From the River of Death to the River of Life!

Report: Bibles for Mideast and an Assembly of Loving God (ALG) church in South Asia

Rabinder and Padma*, devout Hindus, lived with their daughter in northern India.  They dutifully performed the regular Hindu rituals of worshipping and praying to a vast array of deities both in their home and in local temples.

One day, to their extreme distress, their daughter left their home proclaiming her love for a Muslim boy, who she then married. When the parents went to the newlyweds home to appeal for the return of their daughter, she instead asked them to convert to Islam as well.

Because of the shame of the marriage among their fellow Hindus, Padma and Rabinder were hated and shunned. Priests and community leaders forbad them entry to the temples to see their many beloved and feared idols. They accused the couple of creating opportunities for their daughter to develop a friendship with the Muslim boy. Then, when they had visited their daughter in her new home and could not convince her to return to them, why had they not killed the two of them, they demanded? Further, if they allowed the parents in the temple, surely they would misguide other boys and girls.

Rabinder and Padma were devastated. Everyone, even close neighbors, now kept their distance. In desperation, two weeks ago, they decided to drown themselves in the great river Ganges. According to Hindu belief, such deaths would not be considered suicide but as giving their lives into the hands of the goddess Ganga. [The Ganges River is considered sacred, and personified as the goddess Gaṅgā—Ed.]. Hindus believe that dying in the river Ganges or leaving a dead body there means a direct journey to Vaikuntha, the highest heavenly abode. With so many dead bodies floating in the polluted waters, Rabinder and Padma knew no one would search for them. So off they went, and after tying their hands together, jumped into the contaminated river.

Dead bodies floating in Ganges River near Pariyar (Getty Images)

Dead bodies floating in Ganges River near Pariyar (Getty Images)

By next morning, their bodies landed ashore, many miles downstream. Pastor Praveen* of Bibles for Mideast along with two other believers happened to be out on their morning stroll when they spied two bodies on the nearby shore. Certain they must be dead, they still approached, noticing one was male, the other female. Discerning some slight movement, they immediately pressed down on their abdomens, releasing some of the water inside. Both became conscious but were obviously extremely weak. The pastor and his friends took them inland to their ALG church.

The Hindu couple had never in their lives met even one Christian. What they’d heard and believed was that all had converted from the Hindu Dalit, or ‘untouchable’ class. So when they discovered their rescuers were Christian, all they wanted was to get away. But in their weakness, they could barely move. Surely, they thought, every last bit of goodness had vanished from their lives. Both began to cry.

When Pastor Praveen and a few others attempted to touch and console them, they screamed out for them to stop. The pastor's wife attempted to give them glasses of drinking water, but they refused to even touch the glass.

The Hindu woman wore a pendant around her in her neck, bearing an image of the lord Shiva. The two held onto the idol and called out to Shiva to save them.  By this time, other believers had joined the group.

Shiva pendant necklace similar to the one Padma wore

Shiva pendant necklace similar to the one Padma wore

Understanding what was going on, the pastor and his fellow church members simply sat nearby, praying the two exhausted visitors would come to know the one and only, true and living Lord God.

Pastor Praveen read aloud from Psalm 115, David’s beautiful ode to the greatness of God and the utter impotence of idols. As he brought in the Gospel to explain the reading, the Holy Spirit began to move mightily. The Hindu couple glanced around fearfully, wondering what on earth the Christians were up to.

"When I saw Him, I fell at his feet as though dead,” the pastor now read. “But He placed His right hand on me, saying, ‘Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last, and the Living One. I was dead, and see, I am alive forever and ever; and I have the keys of Death and of Hades’” (Rev. 1:17-18).

Suddenly an electric shock passed through the couple's hands and the idol shattered, the pieces flying everywhere.

"THAT is the true Word,” a mighty Voice thundered. “I am your Creator and Savior. I am neither a man nor an idol. I brought you here for your salvation." Everyone in the room heard it.

The couple began to weep, this time feeling burdened with sin. They confessed their sins before the Lord Jesus, and accepted Him as their Lord and Savior.

Rabinder and Padma now stay with Pastor Praveen and his family, feeling joy they’d never known and worshiping the Lord Jesus in Spirit and in Truth. Please pray for them. They also request prayers that their daughter and son-in-law would come to know and accept Jesus as their own Savior and Lord as well.

_____________________
* 
Names changed for security reasons

Bible distribution plans: Please pray

Pastor Peter Haneef, president of the ALG Church (umbrella for the many Bibles for Mideast churches) has a special prayer request for visitors to this website and supporters of the work and ministries of Bibles for Mideast.

“Kindly pray as our church wants to distribute 30,000 bibles in Arabic, Urdu and other Asian and African languages before the end of this year,” he asks.

“All our believers will also be presenting bibles as New Year’s gifts to at least two of their non-Christian friends,” he adds. “Please pray that the Holy Spirit helps them to win souls for Jesus our Savior.”

He and all of us know we cannot do this—any of it—without the help of praying, generous Christians. If the Holy Spirit leads you to participate with this Bible Distribution Ministry, please click here.

