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.

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*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.

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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!"

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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)

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*Names changed for security reasons