Attacked by wild pig, rescued by ‘man with nail-scarred hands’

Pastor Paul's wife Mercy shares a pivotal, transformational experience in her grandmother's life

My grandmother Eliyamma grew up in a heavily-forested area in a highrange region of India. Her family was religious but hadn’t been taught what it meant to have a living relationship with Jesus Christ. Child marriage was common in India at the time, so at the age of 13 she married a man named Mathai.

Eliyamma and Mathai lived with her family in their mud house in the forest. They had no electricity or running water, and there wasn’t a local market to buy food. Her father and Mathai worked hard to reclaim the forest for their small farm, where they cultivated coffee and spices such as pepper and cardamom.

Because the family had no pipes to get suitable drinking water to their house or even a well nearby, it was part of the women’s daily chores to fetch water from the river.

One day, when Eliyamma was 27, she walked down to the river to fill up her water pot. As she bent over the water’s edge, a wild pig charged out of the underbrush and brutally attacked her. She fought back, using the water pot as a defensive shield and weapon to swing at the pig’s head.

wild pig lr.jpg

But as they fought, the wild pig became even more enraged and fierce. His sharp teeth ripped her legs and arms. Eliyamma knew her life was in jeopardy when blood began to flow profusely from her torn body. She cried out for help, but no one was nearby.

Suddenly a man appeared out of nowhere. He drove the pig away and then knelt down beside her to tend to her wounds. When his hands touched the torn places on her body, she was immediately healed.

Still in shock, Eliyamma’s eyes grew wide with astonishment as she saw the palms of the man’s hands. They were nail-scarred; he carried the markings of crucifixion. Reverence and awe filled her heart. Only one response came to mind as she recognized who attended her. She prostrated herself on the ground and said, “My Lord and my God!”

It was but a moment that she was face down in the soil, which was damp with river water mingled with blood. When she slowly raised her head, her Rescuer had disappeared.

After this dramatic incident, Eliyamma had an insatiable hunger to know more about Jesus. She accepted Him as her personal Savior and, as a result of her testimony, her entire family believed and received Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

In their lifetimes, Eliyamma and Mathai had a total of sixty-seven children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

Eliyamma at 100!

Eliyamma at 100!

Being one of them, I grew up knowing Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I married a man named Paul who, though Muslim by birth, accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Savior and Lord on his twenty-first birthday while studying at university. Now we are winning souls for Christ.

My grandfather, Mathai, went home to be with the Lord when Eliyamma was 62. Thirty-nine years later, Jesus took Eliyamma home when she was 101. Up until that day, she eagerly awaited being with her Rescuer face-to-face, and she devoted her life to studying the Bible, praying for others, and glorifying her Lord as His living witness.

“The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear?” (Ps. 27: 1)

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This forms a chapter from Amazing Modern-Day Miracles:  52 True Stories to Strengthen Your Faith by Suzanne Frey. 

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.

From Islamic enforcer and Christian killer to underground church leader: a modern-day Muslim Saul

For years, Zakkir* and his father lived to uphold the many religious rules governing their 100% Muslim country, one of the strictest in the Middle East. They followed Islamic ritual practices fanatically, and if they witnessed anything or anyone ‘out of order’, had no compunctions about resorting to violence. 

While Zakkir’s father served in the often-merciless Islamic religious force known as Muttawa, his son headed up an outlaw gang of angry young militants. All were fully committed to punishing anyone daring to defy the stern laws and practices of Islam.

Taliban religious police beating a woman because she dared to remove her burqa in public

Taliban religious police beating a woman because she dared to remove her burqa in public

“If anyone passed along the road by the mosque at the time of Namaz [Islamic prayer], our gang would stop and brutally beat them for not attending,” Zakkir explains. 

One day, he noticed some Christians distributing sample gospels and, he says, trying to convert several Muslims. The gang determined to put a stop to the evangelical activities.

“We attacked their office,” Zakkir relates, “and killed three of them.” Pleased with themselves, the men were jubilant when they discovered later that the ‘infidels’ had also been secretly translating bibles into Arabic.

