Dramatic healing and salvation for young Muslim woman ... and the miracles continue

Report: Bibles for Mideast and an ALG church in the Middle East

Halima*, born into an Arab Muslim family in the Middle East, grew up faithful and obedient to the many practices and rituals of Islam. She married as a teenager, set up home with her new husband, and the couple soon had a baby girl to look after. Within a few years, she conceived twice more, but unfortunately miscarried each time.

About four years ago, Halima developed severe pain throughout her whole body and found herself growing weaker and weaker. After a thorough medical check-up, doctors diagnosed a serious, life-threatening type of blood cancer.

Her husband loved her desperately. He could not imagine life without her or raising their now two-year-old girl on his own. He took her to many oncologists and even to specialists abroad for further treatments. But all medical efforts failed, and a year ago, she had reached the final stages of the disease. Doctors gave her no hope, advising her husband to take her home and give her whatever she needed to help her be as comfortable as possible for the limited time she had remaining.

Before being discharged, however, two Bibles for Mideast women visited her as part of their hospital ministry. When they offered to pray for her, her husband refused and angrily demanded hospital security get the evangelists out. Security staff complied, actually dragging the women out. Halima, however, quietly tucked the sample gospel away in her purse. 

Back in her own bed at home, waiting to die, she retrieved the gospel tract from her handbag and began poring over it. Like all Muslims, she knew historical Jesus had healed all manner of diseases and who knew? Maybe He could still do it. It seemed to her it was worth trying.

She told her husband what she had read and showed him the pamphlet. She then asked if he would call the mobile number printed on its back and see if someone might be able to come and pray for her.

“This is just wicked propaganda of the Christian religion!” he exclaimed. “It is not right for us to contact Christians and ask them to pray for us. Only a Kafir  [Arabic for infidel, or unbeliever—Ed.]  would do that. If we die, we should not die as infidels, but as Muslims. That is the real way to heaven. This Christian connection would only lead us to hell.”

Gazing at her little daughter by her side, now five, Halima began to cry. She reached out to her, pulled her close and held her tight, kissing her sweet face. The girl started crying as well.

This all proved too much for her husband. Relenting, he picked up the brochure and called the number printed on it. A Bibles for Mideast pastor answered. Halima’s husband outlined the details of his wife’s disease, and explained that she would like someone to come and pray for her. He handed the phone to Halima, who spoke to the pastor as well.

After praying for guidance, the pastor called several members of his congregation to join him at the church. Along with the pastor’s wife, they joined together in further prayer. [Situations such as these can be difficult in restricted areas of course. The possibility of a trap to ‘out the Christians’ always exists—Ed.]

"Lord, don't send me to Halima's house unless you come with me," the leader prayed. Sensing affirmation from the Lord, he headed off to the home, asking two church members to join him.

Halima's husband answered the door, invited the Christians in, and led them to his wife’s room—extremely unusual for a Muslim to do.

After the prayer time, the pastor asked the man if it would be okay if he and his church members held three days of fasting and prayer right there in his house.

“We will pray and fast from morning to evening,” he explained. “We won’t eat anything at all. And you must join with us.”

"Well, I will allow you to do your prayers and fasting in this room, only because it’s one of her last wishes,” the husband replied. “But I will not participate with you."

"Your presence is so important for our prayer and fasting," the pastor reiterated.

Halima then spoke up, pleading with her husband to go along with the pastor’s requests. Clearly annoyed, he finally gave in.

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The ALG church began their mission in the home the next day, Halima’s husband a reluctant participant. On the first day he ate his regular meals in his dining room, but by the second and third days he fully joined the fast. Not only that, he carefully listened to the prayers and gospel messages. At his request, the family servant, maids and driver even joined in. The Holy Spirit wonderfully moved among them.

On the third day, Halima saw Jesus! She watched and felt Him touch her head with His nail-pierced hands, and said that it felt as though blood flowed into and through her body from those hands. She jumped to her feet as power surged through her.

"Lord Jesus, you alone are my savior!” she exclaimed repeatedly, dancing and clapping. “You are my everything! Praise you Lord and thank you Jesus!" To the surprise of those around her, she even began speaking in tongues. All the pain had vanished, she announced.

She, her husband and daughter all surrendered themselves before Jesus and accepted Him as their Lord and Savior. The servants and maids also accepted Jesus into their hearts and lives.

The fourth day proved a great time of celebration as the church gathered in the couple’s home to give thanks. All praised and worshiped their saving, redeeming Lord in Spirit and in Truth. As the time of praise and thanksgiving wrapped up, Halima and her husband served everyone food.

