A Muslim love story: first with Jesus, then each other, and now the world around them

Islamic teacher Davood* worked for years training children in the Koran at a religious school attached to a mosque in Africa. One day, he discovered a student with a gospel tract. Infuriated, he demanded to know where the fellow had gotten it. Someone had handed it to him as he walked to school, the boy explained. Snatching the leaflet from him, Davood warned him to never accept such foolish writings from anyone ever again.

But he held onto the tract, intending to show it to the mosque’s religious leaders. They absolutely must find out who was distributing the literature and, if he had anything to say about, punish them severely.

Since he wasn’t able to meet any of the leaders when school finished, he headed back to his home. Getting ready for bed that night, he again noticed the tract. He might as well see what nonsense they were writing, he figured, and read it through.

When he got to the part about there being “salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to people by which we must be saved” something—he wasn’t sure what—struck him and stuck in his mind.

That night Jesus—whom Muslims recognize as a great prophet and messenger of God—came to him in a dream.

“I am the way and the truth and the life,” he announced to Davood. “No one comes to the Heavenly Father except through me.”

As morning dawned the Muslim man had another look at the gospel tract, and finding a contact number on the back, called it. Pastor Musthafa with Bibles for Mideast in Africa answered [an earlier story about Pastor Musthafa here: The storms of heaven in Africa: punishment for some, salvation for others]. Soon Davood had many of his questions answered and was led in a prayer to accept Jesus as his personal Savior and Lord.

Meanwhile, in another part of Africa, young Minoo* lived with her parents, seven sisters and four brothers in a poor but fanatically Islamic household. 

“I wanted to go to school and college,” she explains, “but my parents directed me to go to work on farms before I was 12.”  

Because of the heavy labor and intermingling with other workers, she contracted HIV, which developed into full-blown AIDS several years later.

tHE FATE OF MANY EBOLA SUFFERERS [gETTY IMAGES, LIBERIA)

tHE FATE OF MANY EBOLA SUFFERERS [gETTY IMAGES, LIBERIA)

“I was in severe pain, but doctors refused to treat me,” she remembers.  “My friends and relatives were also afraid to visit me.” With no medical treatment, other members of her family also contracted HIV, and then all were infected by the Ebola virus when it later raged though West Africa.

With neighbors refusing to visit or help in any way, and with little to eat and drink, the family began to waste away physically and emotionally. Minoo decided to put an end to her misery.

“I collected some poisonous fruits to end my life,” she explains, but her attempt failed.

Pastors and workers with Bibles for Mideast learned of the sad and dying family, and, ignoring the warnings of others in the community, brought them food and clothes. They also fasted and prayed for three days for the family.

“The Lord Jesus revealed to us to visit the family and pray for them,” Pastor Paul explains, so he and Pastor Musthafa visited, bringing more food and clothes. When neighbors reiterated the warnings of certain death if they went in the home, they stood firm.

“We are going to that house in the name of Jesus Christ, who is the living Lord and Savior and mighty healer,” they told the naysayers. “If it is His will they all will be healed and saved, and you all will see it with your own eyes.”

The pastors found the family to be “like skeleton people,” Pastor Paul recalls. The men knelt down in the power of the Holy Spirit, while some family members gathered in front of them. Minoo and several others lay on their beds, unable to get up.

aS hE DID THEN, HE DOES NOW!

aS hE DID THEN, HE DOES NOW!

When the pastors began praying, “the power of Jesus’ victorious life-giving blood poured out on each in the family like electricity,” Pastor Paul recounts. Screaming, Minoo jumped to her feet and began dancing around.

“Glory to Jesus!” she cried, praising and thanking the Lord. Others stood to their feet, all experiencing the almighty awesomeness of God. They then knelt in His powerful Presence. The pastors shared the gospel with them, and each accepted the Lord Jesus as personal Savior and Lord.

Within days they had recovered their physical health, and grown leaps and bounds spiritually. But new trials began. The Muslim community they lived in insisted they reject their faith in Jesus as Savior, but with new-found strength and boldness, they held on. One night some radical neighbors set fire to their house, intending to kill all of them. The family managed to escape, and fled the region.

Minoo’s strong desire for higher studies finally found fulfillment as she went deep into the Word of God, and with the help of Bibles for Mideast, went on to university.

Before going, she began preparing for baptism with, unknown to her, her future husband—yes, Davood!—as a fellow candidate. They were baptized together by Pastor Musthafa, but only later, while studying at the same university, did they get to really know each other and fall in love.

Davood learned of her unfortunate past but did not let that get in the way of his desire to marry her. Pastor Paul officiated at their marriage and now, several years later, they have a young girl and infant boy. They lead an underground church, as well as evangelize Muslims in their area and distribute bibles. Please pray God’s protection, provision and guidance for this young couple, their church and their ministry … as well as for the ministry of Bibles for Mideast as a whole.

____________________________
*names changed for security reasons

Minoo Hussain reported several earlier stories for us: The storms of heaven in Africa: punishment for some, salvation for othersand God restores and redeems: an astounding update of attack on the African church.

Prayer support still desperately needed for Pastor Paul and family

First, a huge thank you to everyone praying our Pastor Paul back to a measure of health so that he can now be released from hospital. We didn’t reveal this earlier, but he actually had to be moved to a different hospital after authorities thwarted a plan by militants to kill him and his wife in the hospital.