Soon they were back at their post, stopping those passing by the mosque at the time of Friday prayer, insisting they come in.  They pulled over one man in the midst of rushing his sick child to hospital, and refused to take even that as an excuse.

“I dragged him out of the car myself,” Zakkir confesses. But as he did, the distraught father grabbed a gun from his glove compartment and fired off three shots directly into his assailant’s chest. Zakkir fell to the ground, and the man jumped back into his car and drove off.

The young militant’s friends sped him to the hospital. Surgeons managed to remove only two of the bullets, deciding that taking out the third, lodged in a dangerous position in his chest, would mean certain death.

He remained in a coma for several days, and doctors gave up hope for his recovery. Friends and relatives who had been by his hospital bed from the beginning gave up as well, leaving him alone in the hospital to die.

Bibles for Mideast director Pastor Paul ‘just happened’ to be visiting the country with several other missionaries at the time. In prayer for their mission, he received clear instructions about Zakkir and his condition in a vision, even though the two had never met.

“Not only did the Lord ask me to visit him,” he recalls, “but He told me to bring him back with me from the hospital! We fully trust our Lord, so without any doubts we went. My coworkers suggested we take along separate clothes for him, since he would be in a hospital gown.”

He, Pastor Rahim* and two other evangelists headed off to the hospital, found Zakkir’s room, and began to pray over his comatose body.

“At this moment,” the militant remembers vividly, “I had a dream that Jesus Christ came to me and said, ‘I am your Lord and Savior, I have been wounded for you, and by my stripes you are healed. I choose you as one of my vessels to bring many to my fold.’"

He says the Lord then touched his wounds with His own nail-scarred hands. “Suddenly, the remaining bullet jumped from my chest automatically, as I felt new blood flow through my veins!” He opened his eyes to see four people praying over him.

“I thought they were angels of the Lord,” he says. Pastor Paul made clear they were simply servants of the Lord Jesus Christ, and that they’d been given instructions to come and pray for him. He also explained to him the way of salvation.

“He is the author of life, believe in Him and you will be saved." 

Zakkir hardly needed convincing. He got up, accepted Jesus as his Lord and savior, and surrendered his life to the Lord of Life. The missionaries helped him into his ‘new clothes’, and then secretly whisked him away.

“No one knew about my escape with the pastors,” he explains. As only Jesus could work it, Zakkir now heads up an underground Bibles for Mideast affiliated church in his country.

“I am not worthy to be a pastor of our Lord's Church, for I was persecuting the Church,” he says, sounding for all the world like the Apostle Paul writing to the Corinthians (1 Cor. 15:9**). “But I am pastoring an underground ALG church. We are taking care of the persecuted Christians who were former Muslims.”

Please pray for Zakkir and the Christian colleagues he lives with as they work to spread the Kingdom of Jesus in a dark and restrictive kingdom of this world.

____________________________
* names changed for security reasons
** "
I don’t deserve to be included in that inner circle, as you well know, having spent all those early years trying my best to stamp God’s church right out of existence." [1 Cor. 15:9, The Message]

From Hindu priestly family to daughter of the King of Kings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Former Hindu ‘snake goddess’ now powerful witness to Jesus

To Christians, a snake symbolizes evil and the Devil himself. Yet Hindus view serpents as divine creatures worthy of worship—in temples dedicated to them, as well as in their natural habitats. Westerners familiar with the increasingly popular practice of kundalini yoga may, or at least should be aware of the entwinement of Hindu-based yoga and the ‘serpent power’ kundalini yoga attempts to awaken in practitioners. That however is a whole other story!

For young Nagamma, growing up Hindu in southern India, loving snakes seemed natural. Her family were of the Dalit class, on the lowest rung of India’s social ladder and once known as ‘untouchables’.  Without many options for employment, her father was a leading wizard of black magic and taught  the craft to his daughter from a young age. The name given her, Nagamma, even means ‘mother of snakes’.