Halima of course checked in with her oncologist soon afterwards, who, after examining her and testing her blood, looked at her in amazement.

“This is a total miracle,” he said. “Your blood has no cancer cells. You are completely healed.” 

A few days later, all were baptised and began attending services regularly at the underground church in their area. But the Muslim community, on discovering they had become Christian, did their best to convince them to return to Islam. The little family remained firm and bold in their witness. Militants took to attacking their home with rocks, and threatened to kill them. They felt they had no choice but to escape to another region.

As they planned their departure, their driver and household help all wanted to join them since they had all become Christians as well. But the family knew they would no longer have the finances to support them and said they simply had to find work somewhere else. Still, two of the workers pleaded to come along, even knowing they could no longer be paid, and the family relented. Those left behind promised to never leave their faith in Jesus.

On settling into their new home, in an area with no known Christians, they continued worshipping on their own. The pastor who had prayed for and baptised them visited regularly for the first few months to lead a midweek service for them. With Halima and her husband, he began evangelising in the area. Some listened as they shared the Good News, many scoffed and scolded, and once they barely escaped when attacked. Still, they have managed to win a number of locals for the Kingdom of Jesus and a new underground ALG church was born! ALG Church President Peter Haneef recently appointed a minister to lead the new congregation, with Halima’s husband assisting.

Just last week, Halima gave birth to a baby boy. Both mother and baby, whom they named Abdul Masih—meaning ‘Servant of Messiah’—are healthy.

Please pray for Halima, her husband, children, and all the new Christians meeting in their home.  Please also pray for the ministry of Bibles for Mideast and the ALG Church—that our Lord will protect, guide and bless His work being done in so many dangerous situations.

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* Name changed for security reasons

Elderly woman thwarts attack on her church and points terrorist to Jesus

Report: Bibles for Mideast and an ALG church in the Middle East

Al-Khadir*, born into an Arab Muslim family in the Middle East, grew stronger in his faith in Islam and the law of Sharia as he matured into a young man. While at university one day, someone slipped him a sample gospel. He began reading, but when he got to “Jesus is the only Savior and the Son of Most High God”, erupted in anger. Ripping the pamphlet to shreds, he threw it into a nearby fire.

Soon after graduation, he joined a local terrorist group. Then, just a few months ago, he and one of his extremist friends planned an attack on an ALG church [ALG being the umbrella organization for all Bibles for Mideast churches—Ed.]. As they entered the church armed with pistols, an elderly woman somehow managed to grab hold of Al-Khadir’s legs.

“My son!” she cried out.  “Go back and save yourself! I was a strong Muslim once, with a husband and three sons. My sons joined up with terrorists like you and were killed in Syria. When my husband heard the news, he had a heart attack and died. Now I have no husband and no children. Yours is not the way of peace and reality! Lord Jesus is the Prince of Peace. He saved me from sin and death. I live with this hope. Only Jesus Christ can give us peace, salvation and eternal heaven. Sons, get back, please."

Infuriated, the other terrorist began kicking her. She fell down in pain, but kept repeating her admonition to them.

Al-Khadir suddenly thought of his own mother. He pushed his friend away and helped the woman to her feet.  The men then turned and left the church grounds without saying or doing anything more.

Back home that night, Al-Khadir had a dream like no other. The Lord Jesus Christ—the one he, like all Muslims, knew to be a great prophet but nothing more—came to him.

"I am the Massihullah [‘Messiah’ in Arabic],” Jesus said. “Do you know what that means? I am the one sent out from the Most High to bring humanity—who lost the Kingdom of Heaven through sin and iniquities—back to God. All have sinned and lost eternal life. To bring everyone back, I, the Kalimathullah [‘Word of God’ in Arabic] came down from heaven and was born of a virgin. I lived a sinless life, suffered, was crucified on the cross of Calvary, died and was buried as punishment for the sins of humanity … including yours. And I rose from the dead and now sit at the right hand of the Heavenly Father. Only those who confess before Me and believe in Me will have salvation and eternal life in heaven as God's gift. For I am the Son of the most high God. I will come again in clouds to separate and bring my own people to Heaven while others will end up in hell. Believe in Me and follow Me."

Knowing this to be no ordinary dream, the next day Al-Khadir approached the pastor of the very ALG church he had intended to attack. He poured out all that he had experienced. The pastor shared the gospel with him, along with his own testimony of conversion from Islam.