He is now able to go home, but since ‘home’ is not a safe place, he and his wife have decided to go to a different state for the three months' rest doctors recommend for his full recovery.

Please continue to pray: for complete healing, for redemption, for protection, and for guidance and provision for the future. A massive thank-you to all who have generously contributed to the hospital costs for the past month!

Work in the field continues, so please continue to pray and support as you are able. We in the West have such a limited conception of how difficult it is to live for Jesus in so many restrictive countries in the world, such as those where Bibles for Mideast missionaries live and work.

____________________________
Related stories:
Despite persecution, more than 3,000 former Muslims baptized
Stoned by terrorists, protected by a lion!

Resurrection life and healing for an abused young Muslim woman

ReportAssembly of Loving God (ALG) Church

Seydath (not her real name) grew up in a poor fundamentalist Muslim family in Central Asia. When only six, her father died, and her mother remarried a year later.

As Seydath grew into a beautiful young woman, her stepfather’s unwanted attentions grew unbearable. While she knew she wasn’t safe, she had no way of escape. 

At 13, her stepfather and the Imam of the local mosque brought an elderly man to their home for a visit. He turned out to be a rich Arab from the Middle East who, once he saw her, decided she should be his next bride. For a sum, her mother and stepfather gave their young daughter to the man. He then returned to the Middle East with her as his fifth wife—far younger than his other wives and younger even than his grandchildren.

When the elderly Arab died four years later, the other wives and their children forced Seydath to become their servant. With a young child to raise but without proper food or care, the two lived a subsistence, isolated existence. When the child fell ill with pneumonia, it soon died due to lack of medical attention. Seydath had no idea how to approach the authorities, get help from anyone, and had no contacts with her native people. As the years passed, she persistently endured but barely survived.

At 40, Seydath developed serious back pain. No one in the household she worked so hard for cared. As the pain increased, she grew less and less able to function. Not until completely disabled was she admitted to the common ward of a hospital.

Doctors diagnosed severe, final stage, terminal bone cancer. None of her ‘family’ visited her in hospital, or seemed to even care she was dying.

Seydath became plagued by dreams and visions of evil spirits coming and going, attacking her body, increasing her pain and laughing at her. When doctors and nurses came, she would imagine they were agents of death, and scream at them in terror.

One day, several women working with Bibles for Mideast dropped in on her as part of their regular hospital evangelism. Near delusional, Seydath figured they too were forces of evil. She shrieked at them as she had with the hospital staff. The women merely moved back slightly from her bed and began praying in earnest.  An angel suddenly appeared to Seydath, smiled at her, and calmly reached out to touch her.

“Don’t be concerned. Be at peace,” the angel said sweetly. “You have a great healer, the Lord Jesus. He will heal you by His stripes. Trust in Jesus and believe in Him." It then vanished.

Seydath felt overwhelming peace. She looked at the women holding their bibles and praying. She knew now they had to be agents of healing and life, not death. So she called them over.

"Who is this Lord Jesus, the great healer?" she asked them.

The women told her about Jesus Christ and His mission. She listened, but as a practicing Muslim, could not accept their message. The Jesus she believed in was a prophet, not the Son of God.

"I am waiting for my death," she told them. "I won't believe in your Jesus and don't want to go to hell as a Kafir [one not believing in Islam]. I only believe in Allah and his prophet Mohammad. So please leave me alone."

That evening, a Bibles for Mideast group of believers gathered together in an underground church of the Assembly of Loving God (ALG) Church, and prayed for her the entire night.

The next day, Pastors Peter and James visited her in the hospital. Even as they entered her room, she had been dreaming of and sensing the evil spirits unleashed against her. She opened her eyes as the pastors approached, and witnessed the evil spirits flee.

Pastor Peter opened up to her more about Jesus, the risen Lord and Saviour.

“Jesus was crucified on the cross of Calvary, died and resurrected from the dead to save us from hell and give us eternal life,” he explained. “He is the one sitting at the right of Almighty Father God to receive His people to heaven. He lives and does miracles. By His stripes we are healed. If you accept Jesus as your Lord and Saviour, you will be saved.”

Both pastors then shared their own dramatic stories of conversion from Islam.

Seydath listened carefully, remaining silent. When the pastors asked permission to pray for her, she consented since, whenever they spoke, she could feel such peace and even relief from her pain.

As the pastors prayed, she fell asleep. She dreamed that Jesus appeared before her, and gently touched her from head to toe with His nail-pierced hands. He then asked her to get up from the bed and be His witness.

The pastors were still praying when she woke up. She rose, then just as quickly knelt down by the bed.

"I believe in Jesus as my personal saviour and Lord!” she announced to them. “He really was crucified, died and rose from the dead for me. From now on, He alone is my Saviour." With one voice, all three exclaimed “Amen!”

Seydath now makes her home with the Bibles for Mideast women, worshiping Jesus and studying the word of God.

"Never in my life have I experienced such happiness,” she says with conviction. “My Lord Jesus totally showers me with great joy. Praise His Name!"

____________________________

Please pray for Seydath. Please also keep up your prayers for Pastor Paul and his family. He is still in hospital undergoing treatment after his major brain surgery, needed due to the stoning by Islamic militants immediately following a baptismal service last month (that story here). He is expected to be released in about ten days.

