Islam.

Wielding the wrong kind of sword

Wielding the wrong kind of sword

The young man readily accepted Jesus as his personal savior and Lord and not many days later was baptised. When he shared his experience with his terrorist friend, the man would have none of it. Unfortunately this man, along with two other of Al-Khadir’s former terrorist friends, were among 37 people executed for terrorist-related crimes—beheaded in fact—last week.

With the pastor in agreement, Al-Khadir decided to leave the country for his own safety. Launched now into a wholly new, holy life, he truly considers himself newly-born. Where he’d had no compunctions about his terrorist life before, he now feels remorse for the fear he instilled in others. While he thought he fought for God before, he now knows he is on the right and only path to and with Him. He says he now feels joy and experiences “great peace under the wings of Lord Jesus.”

“The Lord has saved me from a terrible life,” he adds, “As the book of Job says, 'I alone escaped from them to be the witness’ of mighty savior Jesus Christ.” [Job 1:15]

Al-Khadir has wasted no time getting into studying God’s word at his new location, his reference to Job above being deep proof. That whole verse reads, “and the Sabeans fell on them and carried them off, and killed the servants with the edge of the sword; I alone have escaped to tell you.” As he studies, he also works alongside his new Christian friends distributing Bibles and gospel tracts. Please pray for him and the entire ministry of Bibles for Mideast.

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* Name changed for security reasons

Muslim terrorist moves from death and destruction to Life and healing

Report: Bibles for Mideast

Radical Hindus destroy historic Babri Mosque: AFP (1992)

Radical Hindus destroy historic Babri Mosque: AFP (1992)

Ameen* decided as a teenager, back in 1992, to join the forces of Islamic terror. Radical Hindu nationalists had just destroyed the historic Babri Mosque in northern India (they believed the 16th-century mosque stood where one of their most revered Hindu deities had been born).**

After completing his training, Ameen became commander of a terrorist group with the main objective of destroying both Hindu temples and Christian churches—along with their priests, ministers and worshipers. 

Once while attempting to attack a major Hindu temple, a surprise counter-attack by Hindu militants forced them to flee. Ameen suffered serious gun-shot wounds and needed to be carried away by his fellow terrorists. They administered first-aid but he subsequently fell into a coma. Thinking they’d failed in their efforts to save him, they left his body alone in a field.

A few hours later, a passerby noticed him lying there. Thinking him dead, they approached the body and on checking more carefully, discovered a pulse. They immediately called police, who rushed him to hospital. There, doctors managed to revive and save him.

Police suspected he might be a terrorist and questioned him, but could not get him to reveal his true identity, let alone betray his friends. So he remained under police surveillance in the hospital.

Pastor Paul and a gospel team of Bibles for Mideast ‘just happened’ to be in the same hospital a few days later. They secured permission from the police to visit Ameen, and found him slowly recovering from his injuries.

The missionaries told the wounded terrorist about Jesus, how He is the author of life and death. They then shared their own dramatic testimonies, and explained how Jesus was crucified on the cross of Calvary, died and rose from the dead. The visitors assured him that anyone who believes in Jesus will gain eternal life. Ameen listened to their words, but didn’t respond. So the gospel team prayed for him before leaving the hospital.  

According to the anti-terrorist act then in place in India, Ameen was sentenced to prison without bail. He remained there for years without legal assistance. Two years ago, 24 years after being imprisoned, he was finally set free.

Another ‘God-incidence’

Prisoners with their new bibles

Prisoners with their new bibles

But before Ameen’s release, Pastor Paul ‘just happened’ to meet him while there on prison ministry. Ameen was friendly to him, attended the gospel meeting held inside the jail, listened attentively to the message presented, and received a Bible when they were handed out to prisoners. He even asked for Pastor Paul’s mobile phone number.

Then, just last month, Ameen called Pastor Paul in extreme anxiety. He and his family members all wanted to meet with him for prayer.

“When I call on the name of Jesus, I feel relief whenever I’m desperate,” Ameen explained over the phone. “But I do not know what to do more. If possible, kindly come to me, give me needed guidance and pray for me and my family."

