Miraculous healing, deliverance and salvations in restrictive Middle Eastern kingdom

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

Pastor M, married with two young boys, four and six, works tirelessly and fearlessly building a strong underground church in the midst of unimaginable constraints on what he can ‘legally’ say, do, share, or be in a highly restrictive nation of the Middle East. A former Muslim working with Bibles for Mideast and the ALG, he has an amazing story of his own healing and salvation but we’ll have to leave that for another time.  

Two weeks ago, he completely disappeared. Religious police, after finding a gospel tract with his phone number on it, had tricked him into meeting with them. When he agreed and they met up, they brutally beat him before hauling him off to ‘religious court’.  

"Why did you leave Islam and become a Christian minister?" the judge demanded at his trial.

"I was a sinner and got into all kinds of trouble,” Pastor M. replied. “I also contracted a serious disease and became a dying patient. But the Lord Jesus Christ saved my life. He healed me, and also rescued me from sin and death by His crucifixion and death on the cross of Calvary. He rose from the dead and still lives. I believed in Him and received salvation. Then, the Lord Jesus Himself called me to His ministry. So I am now trying to help my fellow brethren find salvation as well."

ISIS burns hundreds of Christian books in MosuL

ISIS burns hundreds of Christian books in MosuL

The court ordered he be imprisoned for 15 days. He was told that if he returned to Islam, he would remain in jail for two more years and then be in service to the religious authorities in their fight against Christianity. Should he decide not to renounce Christianity, he would be beheaded. It was as simple as that.

The young husband and pastor refused their demand so was sent to prison to await execution, and the horrible torture began.

The judge of the court had two sons of his own, plus five daughters. Sadly, he lost his older son at 21 last year to testicular cancer. Now his second son faced the same diagnosis. Doctors had given up both hope and treatment for the younger boy, so he lay in bed at home in excruciating pain, waiting to die.

A week after the sentencing, the judge woke in the middle of the night to a mighty voice sounding in the bedroom.

“Release the pastor from jail!” it boomed. “Ask him to pray for your son to be healed.”

Not liking what he heard, the magistrate ignored the plea.

The next day, his son’s sufferings increased to almost beyond what the boy could bear. That night, the judge dreamt a ball of light, somehow encasing powerful words, headed toward him. The words seemed to flow from the light as it approached.

"Release my servant from the prison and ask him to pray for your son!” he heard echo through the room. “With his prayers, your boy may be cured and healed."

Surely this had to be the work of Satan trying to misguide his faith in Islam! He got up, read some portions from the Koran, and did a Sunnah Namaz (ritual prayer done in special circumstances). 

The third night, the Lord Himself appeared before the judge.

"I am Jesus, the Son of the Most High,” the man in white proclaimed. “I did die on the cross and now live forevermore  [interestingly, Muslims do believe Jesus was raised bodily to heaven by God, but do not believe he died on the cross—Ed.]. You are needlessly persecuting my servant! Release him from prison. Your son will be healed. And, accept Me as your Lord and Savior. This is the only way you and your household can be saved from hell."

Jesus then disappeared. The judge rose from his bed to the sounds of his son screaming out in pain. Rushing to the room, he saw his wife and daughters standing by the bed, weeping. Overcome, he disclosed the details of his dream. They listened in amazement. Without hesitation, his wife and daughters begged him to release the minister and get him over to their house to pray for the boy. The son urged him to as well.

When prison officials got the unexpected order from the judge, they immediately freed the pastor and had him sent to the family’s home.  

The judge poured out all he had heard and seen, and asked forgiveness for the prison sentence and execution order. Pastor M of course agreed, and was led to the young man’s room.

He began by sharing the Truth of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.

“Will you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior?” he asked.

The sick young man agreed straightaway. The others followed, kneeling down and inviting Jesus into their hearts and lives.

The atmosphere now thickening with holiness, Pastor M began to pray. As he did, all were filled with the Holy Spirit. The boy jumped from his bed and began to dance, praising and thanking Jesus for his total healing! Everyone rejoiced in the Lord, the family bursting with a joy they’d never known.

The next day, the judge took the minister back to his court, this time to release him according to court law. For the following three days, Pastor M stayed in the magistrate's home, praying, fasting, teaching from the Bible and preparing the new believers for baptism. On the fourth day, the whole family were baptized. 