He and his family do, however, remain under death threats. They survived a recent commando attack by terrorists, thwarted due to an intelligence report to the police (more details cannot be revealed). Our mighty Lord keeps them under His wings by your prayers.

Jesus saves Arab from horrible tragedies, his Christian-hating wife soon to follow

The following story is from a man who for security reasons, we’ll call Al-Jamali. From a prominent Middle Eastern Arab Muslim family, Al-Jamali up until recently strictly adhered to the five pillars—the basic and foundational tenets—of Islam.

About eleven years ago, in 2004, I went on a tour of India with my friend. We were visiting Kanyakumari, the cape of South India, in December that year when gigantic waves began heading to shore. We saw them coming, but not thinking they would affect us on land, I made an effort to take photos. They were, in fact, tsunami waves [generated by the massive magnitude 9.3 undersea earthquake off the coast of Banda Aceh, northern Sumatra—Ed.].

Within seconds the waves battered the shore, wiping out everything.  Thousands of people died.  My friend and I were trapped in the waves. The undercurrent pulled me down to the ocean depths, where I probably remained for five minutes, certain I would die. Suddenly, I felt a strong and mighty man pick me up in his hands. I really felt like a baby being carried by its mother. I could see blood stains on the man’s hands. While he carried me, I heard him saying,

“I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me will live, even though they die; and those who live and believe in me will never die.” [John 11:25]

He carried me safely to the shore, completely unharmed. But I couldn’t find my friend, only dead bodies everywhere. I ran out among them, calling out, until I finally realized I would never see that friend again. Hundreds of the bodies could not be identified. While I watched, government authorities gathered them all up, poured gasoline over them, and set them alight.  Certainly my friend would have been among them. If God had not saved me, I too would have been burned.

Jesus holding man painting.jpg

Though I got my life back, I could not get over the shock of losing my friend. I know the mighty man had saved me, but somehow that did not affect me as much as missing my friend.  I just couldn’t get over it, and lost all peace of mind. I returned to the Middle East alone, and gradually the memories of that horrible day became less strong.

But eleven years later, on the same day, December 26th, 2015, I was driving my car along with my wife. By then, I had become a family man and had married two women. The one with me was my second wife.

Suddenly, my car rammed into the rear of a truck, while another truck came up from behind and crashed into me. Unfortunately, our air bags didn’t deploy. But I felt the same thing I had back on the day of the tsunami.  A strong, mighty man held me, carrying me like a baby in the arms of its mother. I saw the same blood stains on his hands and realized he was the same man who had rescued me from the tsunami. .

Police and an ambulance arrived almost immediately, and we were taken to the hospital. On the way, sadly, my wife died. I was admitted. And that same night, the man who had saved me from both the tsunami and accident visited me. I was very happy to see him. I held his hands and asked him to sit beside me. He sat down and then said to me:  “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.” [Matt. 16:26-27]

I asked, “Who are you?”

“I am Jesus, who was crucified and rose from the dead,” he replied. “Do you believe me?”

“Yes Lord, I believe,” I answered. “But what about my wife?”

“You need only one wife,” he responded. “Lead a life with her, and live for me.” He then vanished.

The very next day, two strangers came to my hospital room. They introduced themselves as Pastor Paul and Pastor Steve from Bibles for Mideast. One explained he’d had .a dream from Jesus Christ about me, and that’s why they had come. I welcomed them happily. They explained to me the message of the Gospel and gave me an Arabic Bible. When I opened it, there were the words Jesus had said to me!  I accepted him as my personal savior and Lord before the pastors, who then prayed over me. Afterwards I went to my wife’s burial, carrying my bible in my bag.

I now study the scriptures, and secretly attend worship services at an underground house church of Bibles for Mideast. For several months, my wife refused to believe in Jesus. I tried to tell her gospel stories, but she didn’t want to hear them. When I mentioned the name of Jesus and talk about his crucifixion and resurrection, she’d become angry and even violent. But the church and I continuously prayed for her.

One day she slipped on the floor and broke her hip.  She needed surgery, and afterwards, in severe pain, could only rest at home.  Whenever I .prayed silently over her, she felt some relief but when I stopped, the pain would return. Slowly though, she began to understand the power of prayer.

I was thrilled when she asked me to call the pastors to pray for her. So I called Pastor Paul immediately to see when he could come, and then sent my car to bring him. He arrived with two others. It was in fact the second time he’d come to my house. The first time, my wife had angrily let him know she did not like or want Christians visiting our home. But on this second visit, she welcomed him with a beautiful smile and asked me to pull a chair up for him beside her bed.

Pastor Paul helped her understand more about Jesus, and her need for salvation. She readily accepted Jesus as her savior and Lord. Then he got up and started praying for her. I was surprised to see her reach out and take his hands, and then hold them to her head. As a religious Muslim, she never allowed any man except her husband to touch her body. This is an absolute requirement under Shariah law. But with Jesus in her heart, she had totally changed.

While Pastor Paul prayed, we all heard some breaking or joining sounds coming from her hip area, and she was totally healed! We had a consultation with her doctor that same day, and since she no longer needed them, all the materials that had been surgically implanted to repair the broken hip were removed. Now I attend the worship service along with my wife and children at Assembly of Loving God, the church organized by Bibles for Mideast..

Please keep our friend Al-Jamali in your prayers. Surely the Lord has huge plans for him!

