Terrorists JOIN church after Jesus terrorizes their plan to burn it down!

Report from Bibles for Mideast and an ALG Church in the Middle East

Ibrani*, a young man born and brought up in an orthodox Muslim family in a Middle Eastern kingdom, had always strictly followed the rituals and principles of Islam. 

A sister he was close to and loved very much had become Christian two years ago through the ministry of Bibles for Mideast. Her husband and children also joined the Kingdom of Jesus, and all were baptized and became members of an ALG Church. They evangelized whenever possible and brought others to faith in Christ.

Ibrani tried his level best to bring his sister and her family back to Islam. But they would explain to him how they now knew that Jesus was not only a great prophet (as all Muslims believe), but the Living Lord and Son of the Most High God. Jesus was born to the Virgin Mary as a sinless man to take away the sins of all humanity, they told him. His crucifixion on the cross of Calvary served to take away the penalty of sin. He died and rose from the dead on the third day. Only by believing in and accepting Him as Lord and Savior could he be free and attain salvation, they assured him. They even invited him to meet their pastor and attend a worship service, letting him know where and when the church met.

Ibrani would have none of it. He became their sworn enemy and determined to free his region of the scourge of the Christians and their church. Joining up with a group of militants, he formulated a plan to attack the believers and destroy their meeting place. His father, mother, brothers and other sisters all offered him their total support.

The plot entailed pouring petrol on the church during a worship service, then setting it alight in hopes of burning the place down. They received the backing of both local and religious police—who it turns out already knew about the church, but hadn’t yet been able to determine where it met. The religious police in particular were delighted with the new information.

Ibrani and the team collected the petrol in a large container, which Ibrani kept in his own house. They planned to carry out the attack as the church met for Sunday worship last week. 

Around midnight Saturday, the men noticed a fire develop over the petrol jar, and watched in horror as it began spreading to the parts of the house near it. They screamed to waken Ibrani’s family sleeping in other rooms. All woke immediately and ran to safety.

Suddenly, to their astonishment, a man appeared from within the fire.

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"I am the Lord of Heaven and Earth,” he told them with calm authority. “I dwell in the light which no one can come near.

“I am also the burning fire. I can finish you off now, for I am the author of life and death. But I didn’t come to the world to destroy, but to redeem each of you from sin and death. I died for you on the cross of Calvary, and I rose from the dead. Believe in me and follow me. You will have salvation and eternal life."

He then disappeared as quickly as he had materialized, and the burning fire subsided as well. No one doubted that the Jesus Ibrani's sister had told him about had just visited them. They prostrated themselves, foreheads to the ground, convinced now in the Truth of the message she had shared.

While the church had met for prayer and fasting on Friday, the pastor had had a revelation and three members had prophesied about a great tribulation coming to the church. The prophecies warned them to move their meeting place immediately to somewhere far away, even showing them where exactly to go. It turns out the religious police intended to arrest the pastor and church members that Sunday if  the militants’ plans failed.

Ibrani's family members and his band of (former!) militants contacted Ibrani's sister and brother-in-law the same night of their visitation. They met together with the pastor, and shared what all had happened. The pastor taught them more about Jesus and the gospel throughout the night. Everyone accepted Jesus as their personal savior and Lord.

As morning dawned, they all freshened themselves up and travelled to the new worship location for Sunday service. Once there, they openly declared their new faith in Jesus and joined in worship with the believers. The church rejoiced in the Lord for HIS amazing works.

Please pray for the new believers, the pastor and his church, all the churches in the Middle East and the entire ministry of Bibles for Mideast and the Assembly of Loving God Church as we keep marching forward with the Gospel of Love and Life.

_________________________
*
Name changed for security reasons

Exciting update: entire Muslim village now Christian!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

________________
* Names changed for security reasons

Ministry leader attacked by radical Muslims released from hospital; his main attacker and family now Christians!

Pastor Peter Haneef, President of the ALG (Assembly of Loving God)* is now home, with medical orders for a month of bed rest. 

We had reported on his attack earlier (Brutal attack on ALG Church leader Pastor Peter Haneef and family in Bangladesh) as well as an astonishing update a week later (Boy’s dramatic dream of wounded lamb leads to salvation of his Islamic terrorist father).

The following is excerpted from Pastor Peter’s letter of thanks.

“Dear co-pastors and friends in our Lord:

“Glory to the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I am thankful to the Lord for you and all the prayer warriors of Bibles for Mideast and the ALG Church…. I did not even think of coming back to life, for the attack by radical Muslims was so brutal and I was about to die. My wife and children also suffered with me. I was prepared to meet my Lord at any time. But now I know it is His will that I should live on in the flesh some more time and make fruits for the Lord from my labour.

“Also I thank Pastor Paul, Pastor John, sister Susanna and all the fellow labourers of our Lord…. May our Lord reward you all for your spiritual and physical helps and for your kind blessings.

“I am now back from the hospital. Doctors advised me to take complete bed rest for a month. No doubt it is hard for me. But also I think it is good that I have been afflicted, that I may have more time to pray for the salvation of unsaved people and to learn the statutes of my Lord Jesus Christ. Once again I and my family surrender ourselves before the Lord and we decided to serve Him better till the end of our lives.

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“Our Lord has saved the chief person of my attackers and his whole family from sin and death. But they are facing persecutions and were forcibly expelled from their house by the local Muslim community. The members of our  church have given them refuge and are helping them. He and his children have a great desire to become missionaries of our Lord among Muslims and are praying for that.  Offer your continuous prayers for them please.

“May the grace of our Father, the love of Jesus Christ and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

With love and prayers,
Your fellow labourer in His service,
Pastor Peter H."

__________________
*The ALG is the umbrella organization for all Bibles for Mideast churches.

PLEASE KEEP PRAYING FOR THE PROTECTION OF ALL MISSIONARIES AND WORKERS FOR JESUS IN THE RESTRICTED AREAS OF OUR WORLD

Boy’s dramatic dream of wounded lamb leads to salvation of his Islamic terrorist father

Report from Bibles for Mideast and the ALG Church

After a brutal attack by Islamic extremists last week, Pastor Peter Haneef (President of the ALG Church), by God’s grace and the prayers of His people, is recovering. He had been ministering in Bangladesh when, in the middle of the night, radicals burst into the place where he and his young family were staying (Brutal attack on ALG Church leader Pastor Peter Haneef and family in Bangladesh).

Underground church members rushed him first to a nearby hospital where he was refused admission, then transported him hours away to another hospital.  With several broken bones and severe blood loss, he had by then lost consciousness. In need of major surgery, believers donated blood and stayed on hand to pray him through the operation. They rented a room in a neighboring lodge and began a prayer vigil. Pastor Paul of Bibles for Mideast arrived at the hospital to visit with Pastor Peter and his family, later joining with the others for all-night prayer at the lodge.  

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In the meantime, Khani*—who had led the attack on Pastor Peter and his family—began having serious troubles at home. His 16-year-old son dreamt one night that a joyful little lamb entered their house, but his father grabbed a knife and tried to kill it. Injured, the lamb managed to escape.

Within a few minutes, the boy saw a mob of giants—resembling an army from some other planet—hurry towards their house.  Furious and with round, reddish eyes, they breathed fire from their mouths and nostrils. They clearly intended to destroy the whole village, particularly his house and every one in it with some kind of strange, extraordinary weapon, the boy marvelled. The wounded lamb appeared instantaneously and stood between the monstrous army and his house. Alone, it successfully fought off the angry giants. It then gazed mournfully at the boy’s household before disappearing. He couldn’t help noticing blood oozing from its wounds.

When the dream ended, Khani’s son got up. Still reeling from what he saw, he began begging his father to get back the little lamb. “Why did you persecute and try to kill it?” he asked angrily. “It was coming to save us! Bring it back please!”

His father, mother and others in the home had no idea what he was talking about. They finally realized he must have had a disturbing dream and tried to calm him. But the boy’s pleas only intensified. Now shaking uncontrollably, he began screaming for the lamb. His fever rose dangerously throughout the day; by evening his concerned parents took him to hospital. Pneumonia began setting in but doctors could find no reason nor offer any relief. Within two days his legs were paralyzed.  Their imam visited the boy and prayed over him, but nothing changed.