“As a child, I fed the local snakes, carrying milk to the edge of their snake holes,” she recalls. She would also join members of her community to worship in a special temple dedicated to snakes, located under a fig tree in the border area of Kerala and Tamil Nadu States. Her love of the many idols, especially the snake gods, only increased.

One day as a young 12-year-old, a cobra raised its head and bit her while she attempted to bring milk to it. Her parents rushed her to a local non-traditional medical practitioner who wasn’t able to fully remove the poison from her body.

Within three days her outward health appeared to improve, but—to put it mildly—unusual side effects began manifesting. She began feeling completely different in both body and mind, her skin even taking on a bluish tinge.

“I started acting like a snake,” she explains matter-of-factly. She even started acting like one. Soon, all she wanted to do was sit in the temple dedicated to snakes. When people began treating her as a snake goddess, her father announced to them that yes indeed, that was what she had become!

As her fame increased, people from her community and beyond began bringing offerings of milk, fruit and flowers to her. They gave her money, fell prostrate before her, and believed if she touched them, they would be blessed.

“I asked if I could visit them in their homes,” she explains. There, for a fee, she would invoke the black magic learned from her father in an effort to destroy their enemies and so, she hoped, bring blessings on them. Her parents would pocket the money given to her.

worshipping a 'snake god'?

worshipping a 'snake god'?

When Bibles for Mideast missionaries visited Nagamma and her family, they gave them brochures on Christianity and the bible, and shared the good news of Jesus. Her father contended that since his daughter was a goddess, they should follow her, not Jesus!

Five years ago, Nagamma went to the home of a family with a young child to perform her black magic.

“Something unusual happened there,” she recalls. “Satan instructed me that there was golden treasure in that house, and I should sacrifice the child of less than three months old to find the treasure.”

An intense spiritual battle for the life of the baby ensued. Nagamma had never encountered that before; apparently the prayers of the Bibles for Mideast workers was having an effect in the heavenlies. Nagamma couldn’t, as she says, “complete the black magic for that house,” and fled.

In her bedroom that night, she had a remarkable visitation.

“A white and handsome man came to me and sat beside me,” she says with wonder. Her room filled with the brightest light she had ever seen. When the man showed her his hands, she could see what looked like injuries caused by nails.

“He told me: ‘My daughter, you are dear to me. I am your Lord and God. I give the treasure of peace and eternal life. I am the door. Those who come to me will be saved; they will go in and out and will find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come that you might have life. Life in all its fullness!’”

From the words she’d heard from the recent Christian visitors to her home, Nagamma recognized the man in her dream as Jesus Christ! Overwhelmed with emotion, she knelt before him and accepted him as her personal Savior and Lord.

In the days that followed, her changed heart led to bold actions.

“I broke all the idols in the temple of snakes myself,” she says. “My parents and those who believed in me did not like it. They told me I was mad. They tied me to a tree and beat me. Many other persecutions I faced. But I did not lose my faith in Jesus and wanted to enter into the fold of Jesus Christ through baptism.”

Her next step was to contact Bibles for Mideast and request baptism. She chose as her baptismal name ‘Maria’, and the Lord has anointed her mightily as an evangelist to her people. Her parents and brothers have all joined her in believing in and following Jesus. A prayer tent for Christian worship now sits where the serpent’s temple once did.

Five years after her dramatic conversion, God continues to use Maria as a mighty weapon against the kingdom of darkness. She works with Bibles for Mideast bringing many Hindus into the love and freedom possible only with Jesus.

Please pray for her protection, and for all those converting from Hinduism to Christianity. The conversion is instantaneous, but often inner healing and deliverance are needed to bring about the full freedom God so desires for His children.

Resurrection life and healing for an abused young Muslim woman

ReportAssembly of Loving God (ALG) Church

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Can Jesus bear our burden?

GOSPEL TRACT FOR MUSLIMS (prepared by Bibles for Mideast)

The book of Genesis in the Bible tells of Almighty God creating man out of dust in His image, after His likeness, and giving him life through the Word to be the overseer of His creation. He named him Adam, and through Adam, He created Eve.

