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

Members of Middle Eastern Muslim family now worship Jesus!

I am Majida (name changed for security reasons). I belong to a prominent family in the Middle East. We were proud of our family and our religion of Islam. Our house has a majlis [a place of sitting usually at the front of the house and used for various types of special gatherings—Ed.].  Our family also has its own masjid [mosque], because of the quote from the hadith* by Al-Bukhari: “Whoever builds a mosque for the sake of Allah, Allah will reward that person with a place in Paradise.”

I was very particular in practicing Islam, such as doing namaz [ritual Islamic prayers] five times a day, reciting from the Koran, fasting during the month of Ramzan, giving zakath [alms to the poor and needy]. Women of our house strictly obeyed the rules on wearing the traditional abaya with full head and face covering.

Although this is our religious background, the male members certainly did not follow all religious rules. My father and brothers had many friends who were alcoholic.

In my country, people of all religions, except Islam can get permits to buy and use alcohol. Recently I learned that the source of income for one of the emirates is selling alcoholic drinks, which is forbidden by our religion.

My father was addicted to drugs and had various bad habits. Very often he invited non-Muslim friends and drank with them in our majlis. My brothers also drank alcohol and used drugs. There was never peace in our home.

Further, my mother suffered with breast cancer and could not sleep because of the pain. I too had a large blister on my leg, which doctors couldn’t cure.

One day my father happened to meet a Christian pastor who worked with Bibles for Mideast. My father tried to explain to him about Islam, the Koran and the Hadith. The pastor showed interest in what he said, and then conveyed the message of Gospel. By this way, they became friends. Whenever they meet together, the pastor would give my father Christian leaflets. It was all about the Way, the Truth, the Life, the Light, the true freedom and peace possible only from the Prince of Peace.

My father would leave the tracts on the table, and I would often read them.

“If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed,” I read in one of them [John 8:36]. It was explained that the Son is Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who is able to free from sin, from sickness, from fear and from death.

That really struck me. I read it several times, sitting in a chair and thinking on it.

I began to feel sleepy. As I fell asleep, I saw Jesus come to me. He lifted my lower jaw and said with a smile, “I am your Savior. I love you, Follow me. My grace is sufficient for you: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” Suddenly I opened my eyes. There was nobody. But I felt a real peace in my mind.  And I found the unhealed blister on my leg had disappeared!

Secretly I approached the pastor. He gave me a Bible and told me about salvation. I accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as my personal savior and Lord. And I asked the pastor to pray for the healing of my mother and the deliverance of my family members.

When I came back home I found my mother was sleeping well without having taken any sleeping capsules. When she woke up, she said a man from heaven had come with many angels, had then touched her and told her to be healed! There were nail marks in His hands, she said.

I told her about Jesus and she too accepted Him as her savior. When the doctor checked her, he of course wondered about her healing, and boldly I told him that it was Jesus who healed her.

I asked my father and brothers to attend three days of prayer meetings at an underground Bibles for Mideast house church with me. So very secretly we all went to attend the prayer service. My father and brothers stopped all bad habits. All of my family members came to believe in and accept Jesus Christ. We now all pray and read the Bible together at home.

What wonderful peace in the hearts and at home when Jesus comes into lives! Daily I see Jesus as a living person to whom I can tell everything of my life.   I have no words to narrate the miracles we see daily ever since our friendship with Jesus began. He alone is God. All praise and glory to Him alone.

Please pray for us to stand stable in this precious faith as we are preparing for baptism.

________________________
*The Hadith is a record (there are many collections) of the traditions or sayings of Mohammad, and second only to the Koran in authority for Muslims.