Pastor Peter himself knows better than most the mighty power of prayer, having himself had a dramatic conversion from Islamic extremism (From radical Islamic murderer to ardent leader in the Kingdom of Jesus). Now leading the ALG, he found himself on the receiving end in June of this year of the very atrocities he once meted out (Brutal attack on ALG Church leader Pastor Peter Haneef and family in Bangladesh). While that ended gloriously with, ultimately, the salvation of his main attacker (Boy’s dramatic dream of wounded lamb leads to salvation of his Islamic terrorist father), Pastor Peter is in fact still not quite completely recovered, so please pray for him as well.

TOP :    (L)   aT A recent bible distribution event;      (R)   a cancer patient receives a bible   Bottom  (L to R):    Muslim woman receives bible;   Hindu woman learning bible;   presenting a passenger boat driver with his own bible

TOP: (L) aT A recent bible distribution event; (R) a cancer patient receives a bible
Bottom (L to R):
Muslim woman receives bible; Hindu woman learning bible; presenting a passenger boat driver with his own bible

Hindu sorcerer turns to Christ and now lives for Him

Venkatesan, born into a Hindu Dalit (depressed or ‘untouchable’ class) family in India grew up worshiping idols and learning black magic from his sorcerer father. His mother, however, regularly attended Christian prayer meetings. She constantly prayed for her family, and attempted to teach them about the divine help and salvation possible in Jesus alone. But they would have nothing to do with her beliefs.

Venkatesan, disagreeable even as a young person, grew even more depraved as the years passed. He constantly squabbled with others, and hatred toward him increased.

One day when he was 32 and out on his bicycle, he attempted to cross a motorway. An oncoming truck rammed into him, dragging him a fair distance and continuing on without stopping. He lay near death by the side of the road for close to an hour, blood flowing continuously from his wounds.  No one would stop or help; all presumed him dead. When the police finally arrived and found faint signs of life, they had him transported to the hospital. He remained there in a coma for several days.

His mother stood by him with her prayers. Her church family, a Bibles for Mideast church, prayed and fasted for Venkatesan as well.

While all this was going on, Venkatesan had a vision of Christ coming down from heaven with thousands of angels and then felt him touch him with his nail-pierced hands.

"I love you my child,” he heard Jesus say. “You are always my child; I will never leave you alone and my love will never end. Be healed!"

Venkatesan receives Bibles for further distribution

Venkatesan receives Bibles for further distribution

Venkatesan opened his eyes. He saw his mother and the members of the prayer team kneeling beside his bed and praying, their eyes full of tears. He called out to his mother. In joyful surprise she praised the Lord! 

Medical staff, hearing the commotion, rushed in to his bedside and he lost no time in telling them exactly what he had just experienced. His doctors declared it a miracle, and he declared he would now live for Jesus Christ!

His and his mother’s prayers, and the witness of their lives for Christ, encouraged Venkatesan’s father to turn to Jesus before he died several years later. Now married and with a son, he remains faithful in service to the Lord through the ministries of Bibles for Mideast.

Please keep him, his family and the many others serving Jesus in restricted areas of the world in your prayers. We could not keep functioning without you!

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.

From Hindu priestly family to daughter of the King of Kings

Report: Pastor Peter Haneef,  Assembly of Loving God (ALG) Church

Athira (not her real name) grew up in a grew up in a Hindu Brahmin (priestly) family in south Asia [Brahmin are the highest of the four Hindu castes; their traditional occupation being the spiritual guidance of people—Ed.].  She dutifully followed and practiced the ways of Hinduism throughout her youth, performing the ritual prayers and worshiping  various idols and deities. 

Once she reached university, Athira became best friends with the daughter of a Bibles for Mideast missionary. As a New Year’s gift, the friend presented her with a bible. Unimpressed, the young Hindu woman nonetheless accepted it because of their friendship. But the bible lay unread under the growing pile of her many other books. 
 
One night, she had a dream where she saw Jesus standing in the midst of a wall of fire, asking her to follow Him. On waking, she knew there had to be connection between the man in her dream and the book her friend had given her. She reached beneath her pile of books, fishing around till she found it. 

Opening it, she read: “There is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
 
The next morning, she shared her experience with her Christian friend. The friend took the opportunity to tell her all she could about the good news of the Gospel. 

“He came to save all humanity from sin and death through his crucifixion, death and resurrection,” she explained lovingly. “He is the Lord of the whole universe!  We will be saved if we believe in Him and follow Him.” 

Athira believed her friend, and prayed with her to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as her personal savior and Lord. She began attending worship services at a local Assembly of Loving God (ALG) Church. Soon she was baptized, and received the new name Phoebe as her baptismal name. 

University exams completed, a local company hired the fresh young Christian. As weeks went by on the new job, she caught the eye of fellow employee, named Jawad. The young Muslim began professing his love for her and soon after, asked her to marry him. 

It turns out his real intent was ‘Love Jihad’ [Love Jihad, also called Romeo Jihad, is a not uncommon activity where Muslim boys and men target women belonging to non-Muslim communities for conversion to Islam by feigning love—Ed.]. If she fell for him and accepted his proposal, she would be forced to convert to Islam with the marriage.