Murderous fanatic rescued from suicide attempt, his son healed of cancer, and all meet Jesus

Ismail* (50), a fanatic Muslim in South Asia, never liked Christianity. He seized every opportunity to thwart evangelical activities, quarreled constantly with Christian leaders, and even stoned those preaching the gospel at roadside meetings.

Ismail’s motorized rickshaw provided his livelihood, but one day in 2006 he decided to use it to take the life of Pastor Paul of Bibles for Mideast, ramming into him on the street. As the mission leader lay in hospital, other fanatics threatened his family at home. Fortunately all family members survived (that story in Christianity Today India hereand another at the Voice of the Martyrs website here).

Standing in the ruins of the church

Standing in the ruins of the church

In late 2008, the same man led a mob of extremists in an attack on one of the house churches established by Pastor Paul. While its leader narrowly escaped with his life, his church was completely demolished (Worthy Network News story here).

Ismail and his wife had only one child, Afsal* (15). They had waited years to have the boy, now a local high school student.

For months Asfal had been in hospital undergoing treatments following surgery to remove a brain tumor. To afford his son's care, Ismail had been forced to sell his rickshaw, his home, and then to borrow from whomever he could. His anguish grew.

“Several days ago, his blood count dropped suddenly,” Dr. A.K., the oncologist, explained. He could present only one diagnosis:  leukemia.

Ismail and his wife plunged even deeper in despair. They found themselves utterly unable to cope with either the trauma of their dying son, or their spiraling debt.

Without telling anyone, before dawn one morning the couple and their boyleft the hospital and headed for a nearby beach. Then, tying one of each of their hands to their son’s, they walked out into the depths of the ocean.

Several Christian fishermen had decided to try for an early-morning catch that same day. In the low light of daybreak, they noticed rather odd behavior in some sea-gulls overhead. The birds would approach their boat, make unusual sounds, and then fly back to sea. Gazing along the flight path, the men suddenly became aware of three people sinking beneath the waves in the distance.

“O Lord Jesus!” one cried. They rushed to rescue the three, calling on the Lord for continued help. As they pulled the family into the boat, blood trickled from the victims' mouths and nostrils and a strong smell of poison filled the air. In their determination to end their lives, the family had obviously ingested poison before heading into the sea.

The fishermen immediately brought them to the nearest hospital. Emergency physicians managed to revive the couple, but hemorrhaging had wrought the boy comatose. Doctors determined he was near death.

That same evening, the Lord revealed the whole story to Pastor Paul in a vision—even showing the couple's broken, contrite hearts. So he gathered a prayer team and visited them in the hospital. The doctor, himself a dedicated Christian, allowed them to pray for Afsal and joined in the prayers. Pastor Paul shared his heart with Ismail and his wife. He told of his conversion from Islam to Christianity, and of his own miraculous healing from leukemia. He shared the bible story of the four people who brought a sick man to Jesus by ripping open a roof and lowering him before the Lord.

“Jesus healed that man because of his friends’ faith,” Pastor Paul explained to the couple. “He rose from his bed and walked.  If you personally believe Jesus Christ is your Lord and Savior, He is able to heal your son Afsal and bring him back to life. It is only because of the Lord you were prevented from committing suicide.”  He further explained to them the way of salvation.

“We had lost all our hope and only wanted to die,” Ismail explained. “This is our second birth! I know it is the Lord Jesus who captured me through trials and hardships. I confess all my sins which I have done against Him, and His people. I repent before Him. And I really want to have a new live in Jesus, along with my son and wife. I believe in Jesus Christ and I accept Him as my Lord and savior.”

His wife also declared Jesus Christ to be her personal savior and Lord.

The prayer team, doctor and couple all joined hands around Afsal’s bed, rejoicing and praising the Lord. They sang a song of healing as Pastor prayed for the boy. At the end of the prayer, to everyone’s astonishment, Afsal opened his eyes.

“The Lord Jesus Christ came to me!” the boy soon explained. “He smiled at me, and put both of His nail-pierced hands to my head and chest. I felt new blood flowing from my heart to my veins, like electricity!” He got out of bed and stood up.  He too declared Lord Jesus as his savior. All continued rejoicing in thankful amazement at the miraculous healing.

Pastor Paul gave the family bibles. With new-found respect and reverence, they kissed the bibles and held them closely to their chests.

Doctors examined the boy thoroughly and declared him to be completely and miraculously healed.

To help protect the family, Bibles for Mideast has rented a small house for them away from their former neighborhood. They rejoice in their new faith. Please pray for God’s protection and provision for His precious new family members.

"Jesus is the loving Lord," Pastor Paul reminds us. "He loves us and sacrificed for us when we were His enemies. He wants us to love one another. Through His love we can have reconciliation with everyone. Only by His love, the world can attain peace and salvation." [Romans 5:8; Eph. 2:14-18]

He also finds the following scriptures apropos to the story:

“Send your resources out over the seas; eventually you will reap a return.” (Eccl 11:1) .