As all this was going on, the pastor’s church knew only that he had been beaten and taken away. They hadn’t heard anything from or about him since his disappearance—when they had immediately launched into a time of concerted prayer and fasting.

At one point, his wife—overwhelmed with the strain of continuous prayer, fasting, and understandable concern—became critically ill. Believers rushed her to hospital where doctors began treating her, and discovered she is carrying the couple’s third child.

She remains in hospital, recovering, but with her husband now by her side. Please pray for them, the church, the believers, and Bibles for Mideast ministry in the Middle East. Further exciting news is that the judge’s son has joined our Lord’s ministry and will be working alongside Bibles for Mideast after more extensive training.

Religious police on patrol in Saudi Arabia

Religious police on patrol in Saudi Arabia

Pastor M thanks all who joined the orchestra of prayer for his release and his wife's recovery.

Please also pray for the next baptism service which he had been planning for his church before being ‘sidelined’. Local fundamentalists may well cause problems and resume persecution of this pastor and the church he loves and leads.

NEW LIFE: from Islam, and from death itself

Report: Bibles for Mideast and the ALG churches in Africa

Aminah* lived with her orthodox Muslim family in Africa. Her father, a leader in the community, felt proud that his strapping young sons ran their own business, but worried at times when they continually got into trouble with the locals.

One day, Aminah met handsome young Taban*, and the two became friends. Taban explained to her he had once been a practicing Muslim as well, but had recently embraced Christianity after meeting and interacting with a Christian minister, Pastor Mustafa**. Aminah found her new friend intriguing but wanted nothing to do with his Christian faith.

Taban, strong in his devotion to Jesus, invited her to attend worship services and prayer meetings with him at his church. Fearing she might lose her new friend if she refused, she often made the long trek to the church for gatherings. While the gospel messages and prayers seemed silly and even boring, Taban was another story. She sat through meeting after meeting only to be able to spend time with the fine young man she definitely felt more than stirrings of love for. She’d then make the long trip back home in the evening.

During one of the services, Aminah had the ominous sense of an approaching migraine. As the pain intensified, her vision began to distort and then, utter blackness.  She screamed out in agony.

Pastor Mustafa rushed to her side and prayed over her. Within minutes, the headache had disappeared and her eyesight became crystal clear.

Believing in Jesus suddenly became easy. She paid close attention to the gospel message that day, learning why and how Jesus suffered, was crucified, died on the cross of Calvary and then rose from the dead. She wholeheartedly accepted Jesus as her personal Lord and Saviour. Soon, she underwent water baptism and not long afterwards, anointing by the Holy Spirit as well. 

Just three weeks ago, Pastor Mustafa officiated at the marriage of Aminah and Taban—without informing their parents or other relatives. All knew the family would not only forbid it, they’d harass and possibly turn violent against the church for proceeding with such a travesty.

On her wedding day, of course, Aminah did not return to her family home. Her brothers set out to find her and spent two days visiting her friends’ houses and any other places they thought she might be. It was during one of their searches they learned from someone of their sister’s intimate friendship with a former Muslim who had become Christian, and that she too had become one. Could it be, they wondered in horror, she had run away to marry him? They aimed their fury further afield.

For the first three days following their marriage, the couple enjoyed their new life together in the kindly pastor’s home. As the fourth day dawned, they realized they had to find their own place to rent and so headed out to see what might be available.

They hadn’t gotten far in their quest when, suddenly, Aminah’s brothers discovered and ambushed them. The vigilantes grabbed the two, shoved them in their vehicle and careened along the rough roads back to their home. There, after locking their sister in her room, they brutally beat Taban with steel pipes.

The church learned of their capture and called for a full night of prayer. The whole congregation prayed fervently and tearfully for the couple’s safety and release.

Meanwhile, the brothers dragged Taban from their home to a deserted area over a mile away and there, with a few more fierce blows, finished him off. They then dug a grave and buried his bloodied, lifeless body.

Aminah's mother came to her room to offer food, and encouraged her daughter to forget about both Taban and the Christian faith. 