A few neighboring women came to visit the sick boy in hospital. Two were secret believers, attending an underground ALG Church in the area and taking part in prayer and fasting services when they could.  They explained to the boy’s mother that his ailments must be due to what his father and the other attackers had done to the innocent pastor. “Go and see the pastor,” they advised her.  “Confess before him so your son can be cured.”

The boy’s mother implored her husband to go find the pastor as soon as possible, for their son’s sake. Khani however had no idea whether the man had survived, and if he did, where he might be. But his wife wouldn’t give up her desperate pleas. If he went to where the church leader had been staying and he was no longer there, others nearby would know something, she felt certain. But Khani remained uneasy, especially about the prospect of facing the pastor and his people. The secretly Christian women insisted he had nothing to be concerned about.

“They are such loving people,” they assured him. “They teach God’s love only and never stay angry. If you see them, they will pray for your son and he will be healed.”

Within seconds, Khani left the hospital to go to where the pastor had been staying. Several church members were meeting for prayer there with Pastor John Asghar, a Bibles for Mideast minister who had stepped in to lead while Pastor Peter recovered.

Fear gripped the believers when they saw Khani … until he began to speak. He politely and humbly asked them about Pastor Peter, then burst into tears like a child.  At Pastor John’s request, he explained everything. The pastor told him about the major surgery ongoing, necessary due to the attack.

Absolutely miserable by now, Khani asked forgiveness of all of them. Pastor John and the others invited him to sit with them for prayer. As they began to pray for his son, they felt Holy Spirit moving mightily. Pastor John heard the Lord tell him to go with Khani to see his boy in the hospital. 

He then explained why and how the Lord Jesus was crucified, died and rose from the dead. He shared his testimony of converting to Christianity from Islam, and how Pastor Peter converted [that story here: From radical Islamic murderer to ardent leader in the Kingdom of Jesus].

“If you accept Jesus as your personal savior and Lord, He will surely save you and your family from sin and death,” he assured Khani. “Certainly your son will be cured by the healing power of Jesus Christ.”  

Khani went along with what they said, and did as they suggested, but apparently not fully convinced.  Led by the Holy Spirit, the pastor and three of the other believers accompanied him to visit the boy in hospital. They found him lying sedated and motionless.  

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Pastor John took out his Bible and read Isaiah 53. They all then sang several verses of a song before joining hands to pray over the boy. As they did, his legs began shaking intensely and he opened his eyes. He tried to sit up, so the men reached out to help him.

“The little lamb came to me again and washed me with the blood coming out of its wounds!” he exclaimed. “After that, it transformed into a man with blood-stains on his hands, chest and legs. Then he told me he is Jesus Christ, and was crucified on the cross of Calvary, died and rose from the dead for my salvation. He asked me to believe in him as my Lord and Savior. Then he disappeared.” The boy rose from his bed and took a few steps, his legs now fully functional. “I believe Lord Jesus Christ!” he cried.

Khani stood dumbfounded. Weeping now, he reached out to embrace Pastor John. “Forgive me for my unbelief!” he exclaimed. “Now I fully believe in Jesus Christ and I accept Him as my Lord and Savior.”

The third day after his son’s dramatic healing, Khani and his family attended Sunday worship at Pastor Peter’s church (currently led by Pastor John).  He shared his testimony, and immediately afterwards, his wife and their other children joined him in accepting Jesus as Savior and Lord. Once the meeting ended, he and his family made the long drive to visit Pastor Peter in hospital.

Khani reached out to gently touch the injured pastor’s legs and begged forgiveness.

“My dear brother,” Pastor Peter replied. He then invited the former terrorist to sit by his side and prayed for him. 

Khani says that he will share his experiences with his friends, and hopes to convince them of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice for the salvation of all. This will be a dangerous undertaking, so please pray for his protection and success.

Please also pray for Pastor Peter’s complete recovery; that he will be strengthened by the Holy Spirit to lead the church even more powerfully than ever. Keep the believers and other workers in your prayers as well.

_____________
*pseudonym

Brutal attack on ALG Church leader Pastor Peter Haneef and family in Bangladesh

(June 18, 2018)  Pastor Peter Haneef (President of the ALG Church) and his family were brutally attacked by a mob of Muslim extremists in a village in Bangladesh last night. Pastor Haneef leads several underground Bibles for Mideast churches, all in predominantly Muslim areas. The village where the attack happened lies about 180 miles from Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh.  

Pastor Peter baptising a new believer

Pastor Peter baptising a new believer

He had been ministering in a 25-member church, holding a baptismal service after Sunday morning worship and communion. An entire formerly-Muslim family had been baptised. When news of the baptism leaked out, enraged Muslim extremists set their sights on killing the family. Fortunately news of that leaked to Pastor Peter, who managed to move them safely to another location. Further incensed, the mob turned its focus on finishing off the pastor and his family, staying with him nearby.

Discovering their whereabouts, the attackers arrived at night while the family slept. Hearing people at the door, Pastor Peter—thinking it may be an emergency since he knew an elderly woman in the village had been sick—went to investigate. The attackers, armed with bricks and steel pipes, forced their way in and lunged at him. When his wife tried to intervene they turned on her. Their young children were by then wide awake and tried to get between their parents. The mob angrily flung them away. As the pastor tried to protect his wife and children, the extremists charged at him even more fiercely.

All suffered injuries, but Pastor Peter bore the full brunt of the mob’s fury and obviously needed medical attention. When church members attempted to get him admitted to a nearby facility, he was refused—by order of the police, who supported the attackers. So they rushed him to a hospital in a town many hours away.  By the time they got there he was in critical condition, having lost so much blood. At last report, he remains unconscious. 

Fanatic Muslims in the area want nothing more than to destroy the local church and get the new Christian believers back into Islam … or else. But the believers stand strong in their faith.

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Pastor Peter, President of the Assembly of Loving God (ALG) Church is himself a former Muslim. Please pray for him—especially right now for his full recovery—and for the protection of all those he ministers to.

_________________
You can read more about Pastor Haneef’s journey into Christianity here: From radical Islamic murderer to ardent leader in the Kingdom of Jesus.

AMAZING UPDATE!
Boy’s dramatic dream of wounded lamb leads to salvation of his Islamic terrorist father

 

The power of friendship evangelism and healing prayers in the Middle East!

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

Born into a large Muslim Arab family in the Middle East, Aslam Shukkoor* firmly believed the only way to live properly and make your way to heaven was to follow the strict rules of radical Islam. He devoutly practiced his faith and followed its teachings. He never allowed non-Muslims even to visit his house.  He also made a good living owning date plantations and fuel stations.

He and his wife had three boys and three girls, all well-behaved, intelligent children. When the oldest son reached 15, a mysterious illness struck. It began with fever and body pain, then progressed to severe weakness in his legs until he became completely bedridden.  Aslam took him to several super-specialist hospitals, but doctors could not diagnose the cause of his ailments. Every treatment they tried failed, and within two months, the young man died.  

When the second son reached 15, the same disorder began to plague him. The imam of the local mosque told the family it must be because of an ancestral curse. So they invited a number of famous Muslim priests to pray for the children and all in the household. But nothing improved. Someone suggested to Aslam that their house surely had strong demons living in it, drinking the children’s blood one by one. So they decided to move to an area far away.

Bibles for Mideast gospel team sharing with locals

Bibles for Mideast gospel team sharing with locals

Several missionaries of Bibles for Mideast working in that region, on hearing of the tragedy in Aslam’s family, decided to go visit them.

“We are Christians,” they boldly announced at his gate. “Our Lord Jesus Christ is the living savior. He was crucified, died and rose from the dead. He is able to heal the sick and cast out all demons. If you allow it, may we see your sick son and pray for him and for the rest of your family?”

Aslam would have none of it.

“You kafirs!” he shouted [a derogatory expression for anyone not believing in Islam—Ed.] “How dare you come to my house?  We don’t need your prayers. Allah is merciful. We know he hears our prayers. Get away from my house before I call the police!”