Wielding the wrong kind of sword

Wielding the wrong kind of sword

The young man readily accepted Jesus as his personal savior and Lord and not many days later was baptised. When he shared his experience with his terrorist friend, the man would have none of it. Unfortunately this man, along with two other of Al-Khadir’s former terrorist friends, were among 37 people executed for terrorist-related crimes—beheaded in fact—last week.

With the pastor in agreement, Al-Khadir decided to leave the country for his own safety. Launched now into a wholly new, holy life, he truly considers himself newly-born. Where he’d had no compunctions about his terrorist life before, he now feels remorse for the fear he instilled in others. While he thought he fought for God before, he now knows he is on the right and only path to and with Him. He says he now feels joy and experiences “great peace under the wings of Lord Jesus.”

“The Lord has saved me from a terrible life,” he adds, “As the book of Job says, 'I alone escaped from them to be the witness’ of mighty savior Jesus Christ.” [Job 1:15]

Al-Khadir has wasted no time getting into studying God’s word at his new location, his reference to Job above being deep proof. That whole verse reads, “and the Sabeans fell on them and carried them off, and killed the servants with the edge of the sword; I alone have escaped to tell you.” As he studies, he also works alongside his new Christian friends distributing Bibles and gospel tracts. Please pray for him and the entire ministry of Bibles for Mideast.

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* Name changed for security reasons

Aggressive Islamic militants now serving God and bringing multitudes to Christ

Shah* once lived the life of an aggressive Islamic militant in a Muslim-dominated south Asian country. While the state officially recognized Christianity as a minority religion, it also considered blasphemy against Allah and the Prophet Mohamed great crimes. So with no justification, many would persecute Christians by falsely accusing them of such a ‘crime’.

One day, Shah saw a young Christian man associated with Bibles for Mideast holding a Bible and explaining salvation and the second coming of Jesus to a young Muslim fellow. Shah approached to set him straight. outlining the Islamic belief about ‘Prophet Jesus (Isa)’. He proclaimed forcefully the Islamic belief about Prophet Jesus (Isa): he did NOT die on a cross, but was elevated by Allah and will come back again as ‘Mahdi Imam’, a Messiah who will rule the rule the entire world for 40 years under Islamic (Shari'a) law.  

The Christian minister calmly and politely shared with him how Jesus, born of the Virgin Mary and living a sinless life, really did die on the cross of Calvary.  He then rose from the dead as a ransom to save all humanity from sin and death. Those who believe and follow Him are washed by His shed blood on the Cross. They are His bride and He is coming back in the clouds to receive them. That, he said, is what the Bible teaches.

"Your bible is annulled and false!" Shah screamed. He slapped the evangelist and grabbing the bible from his hands, threw it to the ground. He then set it on fire. The other man joined Shah in the assault, and the two decided to tie the minister up with a rope.

By this time a mob had gathered. They brutally beat the Christian and afterwards handed him over to the police, accusing him of blasphemy against the prophet Mohamed. The court then sent him to prison and within days, he was dead.

Shah and the young Muslim, Asif* rejoiced when they heard of the evangelist’s death in prison. They became fast friends in their crusade against Christianity, and made a sport of persecuting Christians by falsely denouncing them.

One day, the young men worked up a plan of attack on a group of Christians they’d heard were having an extended meeting for fasting and prayer. As they walked to the meeting place, a man joined up with them. He talked with them about the Son of God.

Protests in Pakistan over the killing of a young Christian couple falsely accused of blasphemy.  While Pakistan has a mandatory death sentence for those indicted for blasphemy, 12 other countries can punish with death people who leave or change their religion: Afghanistan, Iran, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.

Protests in Pakistan over the killing of a young Christian couple falsely accused of blasphemy.
While Pakistan has a mandatory death sentence for those indicted for blasphemy, 12 other countries can punish with death people who leave or change their religion: Afghanistan, Iran, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.

"God sent His Son, born of a virgin woman, not to condemn the world, but so that the world could be saved through him. That man is Jesus, the Son of God." 

Shah and Asif naturally became infuriated, and wanted to beat him up. Instead, they suddenly stepped back in fear. A heavenly host of warrior angels had appeared behind him! And now, he held a burning bible in his hands—looking just like the bible they’d thrown on the ground and burned when they attacked the Bibles for Mideast worker.

The man grew brighter and brighter, His body now shining like many suns. They noticed nail marks in his hands.

In a powerful voice, He proclaimed: "I am Jesus, the Son of God, who was crucified, died and then rose from the dead. I have come to save you. Don’t let Satan misguide you! He is a liar and a thief. The thief does not come except to steal, kill and destroy. I have come that you may have life and have it more abundantly, now and in eternity. Those who gave their lives for me aren’t lost, but are with me in eternal glory. I am totally revealed in this book,” He said. “Follow me and be my witnesses."