“How can I?” Aminah retorted. “Jesus Christ is my Lord and Saviour, and my eternal Bridegroom. And the Lord has chosen Taban as my husband in this world. I am not ready to lose either of them!” 

Her dejected mother left the room, locking the door from the outside again. Ignoring the food, Aminah knelt down before her Lord.

A while later, she became aware of a conversation between her father and brothers out in the hall. One brother described how they had killed Taban, others where they had buried the body.

"Good,” she heard her father reply. “So that chapter is closed. Now Aminah needs good counselling. For that, we will ask the Imam to come to our house tomorrow. Then she will be perfectly alright. After that, we have to go to that church and destroy them all."

Shock … then depression … gripped her. She felt too much to even cry, and didn't know what to do. But soon, she regained her strength and knelt down again.

"Lord Jesus,” she prayed. “You alone are my Lord and God. You are able to do anything. My life is in You. I trust in You and I surrender myself to You again.  Lord, if You want to make me a widow as my life is just beginning ...." She couldn’t finish her sentence, and began weeping before the Lord. 

Suddenly she heard the sound of a door opening. She looked, but saw no one. She then realized the Lord must have opened her locked bedroom door. She wasted no time running from the house and towards the place, about a mile away, where her brothers had said they had murdered and buried her new husband.

When certain she had found the spot, she prayerfully began digging into the fresh grave and soon, found the dead body of her beloved. She pulled him out. His wounds now full of mud and sand, she set about cleaning them with her clothes. She took Taban’s head to her bosom, put her hands on his face, and prayed like she never had before.

"Lord Jesus!” she sobbed. “You are the Resurrection and the Life! You raised Lazarus from the dead! I believe You are still able to raise Taban from death to life. YOU are the author of life and death. Make us Your witness Lord. But if You want me to be a widow, let Your will be done. I will serve You till my end."

As she ran out of pleas, she felt a cool breeze swoosh in and ripple gently over them.

"My son!” she heard a voice … a Voice … declare. “I say to you, ARISE!"

Jesus resurrection and life best large print lr.jpg

Taban opened his eyes! As he lifted his head from her arms, the two were beside themselves with wonder and thanks. They praised and thanked the Lord for His great mercy. They all out worshiped the Lord in Spirit and Truth by the grave site.

Back at the house, her father and brothers had begun wondering at the complete silence from Aminah’s room. When they went to check on her, they discovered the door unlocked and the room empty. Might she have decided to escape to commit suicide? Fearful, they began to search everywhere. Eventually they ended up back in the area where they’d murdered and buried Taban.

They could not believe their eyes or ears. Aminah and her supposedly-dead husband, both bright with joy and life, worshipped, danced and sang right by the spot he had been buried.

Their throats, their brains, could form no words. Finally, Aminah described to them what had happened. Still stunned, their hardness began to melt away. Finally, they weakly managed to assure her they weren’t angry at her anymore.

"We love you for our Lord Jesus loves you," Aminah and Taban made clear to her father and brothers.

As the couple explained to them more about Jesus and His salvation, the men listened intently. Now though, gripped with a dreadful fear they’d never known, words again failed them.

Taban stepped forward and embraced them warmly with Jesus’ love, and Aminah followed. Only then did it dawn on all of them the reality and Truth of what had just happened.

Aminah's father and brothers, along with the newly-wed and newly-alive young couple, headed back to the family home. When they arrived they explained to everyone in the house what had happened, and then, naturally (and supernaturally!) the message of salvation. Every single one, including some neighbors and friends, accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior.

Two Sundays ago, the entire household and their newly-Christian friends and neighbors boarded a mini bus for the long ride to Pastor Mustafa’s church, where they attended in their first service.

Plans now are to establish a house church in Aminah’s family home, where the newlyweds now stay. Please pray for them.

Pastor Mustafa also requests your prayers for 2,500 Arabic bibles and 1,500 each of Swahili and Somali bibles. Please keep him and the work all across Africa in your prayers.

__________________________
*
Name changed for security reasons
** Pastor Mustafa oversees approximately 40 underground Assembly of Loving God (ALG) house churches all across Africa. You can read more about his powerful but dangerous ministry here.

Exciting update: entire Muslim village now Christian!