God had a definite plan to glorify His name through humanity, and for that He needed them to be fully surrendered to Him.

To obey each and every law of God is total surrender. But Adam and Eve disobeyed, ate of the tree of which God commanded them not to eat. So they sinned.

Suppose you hire new help for your business or household. That person is obliged to obey your rules. Do you appreciate it if they do their own thing instead, and make friends with your enemies? You will fire them immediately and make sure they don’t get any support from your colleagues or friends.

If God were like us, He would have completely removed Adam and Eve from His creation, but He didn’t. Instead, He sent him out from the Garden as punishment, where they could no longer live in the ease of fellowship with Him.

“You will have to work hard and sweat to make the soil produce anything, until you go back to the soil from which you were formed. You were made from soil, and you will become soil again." (Gen. 3:19)

God also promised the Messiah, Jesus, who is the Word from God, Son of Mary, illustrious in the world and hereafter as the deliverer from sin.

The Qur’an says: “Lo! the likeness of Jesus with God is as the likeness of Adam. He created him out of dust, then He said to him: ‘Be!’ and he was. (This is) the Truth from your Lord. (O Muhammad), so be not of those who doubt” (Qur’an 3:59-60).

How is Jesus ‘the likeness’ of Adam?

Adam was created as a faultless man, in God's likeness and image (Gen. 1:26; 5:1), and crowned with glory and honor (Ps. 8:5). The Prophet David says in the book of Zabur (Psalms): “What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Yet You have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings, and crowned him with glory and honour. You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; You have put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas.” (Psalms 8:4-8)

The Qur'an 2:34 says that God asked the angels to prostrate themselves before Adam. All fell prostrate except Iblis (Lucifer), who demurred through pride and so became Satan. Satan’s promptings enticed Adam and Eve to disobey God and eat the fruit of the forbidden tree.

When they sinned against God, they lost their glory and honor and became aware they were naked (Gen. 3:7). In other words, they lost their likeness to God and took on the ‘likeness of sin’. Adam, at 130 years of age, had a son “in his own likeness, in his own image; and he named him Seth” (Gen. 5:3). So Seth had to have been born with the likeness of sin.

The Prophet David says in Zabur: “Behold I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me” (Psalms 51:5).

The Injil (the New Testament of the Bible) states very clearly that “there is no distinction; since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). But a promised remedy follows immediately: “They are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus”.

In several places the Qur’an states: “No burdened soul can bear another’s burden” (35:18, 39:7, 53:38). That can only mean that only an unburdened soul can bear another’s burden.

Both the Bible and the Qur’an teach that Jesus was born faultless. “He [the Archangel Gabriel] said [to Mary]: I am only a messenger of your Lord, that I may bestow on you a faultless son” (Qur’an 19:19). The Hadith (the record of Mohammed’s words and actions) also teaches that all the children of Adam are touched by Satan at their birth, except Jesus, son of Mary.

The Bible says this about Jesus: “For it was fitting that we should have such a High Priest, holy, blameless, unstained, separated from sinners, exalted above the heavens” (Hebrews 7:26).

 “Can any of you prove I am guilty of sinning?” Jesus once asked the Jews. “Am I not telling the truth? Then why don’t you believe me?  Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you don’t hear is that you don’t belong to God.” (John 8:46-7)

Yes! Jesus was faultless by birth and life. He can carry the weight of sin from each and every person in this world.

Jesus said in the New Testament: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). The Prophet Yahya (John the Baptist) was born to be a witness to Jesus, declaring, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29)

In the second letter of Paul to the Corinthians we read: “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21). No doubt! Jesus took all our sins and died on the cross to give us eternal life. “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our sins” (Eph. 1:7).

The letter to the Hebrews says it this way: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Heb. 12:1-2)

The Qur’an records Jesus as saying: “And (I come) confirming that which was before me of the Torah (the law of Moses), and to make lawful some of that which was forbidden unto you. I come unto you with a sign from your Lord, so keep your duty to God and obey me” (Qur’an 3:50).