Jesus told them: ‘I saw Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightning. I have given you the power to trample on snakes and scorpions and to defeat the power of your enemy Satan. Nothing can harm you. But don’t be happy because evil spirits obey you. Be happy that your names are written in heaven!’ ” (Luke 10:18-20)

________________________________
*Names changed for security reasons

Jesus and Salvation in Lydia’s West African Town 

Feb. 13, '17: Update on the story of Lydia*

Some of the radical Muslims involved in performing the female genital mutilation (FGM) of 14-year-old Lydia came to her house Saturday evening pleading for forgiveness. They implored her father Yoonus (a missionary with Bibles for Mideast) to pray for their peace of mind, and for their inner and outer healing.  [Earlier related stories here:  URGENT CALL TO PRAYER for young Christian victim of female genital mutilation and Doctors Confirm Death  of Young Lydia … BUT GOD!]

The visitors explained that for the last three days and nights, all of the women who had been involved in the procedure seemed to have gone mad. Some shrieked that they saw blood everywhere, even when sitting alone. Attempting to prepare meals, they would scream, again seeing blood, and throw the food out. Given water, they would do the same. Knives in hand, some were approaching children, explaining the youngsters' need for circumcision, and promising to do it carefully this time.

The visitors had become convinced God’s anger was at the source of the trouble in their homes. So they invited the imam of the local mosque to come to their houses and pray for healing (shifa). Part of the ritual involves the sprinkling of water that the imam has breathed on. When one of the women responded by knocking him over, he decided he’d had enough.

The men were faring no better, suffering nightmares, lack of sleep, and extreme anxiety. When they finally decided they must visit Lydia and Yoonus to ask their forgiveness, the imam and community leaders advised against it. In desperation, the men went anyway.

Fear gripped Yoonus’ household as they saw the group approaching their home. It looked like only more trouble. But the gentle humility of the visitors quickly disarmed them. They listened as the men described the chaos in their homes and begged for forgiveness.

Yoonus explained that forgiveness from God alone would heal their hearts and homes. They must confess their sins before Him, turn to the Lord Jesus who died for those sins, and then God would forgive and save them. He shared how the Lord Jesus Christ was born and lived as a holy and sinless man, but took all our sins as His own and suffered and was crucified on the cross of Calvary because of those sins. He then rose from the dead, and so redeemed humanity from sin and death.

“You will be saved and you will also be healed if you accept Him as your saviour and Lord,” he boldly told them.

They listened quietly and intently as he told his own story of coming to Christ. They then readily confessed their sins before Jesus and accepted Him as saviour and Lord.

Lydia also shared her remarkable experience of healing with them.

At that point, Yoonus and Lydia prayed for the men.  All heard the tones of a turtle dove, and felt a gentle breeze blow over them, as Lydia prayed.

After some tea served by Lydia's mother, the company left peacefully. Upon arrival at their homes, they marvelled that their wives had become completely normal, greeting them happily. By God’s grace, each hadhad been freed from the torment. Members of all the affected families together praised and thanked the Lord Jesus.

But the imam and the community aren’t pleased with this. Please pray for the Lord’s mighty protection over the new believers.

Doctors confirm death of young Lydia … BUT GOD!

raising-up2

Doctors this morning (West Africa time) confirmed the death of Lydia (14), the daughter of Yoonus, a Christian missionary with Bibles for Mideast in Africa. She had been in a coma for six days after being brutally subjected to female genital mutilation (FGM) by Muslim radicals on her way home from school  last week (see original story here). Brother Yoonus immediately contacted Pastor Paul Ciniraj, Director of Bibles for Mideast and Patron of the Assembly of Loving God.

An hour after Lydia’s death, workers removed her body from her hospital room. Her parents, brothers, sisters and other believers surrounded her, sobbing at the tragic loss of their beloved. Doctors, nurses and other hospital staff arrived to have a last look at young Lydia’s lifeless body, now draped in a white cloth.

Suddenly, someone noticed the fabric shaking. Could it be wind blowing in from outdoors? The trembling intensified, but now, clearly, the movement came from beneath the cloth.

Then, just as suddenly, Lydia herself threw off the white covering and stood from the bed. “Mummy, our Lord Jesus, our Lord and God Jesus Christ!” she exclaimed joyously.

“Ghost! Ghost!” someone screamed. A nurse and another hospital worker fainted to the floor. All, including the family, backed away in terror, believing a ghost had appeared.

“Mummy, I’m Lydia ... not a ghost,” Lydia reassured her mother. “I’m alive!  Jesus gave me my life back, and healed me! See, He’s just disappearing there on the clouds!” She pointed her finger towards the sky.

Her overjoyed mother embraced and kissed her repeatedly, praising the Lord Jesus. The rest of the family joined in, as the believers gathered round them sang and clapped ecstatically. Some even danced.

While hospital protocol forbad such rambunctious behaviour, no one dared utter a word … let alone of complaint. Amazed, the staff around the family simply had no idea what to do or say.

So Lydia continued with her story.

“My soul left my body and I was dead. Angels came to receive me to heaven. But Jesus appeared before me and said, ‘I cannot turn back from the prayers of my children. My eyes are upon my children and ears are open to their prayer. So I give you your life back, for the issues of death belong to me. You go,  and be my witness.’ Then he put his face right against and right into mine. He breathed into my nostrils, and my soul went in. Then he moved his nail-scarred hands over my body and healed me completely!”

Yoonus and his family, as well as Bibles for Mideast and the Assembly of Loving God Church thank each and every one of you who prayed for Lydia. Please keep the ministries in Africa, Asia and Middle East in your prayers always.