The health of Pastors Shah* and Asif*, attacked in the remote mountain village where they live and serve in Central Asia, continues to improve [original story here: Urgent prayer request: Pastors attacked and church demolished by terrorists]. We praise God for all 45 families of the village who stand with the ministers, encouraging and helping them in their recovery. The other injured individuals have almost fully recovered as well. We thank everyone who has been praying for them.

As reported two weeks ago, several local youngsters, influenced by outside extremists, had demolished the church, health clinic, sewing school and education center, all which had been set up by the pastors. Both ministers as well as a number of believers, including children, had suffered serious injuries. The young attackers’ parents and other elders in the village severely reprimanded them, and advised them to ask the pastors’ forgiveness.

The village’s medical student, home on vacation, paid the young men a visit and full of the love of Christ (with plans to become a missionary doctor), counselled them similarly. They finally agreed.

All the villagers, including the young men, then joined forces and chased the militants from their town. The former ‘temporary terrorists’ then approached the pastors and asked forgiveness for what they had done. The ministers embraced them with brotherly love and prayed for them.

The villagers have since been working hard to rebuild the tin sheet church and the health clinic, all under the leadership of the young people.

Before the attack, 27 of the village’s families counted themselves believers. The other 18 families remained Muslim, but had no complaints against either the church or their fellow villagers who became Christian. The boys who had joined with the terrorists and persecuted the church had come from those families.

To dedicate the newly-constructed church, the pastors held three days prayer and fasting in the building, from Thursday through Saturday.  Even though still weak, Pastors Shah and Asif led the services, with all the villages’ 45 families taking part! 

By the end of the three days, every single one of the those Muslims accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior. So the whole village, in an otherwise entirely Muslim-dominated region, has become Christian!

Thank you for your prayers for the Assembly of Loving God Church and Bibles for Mideast. Please pray now as we prepare for baptismal services for the new believers, as well as for all future activities of the church.

________________
* Names 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.

____________________________
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.

1,268 baptisms and many miracles in three days!

By God’s grace, underground house churches of Bibles for Mideast conducted 127 baptismal services across Asia, Africa and the Middle East over the past three days, with 1,268 former Muslims going through the cleansing waters. In Saudi Arabia alone, 613 people in 72 different areas went through the sacred rite. While threats and attacks accompanied the services, so did the miraculous!

“Because of police patrolling and the threats of attack from Islamic militants and terrorists, we avoid sea shores for the baptisms and held the services inside of our churches.” Pastor Paul, Director of Bibles for Mideast explains. Most churches arranged to have fiber or polythene water tanks erected inside of their prayer halls.

Many did experience attacks or threats.

Baptism in makeshift pool

Baptism in makeshift pool

“A mob of Islamic militants attacked the people of our church on their way to the service,” Pastor Hilal of one church reported. “Nobody knows how it happened, but the people of the mob ended up having a serious argument about something and they divided into two groups.  Finally they fought each other and police came and arrested them all.”

Al Muthalib reported what happened when some radicals attempted to attack the people gathered at his church.

“Some militants smell about the baptism service of our church, and they gathered outside of the church wall with weapons and tried to enter the church compound by jumping over the gate. While jumping, one of them was seriously injured by an iron bar fixed to the top of the gate. The sharp point of the bar went through his body. Others took him to the hospital at once.”

“Police came to search in our church,” Evangelist Davood reported from his area. “But the pastor got information they were coming, so the service ended quickly before they arrived. The people turned the water tank upside down in a corner of the compound and put hollow bricks around and on the tank to hide it.   When police came, they couldn’t find any evidence of a religious service, so they left.”

Salmath shared the wonders witnessed by all at her church.

Water 'boiling' in the tank!

Water 'boiling' in the tank!

“During the baptismal service, a star light descended from above the water tank and water started boiling with steam, but without getting hot.  Till the end of the baptism, the water boiled continuously. All the people who were baptized in that water tank were immediately anointed by the Holy Spirit!”

So many wonderful accounts have come in we are not even able to report them all.

Please keep these new believers in your prayers, and continue to pray for the evangelization of the entire Muslim world.

“I sought the Lord, and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.
This poor man called, and the Lord heard him; He saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, and He delivers them.
Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him.”
— Psalm 34:4-8