“When Jesus came with clear proofs [of God’s sovereignty], he said: ‘I have come unto you with wisdom, and to make plain some of that concerning which you differ. So keep your duty to God, and obey me’ ” (Qur’an 43:63).

What do you think? Isn’t it a must to obey Jesus by accepting him as Lord and Savior?

The children of Israel denied Jesus, even though they were the chosen people of God. So they lost eternity. Looking for a warrior king savior, they were blind to the truth that Jesus Christ was the very Messiah promised by their own prophets.

What about you? Accept Jesus as your Savior and Lord. He is Christ, the Son of God and God in flesh.

Stoned by terrorists, protected by a lion!

By Pastor Paul, Director of Bibles for Mideast

My risen Lord Jesus Christ has saved my life once again, and I praise and thank God for His unspeakable grace! Certainly I am not worthy of it.

The Assembly of Loving God (ALG) Church of Bibles for Mideast called for 21 days fasting and prayer from March 13 to April 2. As that drew to a close, more than 3000 former Muslims were baptized in many of our churches in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. The Lord enabled me to baptize many people during this time.

About three weeks ago, I was changing my wet clothes after an early-morning baptism service for one of our churches. Suddenly, militants began stoning me and our group. My head was severely injured and bloodied, and a number of others sustained injuries as well.

Believers rushed me to the nearest hospital. An examination showed serious damage to my skull, so I was transferred to a specialist hospital for immediate surgery. Authorities there, however, refused to do surgery before receiving payment. My poor believing friends somehow managed to comply.

The Islamic militants who had attacked us discovered I was undergoing treatment in that hospital, and plotted to kill me. So the believers shifted me from the hospital to Pastor Ayyoob’s house in a nearby forested area.

Pastor Ayyoob lives there with his wife, two young children and 80-year-old mother. Two believers joined us to help care for me. So the eight of us stayed there—with no internet,, electricity, pipe water, or even proper bathrooms.  For primary things we used the forest areas and a nearby river.

Believers secretly visited me at the forest home, and we would have prayer services together. I stayed there about three weeks.

Last Sunday (April 16, Easter Sunday), we were in the midst of our worship service with Pastor Ayyoob leading. Suddenly, a group of militants reached the house, armed with steel bars and other weapons. We had no idea what to do.

I still hadn’t (and have not) fully recovered from the surgery. Pastor Ayyoob’s mother is an elderly, sick woman. We also had two children below four years old with us, and a woman seven months pregnant who came for the service.

Militants had found the house by noticing the people attempting to visit me secretly and coming for prayers.

Losing all hope, we thought for sure this was our last day. The children with us started crying. We all joined hand in hands and repeatedly praised and thanked our risen Lord Jesus Christ. We also continually claimed the blood of Jesus Christ as our victory.  The pregnant woman suffered pain, but joined in our praises to the Lord.

O Lord Jesus! Praise His Holy Name. Completely unexpectedly, a lion ran from the forest, leapt towards the militants, and seized one by the neck. When other combatants tried to attack the lion, two other lions bounded towards them. The terrified militants fled the site, and the lions left us completely alone. Equally astonishing, records show no lions are supposed to live in that forest.

Due to pressure from officials, we left the forest home yesterday.

Miraculously sending His Word, the Lord radically saves Islamic scholar and teacher

Report: Pastor Paul of Bibles for Mideast

Abu Omar (name changed for security reasons) had been for many years a religious scholar and highly-respected citizen of the Middle East. He taught and preached the Koran, the Hadith and Sharia law in mosques and Islamic schools.

While getting into his car after evening prayers in the mosque, he noticed a piece of paper stuck to his car window. He pulled it off, climbed into his vehicle, put on the light and began reading it. 

“The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Rom. 6:23)

Furious, he crumpled it up. Then, taking the rifle he kept in his car, he stepped out to see if he could find the person who had left the tract. Seeing no one, he threw the paper out and drove away.

On the way home, he stopped in front of a shopping mall. A piece of paper flew towards him and stuck to his clothes: the same bible verse! Tearing it up, he stuffed it in the nearest waste bin.