The missionaries attempted to leave a sample gospel with him. Yelling again, he grabbed it from them before tearing it to pieces and throwing it in a nearby waste basket.

Aslam and his wife decided to take their second son, now in debilitating pain, to another country for, they hoped, better treatment. Unfortunately, he too died.

Soon afterwards, they boarded a plane for the flight home, bringing their son’s lifeless body back for burial. Another Arab couple, who ‘just happened’ to be members of an ALG (Assembly of Loving God) church, sat across from them.

They could easily see how distressed Aslam and his wife were—she weeping inconsolably and he trying his best to comfort her in the name of Allah. They obviously and palpably worried about their other children as well.

The Christian Arab couple gently questioned them, and learned they were travelling home with the body of their second dead son. They sympathized and consoled in such a kindly way that the Muslim couple soon considered them trustworthy friends. Aslam shared all they had gone and were going through.

The Christian woman related to them her own family’s unfortunate experiences and how the Lord Jesus Christ—through the prayers of Christian missionaries—had saved them. “If you believe in Jesus and pray in faith, he will certainly help you to overcome the problems. Our own lives are witnesses to that,” she assured them. She and her husband then shared the message of the gospel.

Aslam and his wife grew increasingly irritated.

“Islam is the most holy and true religion in the world,” Aslam let them know with certainty. “Prophet Mohammed is the true messenger of Allah. Prophet Jesus is only a human being and lower than Prophet Mohammed. Whatever Allah wills, he does. Though we are sad about our children, we know it is Allah’s will. We obey him and his truth. So our advice to you is not to become kafir.”

In spite of the tension, the four remained friendly for the rest of the flight. The Christian couple helped the bereaved parents at the airport, and even accompanied them as they took their son’s corpse back to their house.

The relationship continued to blossom as the weeks went on, discussions often centering on religion. The church couple naturally kept up their attempts to convince their new friends of the need for salvation.

It wasn’t many months before the Muslim couple’s third son came down with the dreaded illness. The Arab Christians decided to visit them, accompanied by the same Bibles for Mideast missionaries Aslam had ‘thrown out’ few years earlier. Aslam recognized them but said nothing about it. He simply invited them within the gates of his property and offered them seats in the yard.

The Christian woman they’d met on the plane went inside the house, where Aslam’s wife introduced her to her sick son and the couple’s other children. The woman again tried to explain the all-importance of prayer in Jesus’ name.

Aslam’s wife then called her husband inside. She asked him to invite the missionaries in as well, and allow them to pray for the boy. He agreed!

Poor former Muslim woman reading Bible

Poor former Muslim woman reading Bible

Once inside and before praying, the Bibles for Mideast workers related their own dramatic stories of moving from Islam to Christianity. All listened intently, and continued to as the missionaries went on to share the gospel.

“I believe in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior!” they suddenly heard from the sick boy’s room. “I believe He will heal me and deliver me and others of my house from this strange trouble. Please pray for me.”

So of course the missionaries did. As they laid their hands on his head and prayed, the young fellow explained later how he felt a man’s hands gently touch his whole body. He also sensed a horrible smell leave his body and then, a beautiful aroma totally enveloped him. Finally, he caught a glimpse of the hands and saw what looked like scars in them.

Immediately, all the pain vanished. He shook his legs and found them stronger. When he tried to put them on the floor, he found to his delight they worked! He began walking and running around as everyone else watched in amazement. Only moments later, all believed in Jesus as their personal savior and Lord.

Praying in an underground church

Praying in an underground church

Since then, no sickness has come near that family. They now regularly attend an underground Assembly of Loving God (ALG) church and worship the Lord Jesus Christ in Spirit and truth.

Please pray for them as well as all missionaries, staff and believers of Bibles for Mideast and the growing ALG churches.

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­____________________________
Name changed for security reasons

Freedom for Middle East missionaries imprisoned for evangelizing; healing and salvation for fellow prisoners!

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

Pastor Zakkir of Bibles for Mideast labored long, hard and secretively in one of the most restrictive countries in the Middle East, as we reported last year in our story From Islamic enforcer and Christian killer to underground church leader: a modern-day Muslim Saul.

After his dramatic conversion, he had been pastoring an underground ALG (Assembly of Living God) church and taking care of a number of persecuted Christians who had converted from Islam. He lived with and was training seven young men in how to effectively evangelize in the Middle East.
 
About seven months ago, he and his team headed out to evangelize and distribute gospel tracts and bibles in a particularly dangerous area. They shared with many Muslims in the region and on returning home, sat down to intercede for the salvation of those they'd reached out to. 

As they prayed, a group of policemen and angry locals barged in on them, brandishing guns. They brutally attacked Zakkir and the team, burned their bibles and gospel literature along with their clothes and other items. While the men who’d accompanied the police aimed to kill the Christians, fortunately the officers decided to 'only' arrest them. They were whisked away to a religious court for trial and sentenced to prison for blasphemy and proselytizing.

When thrown into a common cell with notorious criminals and murderers, their real trials began. For over a month they faced cruel torture by jail wardens and relentless, often violent harassment from fellow prisoners. Yet they report now they felt the ever-present love of the Lord Jesus Christ. Compared to what He endured for us, they explain, their sufferings amounted to nothing.

Inside a Mddle Eastern jail cell

Inside a Mddle Eastern jail cell

On first arriving at their cell, they immediately knelt down and prayed in the name of Jesus. Seeing this, other prisoners beat them and made it clear they were not to ever pray like this. So the men resorted to waiting till the others were sound asleep, then join hands in fervent worship and prayer. They figure the Lord must have induced deep sleep in their fellow prisoners, just to allow His children to worship Him in spirit, truth and safety. They prayed especially for their jailers and cellmates.
 
One day a man imprisoned for murdering three people developed severe chest pains and began vomiting blood.  He had been the one encouraging others to torture the gospel team members. 

“Shall we pray to Jesus for your healing?” Pastor Zakkir asked him.

“No!” he replied. “You cannot pray for me in that name and I do not want to hear that name again!” 

When his vomiting resumed even more severely, the man, now exhausted, thought he was going to die.

“Shall we pray for you?” Zakkir inquired again. ”Jesus is the mighty healer and He will heal you and will give you life, for which we are the witness.”

The criminal didn’t turn down the offer this time. So the pastor touched his head and prayed over him. The other team members laid their hands on him as well, joining in the prayers.

His stomach settled down immediately, as did his chest pains. Leaping to his feet as if absolutely nothing had been wrong, he marvelled that he'd felt something like an electric current flow through his body when the men prayed.

Others in the cell were equally stunned by his swift relief. The atmosphere in the cell soon transformed as the convicts grew friendly and accommodating. The missionaries could now freely pray as and when they wanted.

Furthermore, when any prisoner felt sick, depressed or upset, he'd now ask for prayer and find rapid, remarkable relief. One by one the convicted murderers, rapists, thieves and other outlaws joined the gospel workers in their times of prayer. Without the jail wardens or officers knowing, the whole cell resembled an underground church each night, with praise, worship and prayers rising to the heavens. 

Zakkir and his team related their own stories of salvation to the others, and the pastor shared the gospel message. Each and every prisoner confessed his many sins before Jesus Christ, and readily accepted Him as personal savior and Lord. They agreed that if released from jail, they too would become witnesses of Jesus to others.
 
Three months ago, a new officer took charge of the prison. Apparently trying particularly hard to prove he was tough and up to the task of controlling those in his charge, he behaved harshly towards prisoners. He could not figure out, however, why the men in this one particular cell actually seemed calm and happy. They behaved well and kindly to each other and even more surprising, when beaten or tortured, responded with “Praise the Lord!” Keeping a close eye on them, he discovered it was all because of the prayers of the gospel team members. So after two weeks, he moved Pastor Zakkir and his team into a separate cell.
 
And he continued to watch them. One night, as soon as he heard them praying, the officer entered their quarters. The gospel workers’ initial fear turned to wonder as he walked unthreateningly towards them and sat down. He then opened up about his own life. He had studied at a western university, he explained, and while there, had many Christian friends. Through their influence, he learned about the sacrifice of Jesus and had even accepted Him as his personal savior. He attended worship and prayer services with his Christian buddies and had numerous experiences with God at the time.