________________________________

Update on this story:  Jesus and Salvation in Lydia’s West African Town

At the sound of Jesus’ voice, militants toppled, guns blown from their hands

Haroon (not his real name) grew up in a prominent Muslim family of the Middle East. His father, a leading religious authority following the dictates of Sharia law, strictly regulated religious behavior in their state. 

“I was commanding a militant wing to protect the religion and taking immediate operations against its enemies,” explains Haroon, who had trained as a sharp shooter.

Early one morning several weeks ago, Haroon got word of a baptismal service to be held in the Arabian Sea.

“I picked up militants and rushed to the seashore,” he says. “We were 19 members in our wing for the operation.  Our ultimate aim was to kill everybody in the sea itself during the service. We wanted the world to wake up to this breaking news. We wanted Christians to fear Muslims and stop evangelizing them in our region.”

But the service had ended by the time they arrived. Seeing the bus full of Christians driving away, they opened fire. Within seconds, a giant dust storm formed in front of the militants’ vehicles, preventing them from moving forward.

“We all got out of our cars and continued shooting through the dust storm,” he says. “Suddenly, we saw Christ Jesus appear in the dust storm! He was angry and his eyes were like blazing fire. With a mighty voice he told us, ‘Why are you persecuting me; it’s hard for you to kick against the pricks’.”

“Oh, it was a terrible experience! His voice produced a strong wind and we all fell down on the road. Our guns flew away from us. Somehow we stood up from the road, but we were unable to say anything. Our voices were lost.”

Jesus spoke again to them. “I came to the world not to destroy anyone; but to save you. Go in peace.” He then disappeared, as did the dust.

Haroon says he and his fighters somehow felt both “terrible fear and an abundant peace” at the same time, something none of them had ever experienced.

When they recovered their voices, all but two of them began praising and thanking God. The two dissenters refused to believe God would do such a thing. Argument ensued, and the group left in confusion.

Haroon shared the experience with his father, who warned him not to tell anyone else. But he and the men he commanded could no longer pursue military activities.

A few days later, Haroon and his family headed to the desert for an evening bonfire. There, his sister Hajira was bitten by a highly poisonous Saharan horned viper and, near death, rushed to hospital. While in a coma she had a vision of an angel who explained to her the truth of Jesus—how He wanted to be both her healer and Savior.

When the angel disappeared she became conscious, and noticed her brother at her bedside. She shared the vision with him, and to her surprise found him receptive. Soon realizing they’d had similar experiences, the siblings prayed to Jesus to save and guide them.

Shortly afterward, Pastor Paul, Director of Bibles for Mideast, came to the hospital room. He explained to them that he too had been visited by the angel Hajira had seen, and been told to visit them in the hospital. He knew both their names. He explained to Haroon how he had been among the Christians Haroon’s troop had tried to attack that day of the dust storm.

“The Lord Jesus saved me and my group from your guns,” he explained. “He showed Himself as a mighty and wonderful Man, holding out His protecting and lovely hands towards us with a sweet smile. I was one among them and was leading the group.”

Brother and sister confessed their sins, and readily accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior. When Pastor Paul prayed over them, Hajira was totally healed.

Hajira’s healing made a believer of their father, and their whole family and 17 of the men who had witnessed the dust storm soon followed.

“We are praying for other two, and also for the Muslim world to be saved,” says Haroon.

Saharan snake bites Muslim woman, Jesus heals, family believes

Hajira (not her real name) grew up in a prominent Middle Eastern Muslim family. Her father, a top religious authority in their state, helped enforce the dictates of Sharia law, particularly those regarding religious matters.

She and her brother Haroon (not his real name), the only children of their mother, share other brothers and sisters by their father’s other wives. Her sharp-shooting brother commanded a militant Islamic wing intent on protecting the faith. The large extended family strictly followed Sharia law, and Hajira felt deeply loved by all of them.

Once a year, the family—with their cooks, drivers and servants—enjoyed setting off for the desert to enjoy a bonfire under the moonlight. This year they selected some nearby rocky hills for the gathering, Hajira told Bibles for Mideast. After the evening’s festivities, she felt like going on a little walk out further into the desert, and her siblings decided to join her. Their father and mothers remained near the bonfire with the servants.

saharan horned viper

saharan horned viper

While they walked, she suddenly felt something bite her leg. The siblings saw a big snake slither quickly away, then bury itself in the sand. Haroon grabbed his revolver, took aim, and killed it. It proved to be a Saharan horned viper, fairly common in the area but with highly toxic venom.

Within seconds Hajira became unconscious, and was rushed to hospital. She lay there four days in a coma. She remembers waking up briefly on the fourth day, in severe pain and unable to move. She heard the doctors discussing renal failure and increasing fibrinolysis. Her prognosis was grim.

“I gave up my hope and tried to prepare my mind for death,” she explained. “I turned my face to the wall and wept. I did not want others to see my tears. I prayed to God for a painless death in sleep.”

While she slept, she remembers an angel appearing before her and saying, ‘Call upon Jesus, the son of the Most High who was crucified, died for you, and rose from the dead.’

The words irritated her. “Prophet Jesus, the son of Mary?” she challenged the angel. “He was not crucified. And he was not greater than my prophet.”

 “You are wrong,” the angel replied.  “Jesus is the Lord of the prophets. He is the true savior. He can heal you from all sickness and save you from sin and death. Call upon Him with your heart, and with your mouth.”

The angel disappeared, and she woke up to see her brother standing beside her bed.