"Lord Jesus!” the men cried, closing their eyes and kneeling before Him. “You are our Saviour and Lord! We believe in You!" When they opened their eyes, Jesus and the angels had vanished.

They practically ran to where the Christians were meeting for prayer. The believers reacted in fear when they saw the men rush in. But their alarm turned to wonder as the two shared their experiences with Jesus and boldly declared their new-found faith.

The men spent several days with the prayer group members, learning more about Christianity. But their turning made them enemies of Islamic fundamentalists and terrorists, who set out to kill them. They fled to another area and began seriously studying God’s word, and eventually were anointed pastors. As persecution persisted and grew, the men headed for the mountains and joined in ministry with Bibles for Mideast. It wasn’t long before a new ALG Church was born in one of the mountain villages.

In our first story on Asif and Shah back in November, we reported on their work and a horrific attack they’d suffered, asking for the prayers of God’s people (Urgent prayer request: Pastors attacked and church demolished by terrorists).

God miraculously answered those prayers, so that a mere two weeks later, we had an exciting update: the entire Muslim village is now Christian (Exciting update: entire Muslim village now Christian)!

Please continue to pray for these men and the work they do in so many dangerous areas, as well as for the many new Christians.

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*
Name changed for security reasons

The dangers of happy children?

As persecution persists and grows in the many regions Bibles for Mideast serves, we delight in telling you stories of how the Lord’s work persists and spreads as well … often with surprising results.  

How about this dire government warning issued in a Muslim-dominated region of Africa where house church growth has been remarkable?

“If you see your child suddenly forgiving, jolly, happy, listening to you, not arguing, talking about not hating, these are the signs that they might be going to an underground church.  This is a threat to your family.”

Reported by Christian satellite TV network SAT-7’s ‘people on the ground’ in that country, the organization’s recent newsletter  goes on to detail some of the more honestly threatening conditions believers live under.  

“Church growth has been strong in my country,” an Algerian believer told them, “but recently churches have been subject to a government crackdown, with several being closed.  Every three months, our church holds a baptism, sometimes for more than 100 people.  Then the government closed our own church, along with four others.  But the more problems the church faces, the stronger they grow.”

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“We cannot worship regularly in any one place,” another believer explained.  “It would be too dangerous and attract attention.  We are always being watched.  We rotate where we meet and arrive at random times and through different routes.  Everyone is always vigilant.

“When the authorities find an underground church, they enter the room, take all our cell phones, all our computers- anything they can use to extract information to find others like us.  They look for links, for networks of believers, especially house church leaders. They want to know who is influencing us.  And they accuse us of working with ‘foreign enemies’ saying that we are undermining the nation.

“They demand, ‘Who is your teacher?  Where are your Bibles?  Who is your pastor?  You are illegal, propagating false and illegal teachings.  Show us your license to meet!  You are not registered!’  They use threats and intimidation. Without cause, our teachers and pastors are taken away.  They disappear for days, weeks, or are never seen again.”

Will you help us spread the Gospel and establish new churches across these countries and regions so desperate for God’s love?  Only together can we fulfill the Great Commission.

Yes, I would like to support the work of BIBLES FOR MIDEAST

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* SAT-7 broadcasts in Arabic, Persian and Turkish across 25 countries in the Middle East and North Africa, along with about 50 countries in Europe.

Praising His amazingness: abducted pastors miraculously released in Middle East

Report: Bibles for Mideast and the ALG Church in the Middle East

On a Sunday evening two weeks ago, Assembly of Loving God (ALG) pastors Firos* and Altaf* were visiting an Arab Muslim in his home in the Middle East. The Christians shared the gospel with the man, and his entire household had gathered around, listening intently.

As leaders of an underground ALG church** in the area and with families of their own, the men used their ‘spare time’ to engage in personal evangelism and distribute bibles among local Arab Muslims. About 50 former Muslims now met regularly with them for prayer, worship, and learning more about their new and living faith.

This particular country has extremely harsh attitudes towards proselytizing, especially attempts to convert Muslims to Christianity. As the men shared the Gospel of Life that Sunday evening, a neighbor noticed the goings-on and informed the imam of the local mosque.

Late evening namaz (prayer) was ongoing at the mosque, a requirement called Isha’ [Muslims are supposed to perform namaz five times per day, with Isha being the fifth—Ed.]. When Isha ended and the people learned of the evangelical activity in their neighborhood, an angry mob formed under the leadership of the imam. They armed themselves with a variety of weapons and headed to the home. Bursting in on the family, they brutally attacked the evangelists. They dragged the pastors to their mosque, tied them to a pillar, and kept up the beating. Firos and Altaf clutched their bibles to their chests, but the mob snatched them away. Shouting and laughing wildly, they set the men’s bibles on fire.