Pastor Paul prayed about the request, and asked the church and several others to pray for the Lord's guidance. 

Days later, all spent in fervent prayer, he traveled 18 hours to meet Ameen and his family. Two other ALG (Assembly of Loving God) church pastors joined him on the mission trip.

They finally arrived at Ameen’s house to find a most unwell 46-year-old. He could barely walk, needing the help of his brother’s children to get around. With no wife or children, his younger brother, their elderly mother and his brother’s family—all firm believers in Islam—took care of him.

Ameen happily greeted the pastors when they arrived. The visitors shared the gospel with him and the family. But his younger brother took offence at their presence and their message, and began shouting angrily at them. He wanted them out of his house, NOW! Ameen pleaded with him, explaining the men were there because he had asked them to come.

Neighbours, hearing the commotion, came over to investigate. Soon community leaders and the Imam of the local mosque got wind of the Christian visitors and arrived to voice disapproval and argue with them.

“I politely explained to them about Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on the cross,” Pastor Paul relates. “But with great anger, the Imam slapped me on the cheek.” 

Seeing the Imam slap the kindly pastor, Ameen felt wretched and cried out in grief.

Pastor Paul reached out to hold Ameen’s hands, then wiped away his tears and tried to console him. He and his fellow pastors then knelt down before the Lord in front of the family, and prayed for further guidance.

Ameen's brother never imagined the Imam would slap Pastor Paul. He also of course couldn’t help but be moved by Ameen's sorrowful outburst and the Christians’ kneeling prayers. So he turned against the Imam and the community leaders. The brothers’ elderly mother also shouted at the Imam and other leaders, ordering them out of the house.

When they’d all gone and quiet returned, Ameen's brother with the rest of the family apologized to Pastor Paul, asking his forgiveness.

“We consoled all of them and shared the sufferings of our Lord,” the Bibles for Mideast director explains.

“After that, they all sat before us and listened to the Word of God. Some neighboring people also participated. That same day everyone of that house accepted Lord Jesus Christ as their personal savior and Lord.”

And that very night, Ameen dreamt that Jesus touched and healed him. When he awoke—and without anyone's help—he got up, walked, and then ran around the house. His brother also had a dream of the glory of Jesus.

Please praY FOR aMEEN, HIS FAMILY, AND THE NEW UNDERGROUND CHURCH

Please praY FOR aMEEN, HIS FAMILY, AND THE NEW UNDERGROUND CHURCH

The pastors stayed four days and nights in the family’s tiny, impoverished home. With only one room plus a kitchen and a veranda attached to the front of the house, the family had no furniture: no tables or chairs, not even cots to sleep on.

“We all were happy to spend more time for prayers and sharing the Word of God,” says Pastor Paul. “We pastors slept in the room with Ameen on floor mats. The other men slept in the veranda, and the women slept in the kitchen.”

The second day of their visit, more people joined in their times of prayer. On the third day, a number of villagers attended and accepted the Lord Jesus as their savior.

By the fourth day, a new church was born! They held a worship service, and Pastor Mujib, who had been working in another area, is now in charge of the newborn ministry..

Please pray for him, the new believers, and the ongoing work in this area.

We also ask that you remember the dire situation in Indonesia after the devastating earthquake and tsunami. With millions affected and the death toll at 1,400 and rising, relief efforts have been slow to come. Bibles for Mideast has pastors and evangelists working in Indonesia, and a number of underground churches with between 12 and 20 members each. By God’s grace all are safe but needs—both practical and for prayer—are huge.

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Name changed for security reasons
** The religious site where the Babri Mosque was destroyed in 1992 in the northern Indian town of Ayodhya has been a flashpoint between Hindus and Muslims for years and has sparked recurring episodes of violence.

Jesus heals and saves Afghani girl brought up by Taliban

Report: Bibles for Mideast and an Assembly of Loving God (ALG)  church in the Middle East

Sameera* grew up in a fanatically fundamentalist Muslim family who had actually been leaders in helping establish the Taliban in their native Afghanistan. They strongly believed the whole world should be ruled according to Islamic sharia law, and anyone not following sharia must die.