“Were you dreaming?” he asked her. “I heard you saying something about the prophet Jesus.”

She told him about the angel and what he had said, and was surprised when Haroon looked enthralled rather than angry.

She then learned of his own experience with Jesus in a dust storm, when he and his team of militants were intent on killing a group of Christians. He shared that remarkable incident with her (you can read it here), and brother and sister then joined hands and prayed.

 “Lord Jesus, if you are the true savior, show us the way,” Haroon began. “Jesus, if you are the true savior, forgive our sins.”

“Jesus, if you are the true savior, heal both our physical and mental sickness,” Hajira continued. “Jesus, if you are the true savior, send somebody to us for further guidance. Amen”.

“We prayed from our heart,” Hajira said. “While praying, both of our eyes overflew with tears.”

In about two hours, she said, two strangers came to her room unexpectedly. The senior person knew both her and her brother’s names.

“But we never met them before,” she said.  “Without any introduction he said, ‘Lord Jesus heard your prayers which you both prayed together. The angel who visited you appeared before me too and asked me to visit you, guide you to salvation and pray for you.’ At once I left my house to see you.”

The elder man introduced himself as Pastor Paul of Bibles for Mideast. He explained to them who Jesus is, why he was crucified and died. Hajira and her brother repented of their sins and accepted Jesus as their Lord and savior. Pastor Paul put his hands on Hajira’s head and prayed.

“Immediately I felt something extraordinary flowing through my veins,” she said. “I got up from the bed and knelt down on the floor. Yes, Lord Jesus totally healed my sickness and sealed me by His precious and victorious blood.”

She told the doctors Jesus had healed her. After thoroughly examining her, they accepted her recovery as miraculous. Seeing their precious Hajira restored to health, all her family members accepted Jesus as savior as well..

“Pray that our Lord Jesus protects us and gives us strength to survive persecutions,” she asks.

________________________________

The experience of Haroon (update on Dec 20):   At the sound of Jesus’ voice, militants toppled, guns blown from their hands.

Story of Oct. 02:  Heavenly dust storm protects newly-baptized from militant gunfire

The ministries of Bibles for Mideast operate on faith alone. 
We appreciate the support and prayers of the children of God. If you can help in any way, please see the bottom of our Contact Us page.

Woman from Hindu priestly family healed and saved by Jesus: now serves Him!

Elamma Antharjanam grew up in a Hindu Brahmin (priestly) family in India [Brahmin are the highest of the four Hindu castes; their traditional occupation being the spiritual guidance of people—Ed.] .  Her father Subrahmanyan Namboothiri was the head priest for 250 temples, and he and her mother married as children—child marriage being common then. Not until 30 years later did they have her, their only child, whom they named Saraswathi.

Saraswathi fanatically followed the tenets of Hinduism. She’d rise early each morning for the ritual bath in the temple pool, and then worship before the temple idols. As a young girl she even had her arm tattooed with images of Hindu deities.

Severe asthma plagued Saraswathi from childhood. None of the special treatments and potions or healing rituals her parents tried could ease their daughter’s suffering.

One day a woman named Kamalamma visited the family. She had converted from Hinduism to Christianity, and despite the persecution she endured from her own husband and community, she wanted to pray for teenaged Saraswathi. But the girl refused the prayers of a woman who could mean nothing but trouble, having abandoned Hinduism for foreign Jesus.

But the wheezing only got worse. During a particularly severe attack, she lost the ability to breathe and had to be rushed to hospital. And guess who visited her? Persistent, prayerful Kamalamma. This time, it was Saraswathi who requested prayer.

While the Christian woman prayed, Saraswathi became aware of a man standing before her. He had a small lamb straddling his left shoulder and a stick in his right hand. With a smile, he gently moved his hands over her head.

“Believe me my daughter,” the man said to her. “I am your Lord. The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply.” [Ps 16:4] She suddenly felt such relief!

Hindu tattoo cancelled out with the Word of God!

Hindu tattoo cancelled out with the Word of God!

The young woman needed no convincing of her need to confess her sinful ways and accept Jesus as her personal Savior and Lord. And the asthma completely left her.

She surrendered herself fully to Jesus, was baptized, and took on ‘Elamma’ as a new name. But she faced many persecutions from her family and community, who finally drove her away them. 

She married a Christian man, Jacob, and both were fully engaged in serving the Lord Jesus. He recently entered into glory but Elamma continues faithful in the Lord’s ministry as an associate with Bibles for Mideast. Please keep her and the ministry as a whole in your prayers.

Radical Muslim terrorist ‘terrified’ by the Light of Jesus now serves as pastor!

Rashid* had been one of the commanders in a group intent on converting as many as possible to Islam, and with the goal of bringing all nations under Islamic rule.

As the men strove fanatically toward these objectives, they began hearing of formerly strong Muslims who had converted to Christianity and worse, were now spreading the Gospel. So they appointed a special commando unit from among themselves to either convert these ‘infidels’ back to Islam, or wipe them from the face of the earth.

Rashid voluntarily took on leadership of the wing. As time went on, some of their terrorist operations succeeded.

They eventually heard about the work of Bibles for Mideast: how they boldly evangelized people—especially Muslims—in Asia, the Middle East and several third-world nations; how their leader was himself a former Muslim; how they distributed bibles in many languages and were forming underground house churches in various regions.