But on returning to his homeland after studies, he joined the government services and lost all Christian fellowship. He did however still begin his day reading the bible and secretly prayed to Jesus both morning and night.

Now, he eagerly joined with the evangelists in prayer. He asked each of them to share their testimonies, which they of course did. The men continued in worship and prayer till dawn. From then on, the officer interceded with them every night. With his help the prisoners in the team's previous cell continued their prayers as well.
 
Since the new, secretly-Christian officer held sway in higher circles within the prison system, he took the initiative in securing their release from jail, with one condition: they must leave their native land.

Agreeing to this, the evangelists were freed from jail several days ago. Before departing, Pastor Zakkir asked two of the prisoners to lead in regular prayer services in the jail, as the Lord Himself would lead him. The Christian prison officer offered his full support to this. 

Worshippers in an underground church

Worshippers in an underground church

The officer then made arrangements for Pastor Zakkir and his brave team of seven to leave the country. They are now safe with Bibles for Mideast pastors in another region, and continuing ministry there.

Please pray for them and the entire ministry, all ministers and believers of Bibles for Mideast and the ALG Church, and the ministry as a whole. Pastor Zakkir and his team also want to sincerely thank all who prayed for them over these challenging yet God-ordained seven months.

Healings, salvations and a new underground church in South Asian village

Report: Bibles for Mideast and the ALG Church

Naseema*, 22, grew up the only child of poor Muslim parents in a village in South Asia. To support the family, her mother prepared snacks and bakery items at home which her father peddled door-to-door, balancing the food items in a large basket on his head.

As a brilliant and active little six-year-old, Naseema loved going to school. That being a fair distance from home, one of her parents would generally take her there and back.

One day when neither was able to accompany her, she made the trek home by herself. The youngster arrived back breathless, shivering and terrified. She managed to explain to her parents she had been running for her life from a stray dog who had chased her most of the way. She didn’t seem to have been bitten, but when the shaking increased and she developed a fever, her parents rushed her to hospital.  

She was admitted and as the night wore on, her fever and seizures increased, She became weaker and weaker and while wanting to speak, could not. Doctors were mystified at what might be plaguing her.  They began suspecting perhaps she had polio, or hemorrhaging in her brain, but were never able to definitively diagnose her illness. Soon she could no longer sit up, unable to balance her head or body, and became completely bedridden.

Her parents invested all of the little income they had for treatment and even hope for help. They invited many religious leaders of Islam to come and pray over her. They visited countless Muslim pilgrimage sites to offer vows and prayers for her healing. This went on for sixteen years.

Last year, Pastor Ishaq* of Bibles for Mideast—who regularly ministers in the region and had heard about the sick young woman—visited the family with his gospel team. He asked permission to pray for her, but her parents, dedicated Muslims, would not allow it. Christians were hated enemies, after all. The team left a sample gospel outside the house as they left.

A month later they were back. This time, the parents practically exploded in anger and forbade them from seeing Naseema. When the missionaries returned a third time, neighboring Muslims began gathering around, brandishing sticks, weapons and challenging questions.

“We have just come to pray for Naseema,” Pastor Ishaq answered them gently. “We believe our Lord Jesus Christ can heal her. For the word of God says that Jesus Christ was crucified, died and rose from the dead to save all human beings. It also says that by His wounds we are healed. So we believe that prayer in Jesus' name can heal Naseema.”

Hearing the name of Jesus, the crowd erupted in rage and rushed to attack. Pastor Ishaq and his team fled, the angry neighbors in hot pursuit. With God’s help they managed to escape safely … and of course they kept up their regular intercession for Naseema, her parents and the neighbors.

Not long ago, Naseema’s father met misfortune while out selling his wares. As he attempted to cross a busy road a car ran into him, knocking him down and scattering his basketful of food. The driver ignored the man he had just injured and kept driving.

Pastor Ishaq and his assistant ‘just happened’ to be by the same roadside and witnessed the accident. They rushed to help the hurt man get off the road, and administered first aid. Only then did the pastor recognize the man as Naseema’s father. He wanted to take him to hospital, but the father pleaded to be taken home instead. So the pastor hired a three-wheeled rickshaw and brought him to the family’s home. As they traveled, he talked of the love of Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on the cross.

“It is because of His love that we love you and are praying for you,” he explained. This time the man seemed to be listening. 

When they reached the family’s house and Naseema’s mother heard about the accident, the missionaries were warmly welcomed inside. The parents even invited the pastor and his assistant to pray for Naseema, and for them as well. After praying, Pastor Ishaq offered to hold three days of prayer and fasting in the house if the family agreed to it, and they readily did.

On hearing of the plan, Pastor Paul travelled 18 hours by train and 5 hours by bus to take part. On the very first day, a recent Thursday, Naseema had a vision of Jesus while the team prayed. She felt Him touch her head with His nail-pierced hands, she explained later. At the time however, all she could do was open her mouth and say, “Jesus is my Lord!” She had hardly moved and had not been able to speak for years. All were beyond astonished.

When she asked for assistance sitting up, Pastor Paul stepped forward to help and for the first time in 16 years Naseema could balance both her head and body and sit upright on her own. As the group began singing and praising, she clapped her hands in joy.  

News of the miracle began to spread. The next day, one of the neighboring families joined in the prayer and fasting.  By the third day, two more families and some other Muslim individuals had come along to take part.

When the pastors shared the message of gospel, all accepted Jesus as their personal savior and Lord.  On the fourth day, a Sunday, Pastor Paul conducted a worship service in the home and planted a new house church on the spot.

in another part of south Asia, worshippers gather outside their own 'house church'

in another part of south Asia, worshippers gather outside their own 'house church'

During the service, Naseema stood up from her bed, walked towards the others, sat on the floor and listened intently. Soon filled with the Holy Spirit, she began dancing before Jesus as the worship continued.

Since then, others have begun attending Sunday worship services at the new house church. Naseema's father has also completely recovered from his accident. Unfortunately, many other Muslims have begun persecuting the new believers.

Please pray for Naseema, her parents, the newly-saved people, Pastor Ishaq, his gospel team and other believers in the region. Also keep the ministries of Bibles for Mideast and the Assembly of Loving God (ALG) Church in your prayers.

____________________________
names changed for security reasons

Astonishing power of prayer: Jesus saves Muslim man from pirates and jaws of death at sea

Report: Bibles for Mideast and an underground ALG Church in east Africa

Gainful employment being as scarce as rain and healthy crops in Milad’s* drought-stricken east African country, many, including his family, struggled to survive.  As the eldest of nine children in an orthodox Muslim family, when an offer to work on a ship came along, he gladly accepted. At last he could help provide for his parents and siblings.

Not till he joined his new employers onboard did he realize the ‘work’ involved attacking and robbing ships. They were pirates! When he tried to abandon ship they wouldn’t allow him, and when he told them he had no intention of working for them, they bound his hands and legs with steel chains. He became a slave to the pirates, freed only when they found their next target of attack. They knew that if he got away, their secrets and information on who they were would escape with him. 

Armed Somali pirates preparing to attack a ship (AFP/GETTY IMAGE)

Armed Somali pirates preparing to attack a ship (AFP/GETTY IMAGE)

One evening they attempted to rob a ship full of valuable merchandise in the Indian Ocean. The vessel’s strong security force fought back, and a fierce gun battle ensued. When a bullet hit Milad in his left shoulder, he jumped into the sea to save himself.

As he tried to swim to safety, a giant fish suddenly darted through the dark waters towards him. Whether a shark or a whale he couldn’t tell, but he could see its wide-open mouth ready to finish him off. Just as he felt himself sucked into the creature’s mouth, a strange reflection … a bright image of what appeared to be a man, but somehow in the shape of a cross ... appeared on and through the water. It was like it came down from above and both reflected off of, and pierced, the dark water. He noticed what looked like blood stains on the luminous image. He felt himself being pulled away from the gaping jaws, and then helped safely to shore.