During their official reign of terror in Afghanistan (1996-2001), the Taliban murdered thousands of people and destroyed countless churches and temples. When the US-led forces attacked Afghanistan in 2001, Sameera was seven. Three of her brothers died in the assault, and her older sister went missing.**

Taliban fighters in afghanistan (EPA)

Taliban fighters in afghanistan (EPA)

Their mother, completely undone by the tragedies, soon developed heart problems. As her heart began to fail and knowing she faced imminent death, she begged her husband to take their remaining children—Sameera and her four-year-old brother—and flee Afghanistan at any cost and in any way. Like many in their country, they believed Christians were behind the invasion, aiming to destroy both their nation and their religion.

So right after the mother died and without even taking time for a proper burial, Sameera’s father fled the home with nothing but his young children. He knew it was practically impossible to escape without being seen by the invading army, but also knew he had to try.  

The young family hadn’t gotten far before being captured by armed forces in a military truck patrolling the streets. Sameera’s father felt certain they would be killed.  But when the soldiers saw the innocent little ones with him, their hearts melted. Sameera has a clear memory of the men then joining hands and actually praying in the truck, eyes brimming with tears. She heard the words ‘Lord Jesus’ over and over. While she had no idea what they were saying, she memorized the name ‘Jesus’, somehow keeping it lodged in her heart.

When the truck reached a deserted area, the soldiers touched each of them kindly on the shoulders and told them to get out and flee. Knowing the family couldn’t understand English, they did their best to make themselves understood by gesturing and pointing to the children. One of the men tearfully tried to explain how they all had small children like Sameera and her brother at their homes in America. The family did finally grasp the men were urging them to escape, and as they clambered from the truck the soldiers again spoke using the name Jesus—likely, we think now, praying their Lord Jesus would bless and protect the family.

After a gruelling journey lasting many days, the family somehow ended up in a Middle Eastern kingdom. Sameera’s father found work and labored hard to support his growing youngsters.

Whenever they thought about their brothers, sister, mother and other dead and missing relatives, their rage towards Christians, the supposed invaders, grew. So they pledged to fight them to the death. Every day they prayed to Allah for strength and courage for the battle. Sameera’s brother figured his best option was to leave home and join forces with ISIS, which he did four years ago.

Eight months ago, Sameera’s father died in a tragic accident. Being so close to him, the shock of the loss proved near unbearable. Her emotional and mental anguish further increased when her brother didn't show up for their father’s funeral. No one knew where he might be, or even if he was still alive.

Sameera grew increasingly disturbed and even violent, to the point she had to be admitted to a psychiatric hospital and confined to a separate room.

As only our Lord could work it, one of the hospital staff ‘happens’ to be a member of the Assembly of Loving God (ALG) Church and a voluntary evangelist with Bibles for Mideast. She loved and cared for Sameera like a sister, praying for her and spending time with her in her isolation. She often shared her testimony of having once been a Muslim, her decision to leave Islam, and the message of the gospel.

As their friendship grew, one day she prayed over Sameera in Jesus’ name. A lightbulb went off for Sameera as she remembered the soldiers in Afghanistan who prayed over her as a little girl, using the same name. The very men who had showed her family such unexpected loving kindness and had helped them escape the battle zone.

As she slept that night, the Lord Jesus Christ appeared before in a dream.

“Daughter, you are not alone,” she heard him say. “I am always with you as your eternal Father and Comforter.” He showed her his nail-scarred hands and the wounds in his side. “I have suffered all of these—have been crucified on the cross of Calvary, died and rose from the dead—for YOU and your salvation. By my blood you are washed and by my stripes you are healed. You are no longer a patient. Believe in me and follow me.”

She awoke immediately, jumped from her bed praising the Lord, and tried to pray by herself in Jesus’ name.

Early the next morning she asked to see her beloved friend.  When the Christian staff member arrived, Sameera joyfully shared what had happened. The friend praised and thanked the Lord and then, as they held hands, led Sameera in a prayer to accept Jesus Christ as her own personal Saviour and Lord.