The imam told the pastors to leave Jesus and come back to Islam, offering them a number of official state positions if they agreed.*** But they turned down his appeals.

The ONLY fire and sword that matters

The ONLY fire and sword that matters

"Jesus is our Lord and Savior,” they bravely declared. “He saved us from the sin and death we knew and experienced in our own lives. Now we are new creations in HIM. You may kill our flesh, but we will have an everlasting life with our Savior in Heaven. So we will never lose our faith in Jesus, no matter what happens."

This provoked the people even further. They dragged the men to a cellar and abandoned them there for three days, without even a drop of water to drink. But the pastors looked to their Lord. For the entire three days and nights they praised and prayed. Being so with their Lord in Spirit, they didn’t feel any pain, hunger or thirst, nor were even aware of the passing time.

After the three days, the mob handed them over to a terrorist group, who threw them into a cellar in another location. For nine days they endured more brutal torture and again, no food or water. They were given dire warnings that unless they return to Islam and join the fight against Christians and Christianity, they would be killed and their bodies hung in a public place.

This proved hardly a threat to the pastors. For the sake of Jesus, they knew they could endure any persecution. They personally prepared themselves to die, assured of the greatest high hope of living even closer with Christ. 

Yesterday (Friday) morning, the terrorists tied the men’s hands behind their backs and took them out into an open area. Midday approached and temperatures soared. They told the pastors to kneel down. When they did, they tied their legs together as well.

Two men stood behind the kneeling pastors, wielding razor-sharp blades.  The killers tried to cover the Christians’ faces, but someone told them not to bother.  ‘Let them see and experience even more fear as they are being executed,’ they explained. 

Instead, the pastors looked to their Lord. They watched in amazement as a cloud formed overhead and they began sensing a refreshing coolness. Within the cloud, they saw Jesus seated on a throne! Thousands of angels surrounded Him.  They began praising the Lord joyfully and enthusiastically as they knelt under the shadow of His Presence and the cloud-like formation of angels around Him.

The killers, now even more determined due to the men’s praises [we’re fairly certain no one but the pastors saw the spiritual reality—Ed.], brandished their knives over the men’s necks. But as they prepared to bring down the blades, both they and their weapons unexpectedly fell to the ground.

Fear gripped onlookers as they heard the pastors’ loudly praising their Lord, and only intensified as they watched the would-be assassins fall over, helpless and disarmed.

The evangelists then witnessed rays of fire emanate from Jesus and down through the cloud towards the witnesses of the ‘execution’. Overcome with terror and the now-extreme heat, the crowd fled.

Somehow the pastors’ legs and hands were then loosed. Instead of standing up, however, they remained on their knees, praising and thanking their mighty Savior. Both then observed two angels appear, and felt themselves being lifted up. The next thing they knew, they were standing in front of a house.

They heard sounds of praise and worship from within the home, so they knocked on the door. A man came and opened the door slightly to have a somewhat fearful peek. When he saw the pastors outside he could barely contain his joy, praising the Lord loudly and shouting for the others to come. They were all members of the men’s own church … in the midst of prayer and fasting for their pastors’ immediate release!

Adding to the miraculousness of this story, this was not the location the church had been meeting in before the abduction. Soon after the pastors disappeared, worshippers had noticed several suspicious-looking characters watching the home they’d been meeting in.  Concerned, they moved their ‘church’ to a place many miles away. Since they had lost their leadership, some elder believers now led services, which was what was going on when the pastors ‘reappeared’. But the pastors of course had no idea their congregation had moved.

Our Lord of course knew, and He Himself arranged and rearranged everything according to His purposes. While the underground believers’ Friday prayer and fasting session would have normally drawn to a close by 3:00 p.m., this one continued many more hours, on into the night.

Both pastors’ wives and children had been sick with desperation when the men disappeared two weeks ago. Now of course they, and all who gather with them, are overjoyed.

Please pray for both families, and the believers who meet with them. The pastors want to specially thank all who have been praying for them, and know that it is only because of prayer that our Lord so mightily intervened.

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* Names changed for security reasons
** the umbrella organization for Bibles for Mideast churches
*** We can’t know if this was a deception to tempt the pastors, or if the imam did have the authority to offer the positions since many religious leaders in the Middle East do have high influence in government.

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