But she didn’t fall for the scheme. Instead, she shared her new faith with him, and asked him to accept Jesus as his savior. And so the war was on. He would push Allah, the prophet Mohamed and the rigid Islamic religion; she would argue for the love of Jesus.
 
As his anger grew in intensity, he became violent, slapping her and pushing her around. She refused to have anything more to do with him, which only made him more furious. 
 
One day while returning from work, Jawad and several of his friends brutally attacked and attempted to rape Phoebe. She screamed as loudly as she could, and cried out to Jesus to save her. Immediately, a mighty man of fire appeared before all of them, and rescued her. The heat from the man was such the attackers' clothes were practically burnt off of their bodies. They fled, half-naked, from the scene. Phoebe firmly believes Jesus, the mighty King, saved her.

 “For I,” declares the Lord, “will be a wall of fire around her, and I will be the glory in her midst” (Zech. 2:5, NASB).

 “For I,” declares the Lord, “will be a wall of fire around her, and I will be the glory in her midst” (Zech. 2:5, NASB).

“Don’t be afraid,” she heard the fiery man say to her. “You are my dear daughter. I have great mercy on you. Trust me and keep standing in my shadow. The mountains can shake and the hills fall down, but my love for you will not fail or be shaken. And my covenant of peace will not be removed. Certainly I will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence.”

She felt Jesus right beside her until she got back to her house. When her parents and others in the home saw her and heard her story or rescue, they could not deny the supremacy of this man Jesus. All accepted the truth of His saving power and grace, and now attend worship services with Phoebe. 
 
Please pray for her and her household. Also pray that Jawad and his friends will confess before Jesus Christ and come to saving knowledge of Him. 

Siblings of Hindu priestly family accept Jesus; now face persecution

Report: Jadavedan Potty for Bibles for Mideast [edited for clarity]

My name is Jadavedan Potty [meaning 'priest born in scriptures'; 'scriptures' here referring to Hindu Vedas—Ed.]. I belong to a Hindu Brahmin (priestly) family in India. From childhood I was an idol worshiper and often went to temples. I would get up at 4:00 every morning and do poojas [Himdu prayer rituals—Ed.] and help the main priest. I also used to bathe the deities and pray to them.

Once I got a Christian pamphlet from one of my friends. In it I read the verse, "All you who live anywhere on earth, turn to me and be saved. I am God. There is no other God." (Isaiah 45:22)

I then read other verses from the pamphlet: "God’s grace has now appeared. By his grace, God offers to save all people. His grace teaches us to say no to godless ways and sinful desires. We must control ourselves. We must do what is right. We must lead godly lives in today’s world. That’s how we should live as we wait for the blessed hope God has given us. We are waiting for Jesus Christ to appear in his glory. He is our great God and Savior. He gave himself for us. By doing that, he set us free from all evil. He wanted to make us pure. He wanted us to be his very own people. He wanted us to desire to do what is good." (Titus 2:11-14)

When I came home, I put the pamphlet inside of my cupboard. And I said to myself that I'm Hindu; Jesus is not my God. I wanted to go ahead in my life by worshiping the Hindu gods only.

After that, many times in my life I felt somehow that GOD JESUS really loves me sincerely.  Once I even saw the LORD; He came and put His hand on my shoulder. Even then though I said to myself, 'No, Jesus is not my God; my gods are idols."

One day my sister, then 20 years old, suffered from a brain tumor and became bed-ridden. She was my only sister. While my parents took her to different hospitals for treatments, I went by myself to all the nearby Hindu temples to worship.  I was so desperate to get help from above.

Not long after, I happened to attend a Christian retreat. I listened as a woman gave her testimony of being severely ill, and doctors giving up all hope. Her family was crying for her. But she didn’t lose her hope and she cried out to GOD JESUS and GOD JESUS healed her and saved her! Now she is completely well and tells her story to everyone, so that those who are suffering will come to know that only GOD JESUS has power over everything.

When I heard her testimony, I remembered the pamphlet I'd been given, and that there was a telephone number on the back.  Immediately I ran to my home, found it, and dialed the number. I told them all about the problems my sister faced. I asked if they could come to my house and pray for her. At once they prayed over the phone, and I also started praying to GOD JESUS.

Women with bibles donated by Bibles for Mideast

Women with bibles donated by Bibles for Mideast

That same evening some blessed people from Gospel to Asia and Middle East Nations  (the precursor of Bibles for Mideast) came to my house and prayed for my sister. They gave me a New Testament, and I began feeling some power working in my life. Slowly my sister was completely cured, and we both accepted Jesus as our Savior.

We now suffer persecutions from our family and others for accepting Jesus as Savior. The ministers who visited us gave us a full Bible. We rely on Jesus through the Bible and are strengthened by its verses. Also we learned the apostolic principles and received baptism in an underground church.

Please pray for me and my sister. Also pray for our entire  family and our friends to know the love of our Lord Jesus Christ. Pray for our ministries and church too.