The staff member later introduced Sameera to her pastor, who began visiting and praying for her as well.

When discharged soon afterwards from the hospital, Sameera had nowhere to go. The owner of her family’s house had repossessed it when she entered hospital and been unable to pay the rent. So the pastor arranged for her to stay with some Bibles for Mideast women, where she remains, studying the word of God and ministering alongside them.

She shared her testimony with her new church and has committed the rest of her life to the Lord’s ministry. At her request, the pastor baptized her.

Atrocities in Afghanistan continue; here, Children run away after an explosion in Kabul in May, 2013 (REUTERS)

Atrocities in Afghanistan continue; here, Children run away after an explosion in Kabul in May, 2013 (REUTERS)

We of course don’t know whether her brother will return. If he does, we cannot guess how he will react to his sister becoming a Christian. So please pray for Sameera and also for her brother’s salvation, if he is still alive. Pray also for the safety of the women she lives with and other workers and believers with Bibles for Mideast and the ALG Church in that region.

Please keep all the missionaries and ministries of Bibles for Mideast and the many ALG churches in Asia, Africa and Middle East in your prayers. We could not do any of this without your help.

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* Name changed for security reasons
** Even after being ousting from official power in the U.S-led invasion of 2001, the Taliban—with ISIS and others—continue to terrorize, murder and destroy in Afghanistan and beyond.

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EXCITING UPDATE! A year later, Sameera’s brother, who was really lost, is REALLY found:
ISIS fighter flees bombardment and inadvertently, into the hands of Jesus

From hired thug, to the morgue, to serving Jesus!

Report: Bibles for Mideast

Kunjukunju and his family came from the lowest rung of Indian society, the Dalit or ‘untouchable’ class [while now officially outlawed, the caste system in India still operates in less obvious ways—Ed.]. They worshipped Hindu idols and practiced sorcery.

A powerfully-built young man, his face marked by a prodigious horn-like moustache draped around his mouth, he worked as a ‘goonda,’ or hired thug, for several wealthy individuals.

As an enforcer for such questionable enterprises, he made a good number of enemies. One day about 20 aggrieved victims of his strong-arm tactics decided to get even, surrounding him and brutally attacking. When he fell bloodied and unresponsive to the pavement, they left him lying there—presumably dead—and ran off.

Police found his battered body in the street and checked his vital signs. Finding none, they transported his body to the morgue. During the routine post-mortem examination, the medical examiner got the surprise of his life when one his toes moved!

Astounded by this—and now detecting a faint pulse—the pathologist immediately transferred Kunjukunju to a local hospital.

Kunjukunju with Bibles for distribution

Kunjukunju with Bibles for distribution

After he’d regained consciousness and stabilized, some workers with Bibles for Mideast visited him in his room. They told him Jesus loves him and that only Jesus can conquer death, demonstrated by his bodily resurrection from the dead.

Having been himself given up for dead—like Lazarus—Kunjukunju could see that God really had given him a second chance at life.

The evangelists as clearly as possible explained the message of the Gospel to him. He followed their words carefully, nodding his head. Finally, his heart overcome, he repented of his sins and accepted Jesus Christ as his personal savior and Lord.

The workers put their hands on his head and prayed. As they did, Kunjukunju saw Jesus standing before him smiling and holding out his arms, and then he felt himself being pulled in closely for a hug. With childlike faith, he knew that he could lean on Jesus for the rest of his life. The Lord Jesus came into his heart, imparting a deep settled peace to both his mind and heart, something he had never known or felt before.

After he left the hospital he was baptized, God anointed him with the Holy Spirit, and showered him with the fruits of the Spirit.

As Kunjukunju grew in the Lord, he began to speak in churches, prayer meetings and corner meetings. He also began distributing bibles with Bibles for Mideast … all of which he continues to do! He now goes by the name Kunjukunju Upadesi, ‘Upadesi’ meaning adviser or gospel preacher.

Please keep him and all our workers and churches in your prayers.

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