By this point, late at night, bedraggled and alone, all Milad knew was that some supernatural power had saved him from certain death. But what could it have been? Looking around in the darkness, seeing no one, fear quickly overtook him. He sat down by the sea shore, his mind and emotions churning, his heart heavy.

As only God could arrange it, members of an underground ALG church in Africa were engaged in an all-night prayer vigil some miles inland from where Milad sat. Pastor Abu* had gathered believers at his ‘prayer shed’ for the night watch [more on that prayer shed in our earlier story about Pastor Abu and his ministry here: Miraculous multiplication of faith, food and believers in east Africa].

As they prayed, his wife had a vision of the Lord Jesus saving someone from pirates and a giant fish, and that the man, named Milad, was now sitting at the sea shore gripped with terror. She shared her revelation with the prayer group. Two others (including Hydrus, the former Muslim whose radical salvation we also relate in the story mentioned above) received the same vision. One even prophesied they were to go get him and ‘pick him up’ for the Lord’s work.

light on dark ocean more contrast2.jpg

As they continued praying, Pastor Abu also prophesied about the fellow on the seashore. Clearly an immediate rescue was in order, so the men determined to go find the survivor.  They headed out in the direction they’d been shown in the visions. Pastor Abu’s wife remained behind in charge of the vigil, and the women and children continued praying.

Walking the eight miles to the sea shore, the 40 or so men refrained from speaking, uttering only words of prayer and praise. Each carried his own Bible, and none felt tired or found the journey long. When Milad saw them approaching, his fear intensified. What now? But then he heard his own name being uttered by a calm, assuring voice.

“Don’t be afraid, Milad,” Pastor Abu called to him. “The one who saved you from the gunshot and from the giant fish in the sea has sent us to you to console you and rescue you.”

“He is Jesus, who was crucified for us on the cross of Calvary and rose from the dead for our salvation. He loves you and wants to make you His own child. Believe in Him and follow Him.”

Already incredulous Milad did not think things could get any more incredible until he then heard the pastor outline to him all that he had gone through. Could it be a dream? He touched the leader and several of the other men to see if they were real.  

“You are not dreaming,” Pastor Abu assured him. “All of this is real and true, and only because our Lord and Saviour Jesus is the way, the truth and the life.” He then held up his Bible.

“This is the word of the true and living God, who saves you from sin and death.”

Milad rushed to kiss the Bible, and then prostrated himself before the pastor. 

“No, I am just a servant of God,” he explained, stepping back. “You surrender before Him and confess all your sins to Him. He is our savior.”

Milad cried aloud and confessed all of his sins before God. He then readily accepted Jesus as his personal savior and Lord. The men prayed over the new convert and joyfully brought him back with them, praising and thanking the Lord for His marvelous wonders as they journeyed back to the shed.

Milad now stays with Hydrus at the underground church’s 'prayer shed' under the guidance of Pastor Abu. Please pray for Milad and Hydrus as they grow in their faith and walk. Also keep Pastor Abu, his family and all the other believers in Africa in your prayers.

____________________________
names changed for security reasons

LR from pirates to cross paint arrow plus heart.jpg

Essential note

As an important ‘back story’ here, we asked Milad if he knew of anyone from his past who may have been praying for him. He then remembered that several years ago, an American missionary team had visited his town on a charitable and medical mission. One day, Milad and one of his sisters visited the temporary quarters set up by the team, hoping for help for the skin disease they both suffered from. Missionary doctors examined each, and gave them medicine. One took a special interest in the two siblings, making note of their names. She began telling them about the healing and saving power of Jesus.

Milad and his sister had no idea what she was talking about. Then, when she put her hands on their heads to pray for them, the young man angrily pushed her away. The doctor simply smiled, and let them know she would continue praying for them. She also asked them to come back in two days for checkups and more medicine, but the siblings never returned.

What an encouragement to continue praying! We thank the Lord that missionary doctor kept up her prayers for Milad, and for you for praying for the ministry of Bibles for Mideast in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Never give up.

Miraculous multiplication of faith, food and believers in east Africa

Report: Bibles for Mideast and an underground ALG Church in east Africa

Hydrus*, born and raised in a fanatic Muslim family in eastern Africa, carefully followed all the prescribed rituals of Islam. Unfortunately, poverty, drought and starvation has long afflicted his country and caused tremendous suffering for many—including Hydrus’ own household. While willing to work, like many others, he can simply find no available jobs.

Pastor Abu* of Bibles for Mideast lives and ministers in the area. He lives with his family in a tiny home more resembling a hut, and uses a small shed nearby for local ALG church gatherings. So many attend for Sunday services that they often spill out onto the grounds around the shed.  Most, however, come for the physical food served afterwards rather than any spiritual sustenance.

Undeterred, the church loves to provide the food, and hungry attenders bring along their own plates for the post-service meal. Pastor Abu often uses his own family’s allowance to buy the provisions. 

Despite warnings not to attend from local Muslim leaders, close to 300 would usually show up, plates in hand. Even Islamic devotee Hydrus often attended, as clandestinely as possible, because of the food. He’d hear the gospel message each time of course, but refused to take it seriously. 

Then came the Sunday the area’s poverty and famine had become so severe that Pastor Abu and his church had no meal to serve. With a sorrowful heart he had to report the lack to the hungry people, who began muttering among themselves and against him.  What could he do? While they all trudged away unhappily, tired and feeble Hydrus lay down on the prayer shed floor, too weak to leave.

Pastor Abu noticed him lying there. He had seen the young man receiving food from them many times, but didn't know him personally. He got down on the floor beside him, and helped him sit up so they could talk. Hydrus explained he hadn’t eaten since the last church service.

The pastor went into his home and brought out his own meal for Hydrus. His wife, realizing that would hardly be enough, gave him hers as well.  Even their two young children wanted to share theirs, but he refused to take it. Pastor Abu then noticed the filthy, torn clothes Hydrus wore and gave him a pair of his own clean pants and a shirt.

The family then left Hydrus to rest in the church shed, where he soon fell soundly asleep. As he slept, the Lord Jesus Christ appeared before him.

“I am the bread of life,” he heard Jesus say. “He who comes to me shall never hunger and thirst. For I am from heaven and I give life to the world. Believe in me as your Lord and savior!”

Hydrus stood up immediately. He noticed a bible on the table, went to it and opened to John 6: 33-35—which to his amazement sounded almost word for word what he had just heard Jesus say.

Bible in hand he went off to look for Pastor Abu. He found him with his wife, praying for him in their house. As he shared his experience with them, they praised and thanked the God they had just been praying to. Inviting Hydrus to sit with them, the pastor shared the word of God along with his own testimony of conversion from Islam.

Hydrus knelt down and accepted Jesus Christ into his life as his personal savior and Lord. Full of joy and peace, he didn't want to leave, and asked if he could possibly stay with them. Since their little house had hardly room for themselves, they offered him the prayer shed, which he gladly accepted.

Within a week, Hydrus learned a tremendous amount from and about the word of God, as well as how to pray. That next Sunday, he shared his testimony at the service.

Only about half of those who'd been there the week before came, the remainder certain there'd again be no food. Those who did come heard Hydrus’ testimony, and then listened intently to the Word of God. When the opportunity came, most readily accepted Jesus into their own hearts as Lord and Savior.

A SOMALIAN BOY COLLECTING FIREWOOD; LET’S BE PRAYING HE FINDS HIS WAY TO THE TREE OF LIFE [GETTY IMAGES]

A SOMALIAN BOY COLLECTING FIREWOOD; LET’S BE PRAYING HE FINDS HIS WAY TO THE TREE OF LIFE [GETTY IMAGES]

More miracles

But God had more miracles for His precious African people that day! Again, the pastor and the church had no food to offer them. With sad and heavy hearts they had prayed earnestly before the service for all the help they’d need to get through the day.

The pastor’s wife had filled a small aluminum pot with water and prayerfully put it on her wood-burning stove. She gave Hydrus a packet with about 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of wheat flour in it to add to the pot, which he did, along with his own prayers. He then put the lid back on, and they went to join the others.  