So they set about in earnest to formulate a plan to hunt down a Bibles for Mideast leader’s family in their area operations. If they could destroy his family and force him back into the Islamic fold, what a great weapon they would have in their war against Christianity.

So they devised a plan to attack and kill the family as they slept at night. But on arriving at their home, they saw what appeared to be gunmen surrounding the house and abandoned that plan.

They then learned from some of the children going to the same school as the leader’s children that since they lived in poverty with little to eat, they were always hungry.

“So we sent a woman with some poisoned fast food to give to the children,” Rashid recounts.  “But on the way, a dog bit her so seriously she couldn’t get the food to them.”

So they tried sending another woman with poisonous chocolates to give the young ones, thinking for sure this would kill them. All three children got sick, but the two boys recovered fairly quickly. The third, a young girl, ended up near death in hospital.

"I was watching with two others from an ambulance near the hospital,” Rashid explained. They planned to wait till they saw the family take the girl’s dead body from the hospital, at which point they would kidnap them all and speed away in the appropriated ambulance.

But nothing seemed to be happening. So they went into the hospital, found the girl’s room and quietly stood watch outside.

“Then I saw a ball of light came down from the sky and stand over the room,” Rashid remembers. “I saw a hand came out from the ball and stand her up. There was a hole in the middle of that hand and the blood was flowing down. I trembled with fear.” Overcome, he fell over and had to be whisked away by his fellow conspirators.

But he couldn’t sleep that night. Whenever he began to drift off, Rashid explained, he’d see the same hand, with blood flowing from it.

“Next night I saw a shadow of a human face appear behind the hand.” He said the face asked him, ‘Why are you nailing me?’

Rashid, utterly unnerved, feared telling his friends anything “because they would suspect me, and I would be killed."

He did however have a bible—for no other reason than to find verses to criticize Christianity and justify Islam. So he turned to it now with questions.

Opening it, he read: “That was the true Light which gives light to everyone coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world did not know Him.” (John 1:9-10)

 “I understood it was about Jesus,” he said with certainty. “And also, I knew that the ball of light that came from above to protect the sick girl was the same Jesus, who suffered crucifixion on the cross by the nailing of his hands and legs.”

Feeling unbearably burdened, he managed to locate Pastor Paul, Director of Bibles for Mideast, and confessed everything. Yet instead of being turned in to the police as Rashid expected, he was embraced with tears.

“When I was an enemy of Jesus Christ, He loved me, too,” Pastor Paul explained. “He was crucified, rose from the dead and gave His life for me. In His love I have to love you, because Christ loves you. I believe Jesus Christ Himself brought you here to share this love and salvation. Jesus is the Prince of Peace, and He gives you peace. Accept Him as your Savior.”

And Rashid did! Soon after he was baptized and now walks and serves in all the gifts of the Holy Spirit. As a leader and anointed pastor within Bibles for Mideast he, alongside his wife, lives to evangelize others.

________________________
Name changed for security reasons

Formerly Muslim doctor now evangelizes, plants churches AND treats patients

Living in one of the most unreached places in the world, devout Muslim Sanjay's whole life changed when he was healed from cancer.

Growing up as a devout Muslim, Sanjay gave his life to Jesus and now, despite persecution, shares the gospel with everyone he meets. Since his conversion, Sanjay has led hundreds to faith in Jesus and planted 50 small house churches for believers with Muslim backgrounds.

Sanjay's journey to faith started when he was in hospital in Kolkata, India, having chemotherapy.

"I was crying, and the one name that I did not want to believe in came back to me again and again – the name of Jesus," he says. "I was so weak and so sick. So I prayed to the Lord Jesus and said, 'will you heal me?'"

Slowly, Sanjay began to feel better. Knowing that something had changed, he returned to the hospital for tests and discovered the cancer was gone. He was healed. "I saw that only Jesus can save my life," he says, "nobody else can." Realising that it was Jesus who restored his health, Sanjay gave his life to Christ and got baptised.

West Bengal, where Sanjay lives, is one of the least evangelised places on the planet. When he discovered Jesus was real, Sanjay started preaching the gospel in his Muslim village and telling everyone he could about Christ. It was not well received.

"My family threw me out. They said, 'we want nothing to do with you. Since you have Jesus you can just go away.'" Other people began plotting against him. "They decided to break into my doctor's office where patients used to come and see me," he says.

doctor.jpg

Sanjay was afraid, and he prayed to God for protection. God acted, leading Sanjay's mother to have compassion on him and to let him come back home.

For years, Sanjay has been persecuted by many in his community for sharing the gospel. But he just won't stop. As well as working as a doctor, Sanjay has dedicated his life to serve as an evangelist and a church planter.

He has found a way to forgive those who persecuted him, as God forgave him. And now, miraculously, those who once attacked him come to him for medical care.

"People who persecuted me for many years got tired. They said, 'the more we tell him not to speak, the more he goes out and preaches'," says Sanjay. "People who wanted to throw me out, now they bring their patients to me and say, 'we're so sorry'."

Having already planted 50 churches for Muslim background believers, Sanjay shows no signs of slowing down – he is keen to press on with his ministry.

"Apart from Jesus there is no life," he says. "I am even more excited to tell others what Jesus has done. Every day I want to live for my Lord and keep on doing what I'm doing. Please pray that I can do more in the days to come."