As the service ended, they were amazed to discover the pot full of prepared food much tastier than simple cooked wheat should ever be. Obviously such a small quantity could only, and barely, serve the pastor’s family of five, plus Hydrus. Half the usual congregation still meant there were about 150 hungry mouths out there.

Pastor Abu and his wife decided to share the pot with everyone. He announced this to the people, and tried to calculate how much that would mean for each person. As he began dishing out, he found that whatever he scooped from the pot would immediately be replenished! He praised and thanked the Lord in a loud voice and continued to serve until everyone had enough and was satisfied. All joined in exuberant praise and thanks to the Lord for His love, care and provision.  

From then on, more and more people began coming for services and truly listening to the Word of God. Other Bibles for Mideast pastors, especially those from the Middle East, began sharing their church and ministry offerings with the African church to cover the growing food expenses.

Close to 600 people now attend the worship services. Local Muslim leaders, while upset with the growth of the church, have so far kept quiet because of the food being provided to the hungry.

Please pray for all of them, especially for those who are not yet fully saved, and for the Islamic leaders.

____________________________
names changed for security reasons

Saved first from Islam, then by a giant bird of prey from Islamic extremists

Report: Bibles for Mideast and an underground ALG Church

Fadila* and her husband Al Rafeeq*, both former Muslims, serve in the Middle East as volunteer evangelists with Bibles for Mideast.

Fadila, once a strong devotee of Islam, converted to Christianity through the miraculous healing of her bedridden mother. As a result of that dramatic healing, she, her parents and siblings all accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior and began regularly attending an ALG underground church in their area.  

As we reported two years ago in our first story about Fadila (Bedridden Arab Muslim woman healed by Jesus; she and her family now believe), her father’s second wife and her children by him—Fadila’s half-siblings—became hostile to the new Christians in the family and even threatened to call religious authorities. While her father came to faith in Christ as well, he kept it quiet out of fear of possible reprisal from the threats of this other wife.

But Fadila, along with her brothers and sisters, regularly prayed for their step-mother, and if opportunity arose, would try to talk to her about the salvation possible only in Jesus.

When one of the second wife’s younger children developed a severe fever with seizures. Fadila prayed over the little girl, and immediately she was healed. So the woman, no longer able to deny the power and reality of Christianity, finally accepted Jesus as her personal savior. Her young children all readily followed her into the Kingdom.

This emboldened Fadila to share her testimony and the gospel message with many of her friends and relatives. When possible, she would also join some missionaries for Bibles for Mideast in her area, distributing bibles and sample gospels.

One of her distant relatives, a young man named Al Rafeeq, grew increasingly furious as all the members of Fadila’s household converted.  Unfazed, she went out of her way to meet with Rafeeq and at least try to share the gospel message with him.

He not only refused to listen, but ordered her to ‘get lost!’—as she had done when Christian pastors several years earlier visited her home to pray for her mother. Still, out of both stubbornness and perseverance, she refused to give up. And many visits later, she did finally persuade him of his need for salvation. Fadila brought him to her pastor, who gave him further instructions in God’s Word, will and ways. Finally, convicted and convinced, he accepted Jesus as his own personal Lord and savior.

The bond between Fadila and Rafeeq grew and soon blossomed into love. Not long ago, they married in an ALG church with the full support and participation of her household and other new believers. The newlyweds now volunteer with Bibles for Mideast, doing personal evangelism and distributing bibles to many of their fellow Arabs in the Middle East.

Their path together has been short so far, but treacherous. They have been threatened numerous times, even with death. Still they refuse to worry, completely trusting and believing, they say, in the powerful, mighty protection of their Lord Jesus Christ.

Two weeks ago, as they walked home late one evening after visiting and sharing the gospel with a neighbour, three masked men suddenly jumped from the darkness and attacked them.

A furious falcon attacking university researchers (who were trying to tag their young) in the US. [Photo courtesy Caters News Agency]

A furious falcon attacking university researchers (who were trying to tag their young) in the US. [Photo courtesy Caters News Agency]

“Jesus, save us! Jesus save us!” Rafeeq and Fadila screamed.

The words of their cries provoked the attackers even more.  While one man aimed his rifle at Rafeek, the other two attempted to rape Fadila.

“JESUS!!!” the couple screamed again.

A giant falcon-like bird swooped out of seemingly nowhere.  It first attacked the man holding the rifle, and then lunged at the other two with its beak and talons. All three attackers ran for their lives. 

Just as swiftly, the bird disappeared. Rafeeq and Fadila say they have never seen such a bird before—close to four times larger than a common falcon. They have absolutely no doubt their awesome Jesus saved and rescued them from certain harm. They fell to their knees on the spot, praising and thanking the Lord for his mighty deliverance. 

Please keep them and their ministry in your prayers!

____________________________
names changed for security reasons

Warrior angels just one factor in many connected radical salvations

Report: Bibles for Mideast and an underground ALG Church

Al Bilal*, a fanatic Muslim, had long been an active member of his local mosque in a Middle Eastern kingdom. While studying at university, a Christian friend—who also happened to be the son of a Bibles for Mideast evangelist—gave him a sample gospel. As a courtesy to the friend he read it, but didn’t believe a word.

Not long after, Jesus surprised him by appearing before him in a vision.

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” he said to Bilal. “I am the beginning and the end. I died on the cross and rose from the dead to give everyone eternal life. Those who believe in me will have a place with me in heaven. Follow me without hesitation!”  

Bilal managed to find the gospel tract again, and contacted the number printed on it. A Bibles for Mideast pastor answered the call, and shared the message of the gospel clearly with him. He didn’t need much convincing to accept Jesus as his personal savior and Lord, and soon afterwards made a full commitment to Christianity through baptism. 

Being highly educated both academically and in Islam, Bilal’s community had tremendous respect for him. But on his embrace of Christianity his parents, relatives and community leaders desperately wanted him back in the Islamic fold. Bilal boldly held to his precious new faith.

The angered community eventually excommunicated him from the mosque. Each and every one—his family included—came to consider him a dangerous enemy.

Bilal began going to a deserted area around midnight each night. He would kneel down in the sand, alone before his Lord, and for nearly two hours would pray and praise in the Spirit.

Some young people, under the leadership of Bilal’s first cousin Sulfiker*, began formulating a plan to kill him. They first found out where and when he headed for his nightly prayers. Then, armed with steel rods and sharp knives, they snuck out after him one night and prepared to lunge. 

But angels of the Lord surrounded Bilal, and fought back the attackers. In absolute terror, Sulfi and his gang took off in all directions.  Bilal however remained so engrossed in his time with the Lord he didn’t even notice the commotion!

Some angels you do not want to mess with

Some angels you do not want to mess with

As Sulfiker bolted away, he suddenly fell into a deep pit. He broke both his hands and legs in the fall, so of course could then barely move, let alone climb out. 

As his time of prayer and praise ended, Bilal stood and shook the sand from his knees. He then felt the Holy Spirit leading him to the pit his cousin had fallen in to. He could see immediately Sulfi needed help getting out, so climbed down and managed to get the young man mounted on his shoulders. Sulfi thought his cousin must be furious with him.

“Don’t kill me!” he screamed.

Bilal dragged and pulled him from the pit and administered some first aid. He also prayed for his cousin. He then took him to his home, and from there to the hospital.

Sulfi remained in hospital several weeks, with Bilal almost constantly by his side. When the time seemed right, he shared the gospel message with his injured cousin. Sulfi then blurted out all that had happened the night of his fall. Embarrassed and overwhelmed, he confessed his sins and accepted Jesus Christ as his personal savior and Lord.

Sulfi’s friends—the fellow-attackers—also visited him in the hospital. They had obviously been just as terrified seeing and experiencing the mighty, fighting angels. When Sulfi shared with them the salvation available and possible in Jesus Christ alone, they likewise needed little convincing and joined him in praying to accept Jesus into their hearts and lives.

All have now been excommunicated from their mosque and face severe persecution. They also all secretly attend worship services in an underground ALG Church and work for the Lord through Bibles for Mideast.

Please pray for them and all other ministers and ministries of Bibles for Mideast! We so appreciate and need your prayerful support.

____________________________
* names changed for security reasons

Saved from Islam and suicide by a raging river

Report: Bibles for Mideast and an underground ALG Church

Asmath*, born and brought up in a predominantly Muslim country in central Asia, never met her natural father. Five months before she was born, her father divorced her mother and left the family home. When she was only three, her mother re-married, but her stepfather refused to accept her as his own. So she was handed over to a Yateem Khana (orphanage). She grew up there according to the tenets of Islam, and learned to practice all the required rituals.

Girls at a Yateem Khana (representational image)

Girls at a Yateem Khana (representational image)

When she reached the age of 20, a much-older man asked the orphanage if he could marry the young woman. Even though the 60-year old had other wives and children older than Asmath, the orphanage officials told her she had little choice but to marry him. After so many years of isolation and loneliness, she decided to go along with the proposal.

But the man had a heart condition, and died within two months of their marriage. With the funeral service barely over, his children forced her to leave their home, saying it was no longer hers.

So she decided to put an end to her life of misery. She found what seemed like the perfect way: leaping from a tall bridge into a deep river flowing below.

In a village near the banks of the same river, miles downstream, many Muslim families had accepted Jesus Christ into their lives under the ministry of an underground Bibles for Mideast ALG church in their area. The villagers, including the church’s leader Pastor Hamad* and his family, live in mud houses with no modern conveniences. The river banks serve for most of their ‘primary needs’, and Pastor Hamad baptizes new believers in the same river. He always conducts early-morning baptismal services to avoid the spying eyes of authorities and radical Muslim neighbors.

Early one morning, as church members prepared for another of these exciting services, they noticed the body of a young woman lying submerged near the shore of the river. Running to drag her body out of the water, they discovered she was still breathing, but barely.

As onlookers prayed, Pastor Hamad pushed and released her chest and stomach until water began gushing from her mouth. He then breathed into her as others rubbed her feet and palms to warm her up.

She gradually began breathing more easily, opened her eyes and began to talk. They learned how far upriver she had jumped to her death, and realized that only the Lord could have protected her and brought her to them. With the believers joining in, the pastor prayed over her.

He then gave a short gospel message to all gathered around, explaining the salvation possible only in Jesus Christ and the importance of baptism. He then baptized five people, with Asmath intently listening to and watching all that went on.

When the service ended, they brought her back with them to their church, where they participated in a joyful Lord’s Supper as she continued to observe.

That night, Jesus came to Asmath in a dream.

“Fear not. I am your Lord and God,” he said to her. “I am the only one who can be your very present help in trouble. And I am the life and resurrection.”

Then he showed her his nail-pierced hands.  “See, I have suffered this for you,” he said. “for I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands. Have faith in me.”

She knew that it had to have been the Lord Jesus who had rescued her and now offered her new life. The next day she shared her dream—as well as her story—to the pastor, and accepted Jesus as her personal savior and Lord.

Asmath now studies the word of God and helps out with the ministries of the church. She recently asked to be baptised, and just last week she was!

Believers in Asmath’s country attend underground churches and worship as secretly as possible due to severe persecution. Accusations of blasphemy happen regularly and mean dire punishment or death. And it’s not only government officials they fear; terrorist groups war against Christians there as well.

Please pray for Asmath, for all the underground ALG churches and the ministries of Bibles for Mideast.

____________________________
* Names changed for security reasons

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.

Eighteen former Muslims baptized in the Middle East

By Pastor Paul, Director, Bibles for Mideast

all baptized.jpg

July 17, 2016:  By God’s grace, Bibles for Mideast conducted a baptismal service in the Middle East early this morning according to our Lord's great commission (Matt. 28:18-20). Eighteen new converts from Islam witnessed to their faith in Jesus Christ in the waters of the Arabian Sea (Acts 2:38, 8:16-17, 19:5).

They all personally requested baptism, wanting to be purified in the Spirit and the water to be ready to meet Jesus Christ, the Bridegroom, who will one day come in the clouds to take His Bride.  Our Lord’s return is imminent, they all believe.

When Gentiles received the gift of the Holy Spirit, the Apostle Peter declared to the disciples: “Surely no one can stand in the way of their being baptized with water. They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.” (Acts 10:47) So we prayed and decided to baptise them.

baptism of one person disguise.jpg

After the baptismal service we all worshiped together along with celebrating our Lord’s Supper.

During the worship service, two women and a man from among the believers prophesied in the Spirit that we must leave our current shelter soon and move to another place. We do not know where the Holy Spirit is leading us to go. But in obedience to the Lord we are preparing to move. LET HIS WILL BE DONE.

Please pray for the believers, members of the gospel teams and the Board of Directors.

READ: Update on 18 baptized in Middle East

Muslim extremist stabs pastors; their love and forgiveness lead him and his family to Jesus

Report: Bibles for Mideast

cutting the fingers and hands of a man caught reading the Bible

cutting the fingers and hands of a man caught reading the Bible

Al-Farooqi (name changed for security reasons), 37, had been a fanatic and faithful Middle Eastern follower of Islam his whole life. He strongly believed the whole world should be ruled according to Islamic Sharia law, and anyone not following Sharia must be killed.

In his twenties, he worked with the Taliban, destroying churches and temples and killing scores of people. He seemed consumed with shedding the blood of ‘infidels’. Seriously injured when the US army attacked his Taliban base, he managed to escape and fled back to his native city. He still limps from the damage caused by the bombing.

He had a special enmity toward Christians. Whenever he met one, he would immediately slap them. It was his pledge, as was keeping a large knife ever with him.

Several weeks ago, two Bibles for Mideast pastors met him along the road, gave him a sample gospel and started talking to him about Jesus. They of course had no idea who he was or about his past; they simply saw and attempted to engage a handicapped man walking alone.

Farooqi exploded in anger. His eyes reddened and he shook with fury.

“Allahu Akbar!” he screamed, tearing up the gospel literature they’d given him. He then grabbed his knife and lunged at them several times. Both pastors sustained injuries, but by God’s grace the wounds weren’t too serious.

While furiously stabbing the pastors, Farooqi lost the grip on the knife. It flew from his hand down to his one undamaged leg, tearing into it violently. With blood spewing out like a gusher, he fell to the ground, crying out in agony.

The pastors moved quickly to form tourniquets out of their handkerchiefs and attempted to bandage him up. At first he wouldn’t let them near him. The men had to force first aid on him, and managed to at least partially stop the flow of blood. They then hailed a taxi and took him to the nearest hospital. Once medical staff had applied proper bandaging and  given him several injections, the pastors brought him back to his own home.

On the way there from the hospital, they told him the parable of the Good Samaritan [from Luke 10:25-37].

“This was what Jesus taught us to do,” they explained. “We are simply following what He says.” Farooqi listened but seemed totally uninterested.

When the pastors left, he refused to smile at or even thank them. They could tell he was still angry. Yet the next day, backed up by prayer, they went back to the home. While his family members were happy they returned, Farooqi refused to speak to them.

Two days later, the prayerful, persistent pastors again paid a visit. They helped him untie his bandages and apply new ones. Other family members grew fonder of the Christian leaders, but not until their fourth stopover did Farooqui finally speak, thanking them. While they knew he’d done it under the compulsion of his family, they became regular visitors. Farooqi eventually began to enjoy the visits, and as they talked, the whole family learned more and more about Jesus. They listened carefully, and accepted the Arabic Bible offered to them.

 “I am not worthy to stand before the Lord,” Farooqi told them one day. “I am such a sinner and I’ve killed so many people. He simply cannot love me as a human being.”

The pastors opened the Bible to Romans 5:8-10 and showed it to him.

result of punishment inflicted in picture above: The blood of Jesus covers even this

result of punishment inflicted in picture above: The blood of Jesus covers even this

“But here is how God has shown his love for us,” he read. “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. The blood of Christ has made us right with God. So we are even more sure that Jesus will save us from God’s anger. Once we were God’s enemies. But we have been brought back to him because his Son died for us. Now that God has brought us back, we are even more secure. We know that we will be saved because Christ lives.”

Farooqi and his family became convinced about the value and truth of the Christian belief system. They confessed before the Lord and accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Now all regularly but secretly attend worship services at a Bibles for Mideast underground church.

Please pray for Farooqi and his family: that the Muslim community will not bring them any harm; that our mighty Lord will continually protect them under His wings.

Bedridden Arab Muslim woman healed by Jesus; she and her family now believe

Fadila (name changed for security reasons) grew up in an Arab family in the Middle East. She works in a government institution, and her father owns several farms and date plantations in the desert. One of eight children of her Muslim father and mother, she also has four half-siblings by her father’s second wife.

A strong devotee of Islam, Fadila always wore the abaya (a large, black cloak wrapped around her body), recited the required ritual prayers five times a day, fasted for the month of Ramadan, and gave the obligatory Zakat (alms to the poor).

One of her brothers, however, ended up running with the wrong crowd and became alcoholic and drug-addicted—despite Islam’s strict prohibitions against alcohol and drugs.

He’d sometimes become violent, she says, and would make up stories to get money from his parents to pay for his habits. They began fearing he would influence his other brothers to stray as well.

“So we lost our peace,” Fadila says. “We prayed and prayed for a change of my brother and peace at home. No answer we got.”

Her mother's strength and well-being began deteriorating, and family members began thinking the stress of her wayward son likely contributed to or even caused her health problems.

“Her condition became worse day by day,” Fadila remembers. “She consulted with many doctors, but nobody could diagnose the cause of her illness. She had a stroke too, and became completely bedridden.”

One day, another of her brothers brought two visitors to the house. He introduced them as “men of God who had gifts of healing. If they pray for our mother, she might be healed,” he added.

What could they lose? As other brothers and sisters showed interest, the men were given permission to pray.

“I felt uncomfortable,” Fadila recalls. “It was different than a Muslim du’a [personal supplications by Muslims beyond required formal prayers—Ed.] He was using Jesus’ name in his prayers. ‘In the Name of Jesus’ he prayed to heal my mother!” She figured out they were Christian pastors and, as she says, “shouted at them to get lost from my house.”

By then, though, they noticed their mother struggling to get up.

“We helped her, and she sat erect and then stood on the floor!” remembers Fadila with wonder.

“She told us that while the man was praying, she saw Jesus Christ and he touched her with his scarred hands. At once, she felt something go away from her body, and a light covered her, and she felt total healing!”

The mother then asked the men to forgive her daughter. And please, could they pray for her alcoholic son as well?

So one of the men prayed over Fadila’s alcoholic brother.  As he did, the brother fell to the floor at the man’s feet and began weeping. He promised to leave all his bad habits. Confessing his sins, he took the next step and accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Savior and Lord!

“We noticed an unspeakable joy and peace in his face,” Fadila remembers vividly.

The men explained they were pastors with Bibles for Mideast. The one who had prayed for the alcoholic brother shared his own story of conversion from Islam, and explained more fully the message of the Gospel to the family gathered round.

“Jesus Christ was crucified, died and rose from the dead for all of our sins, to give us eternal life. Jesus paid the ransom for us,” the pastor made clear.

Fadila’s mother readily replied that she believed. Fadila and her other brothers and sisters followed suit. The pastor then presented the family with a bible.

Unfortunately, Fadila’s step-mother and half-siblings felt provoked by their family members leaving Islam.

“Sometimes they threaten us that they will inform the religious authorities,” she says. “If they do, certainly we will have to face persecutions.”

While her father now believes in Jesus Christ as well, out of fear of possible reprisal from the threats of his other wife, he keeps his faith quiet. The rest of the family read and meditate on the bible daily, and attend secret prayer and worship services organized by Bibles for Mideast.

Please keep this family in your prayers: that all will be saved and come to the glorious knowledge and freedom possible only in and with Christ!

EXCITING UPDATE TO THIS STORY:
Saved first from Islam, then by a giant bird of prey from Islamic extremists!

Muslims converting to Christianity in Nigeria, despite brutal persecution

A church burned down by Boko Haram in Damascus on March 24, 2015 ( Reuters)

A church burned down by Boko Haram in Damascus on March 24, 2015 (Reuters)

Muslims are converting to Christianity in northern Nigeria amid rapidly rising levels of Christian persecution, which has seen more than 10,000 Christians killed in five years, Christian Today reports..

While much media attention has been focussed on Islamic State and the plight of persecuted minorities in the Middle East, close to 11,500 Christians in northern Nigeria were killed between 2006 and 2014, and 13,000 churches destroyed, forcing 1.3 million Christians to flee to safer areas of the country.

In 2014, Boko Haram, an Islamist militant group active mainly in northern Nigeria, was named the world's deadliest terror organisation by the Global Terrorism Index.

In 2015, the number of Christians violently killed in the country increased by 62 per cent to 4,028 people, and 198 churches were attacked according to persecution charity Open Doors' 2016 World Watch List.

A new report, Crushed but not defeated, the impact of persistent violence on the Church in Northern Nigeria by Open Doors and the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) reveals a horrific degree of violence against Christians, but also glimmers of hope from a Church that is determined to remain strong.

CAN, Nigeria's largest confederation of churches, has committed to revive the Church in northern Nigeria, both by grass roots action and by advocacy. It is calling on the UN and other international bodies to engage with the plight of Christians who feel long abandoned.

Marginalisation, discrimination and targeted violence

While Nigeria is technically a secular federal state with religious freedom enshrined in its constitution, "the reality in Northern Nigeria is radically different," said Lisa Pearce, chief executive of Open Doors UK and Ireland.

"For decades, Christians in the region have suffered marginalisation and discrimination as well as targeted violence. This is happening not only in the Sharia states of the Far North where the pressure of Islam is hard felt, but also in the non-Sharia Middle Belt states where Sharia has not been formally implemented."

Crucial to understanding this situation is that there are three distinct perpetrators of persistent violence against Christians in northern Nigeria, united around one cause: "defending northern Muslims' interests, Muslim identity and the position of Islam," the report says.

These perpetrators are not only proponents of radical Islam, such as Boko Haram, but the northern Muslim political and religious elite and the Muslim Hausa-Fulani herdsmen are also major perpetrators of religious violence against Christians.

This has lead to a diaspora of Christians from certain areas, the Christian presence becoming "virtually extinct or substantially diminished", and a break down in social cohesian between Muslims and Christians.

"Mutual trust has disappeared and Muslims and Christians have become increasingly separate groups, clustering together in town suburbs and distinguished rural areas," the report says.

This three-pronged attack against Christianity has left Christians in the north without refuge, unable to conduct themselves in public life or exert public influence.

"Many Christians say they face harassment, hatred, marginalization, intimidation and violence," the report says. "They have very limited freedom to worship and to build churches. They have no real voice in public media, have hardly any access to government positions for employment and are barely represented in local politics. Young Christians feel discrimination at school."

Three quarters of the 122 church leaders Open Doors interviewed said the outlook is bleak.

Renewed faith

But while the report highlights that the Church is hard pressed in northern Nigeria, it remains present.

Many churches are emptying as congregants flee violence and persecution, but those who leave are not abandoning their faith; instead getting involved in church in slightly safer contexts. Although those living in northern Nigeria are unable to participate in politics and are struggling even to provide a livelihood, there has been an increase in Christian political engagement with politics in the Middle Belt states of the country.

Those who are choosing to stay are experiencing a renewed fervour in their faith, according to the report, and some Christians reported that their churches in the north are growing as Muslims convert to Christianity. The report cited reasons including many Muslims having dreams of Jesus.

"Many among the Muslims want to become Christians, but they are afraid of being killed or pressured by fellow Muslims," the report quoted one interviewee as saying.

While there are glimmers of hope on the ground, a response is required from those with higher political power, such as Nigeria's government, the UN and other Western governing bodies.

"Policy makers in churches, governments and society in Nigeria and in the international community should become aware of the scope and impact of the violence," the report recommended.

"There needs to be a united and proper response to end the violence and restore a situation in Northern Nigeria where Muslims and Christians alike can live together, exercise their human rights and have equal access to education, work and property and will have the freedom to worship."