After shopping, he came back to his car and as he opened the door, pieces of paper blew towards him from the garbage can—the same ones he had ripped up and thrown there. Enraged, he gathered them up and set them ablaze with his lighter.

As he drove home he felt something on his left shoulder. He pulled it off, and glanced to see a piece of burnt paper. He stopped the car to read it: “The wages of sin is death”. A terrible fear came to his mind. With other Muslims, Abu believed in two recording angels, one recording good deeds, and the other bad. He presumed ‘Atid’, the one recording all of his sins and bad deeds, sat on his left shoulder.

Suddenly he felt something on his right shoulder. There he found another scrap of burnt paper. Taking it off he read: “The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” He also held the Islamic belief that another angel named ‘Raqib’ rested on his right shoulder recording his good deeds. In frightened wonderment, he placed the pieces of gospel tract in the dashboard.

Abu Omar could now barely sleep at night. He began pondering the biblical teachings on Jesus Christ. His habit had been to get up at dawn to go to the mosque for morning prayer.

While sleeping fitfully one night, Jesus appeared to him in a dream and said, “Stop being afraid! I am the first and the last: I am he that lives, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive forever and always. And I hold the keys to Death and Hell.” (Rev 1:17-18)

Abu Omar saw his nail-pierced hands and knew he had to be Jesus.  He rose from the bed immediately and prostrated himself before Him. When he found the courage to raise his head, the Lord disappeared. He then heard the call for morning prayer from the mosque, but didn’t go.

He rushed to his car to retrieve the pieces of burnt paper from the dash board. On the back of one, he found a mobile number and calling it, connected with Pastor Steve of Bibles for Mideast.

Pastor Steve shared the gospel, and Abu Omar accepted Jesus as his own personal savior and Lord. The pastor later presented  him with a bible, and invited him to join in the 21 days fasting and prayer called by the Assembly of Loving God (ALG) Church. Abu also began preparing for baptism.

Pastor Steve’s secret underground house church of Bibles for Mideast is in an area highly hostile to Christianity.  Please hold all these believers in your prayers.

The storms of heaven in Africa: punishment for some, salvation for others

Report: Ms. Minoo Hussain of Bibles for Mideast, Africa

March 15, 2017: A mob of Muslim extremists attacked the pastor and believers of a church of Bibles for Mideast in Central Africa today, charging at them with swords and iron bars and completely demolishing their church.  The group had been participating in the 21 days of fasting and prayer called by the Assembly of Loving God (ALG) Church.

Pastor Musthafa, who also coordinates Bibles for Mideast in Central Africa, had been leading the 40 (mostly women) in attendance in prayer. Church members were taking part in the fast, now into its third day.

The pastor, his family and most of the believers had all once followed Islam. For the last two years, all have been avid but underground followers of Jesus.

Many churches in the area have been destroyed by both fanatics and authorities (representational image)

Many churches in the area have been destroyed by both fanatics and authorities (representational image)

Believers from nearby had been joining with those gathered at the church for their prayer times, while local Muslims kept an eye on the comings and goings. Pastor Musthafa and his team had also been courageously visiting some Muslims in their homes to pray and invite them to attend the prayer services. Their evangelistic intent had obviously leaked out. Enraged Muslim leaders gathered a mob of 25 to 30 people for the assault. Government authorities in that region support the demolition of churches, and so rarely intervene.

Shouting “Allahu Akbar,” assailants forcibly entered the prayer hall, destroying all they could see, and ripping off the church roof.

One man stabbed the pastor’s neck with a large sword.  But just as suddenly, Pastor Musthafa felt an invisible person pull him away from the blade. The ‘invisible person’ proved to be a huge warrior angel. The attacker, unable to regain his composure or aim, ended up injuring himself with his own sword.  The attackers, now livid, began beating believers.

Heavy rain and blustery winds unexpectedly formed with thunder and lightning, swirling around the church and surrounding area. Massive drops of rain fell on the attackers like stones, throwing them into disarray. Yet the believers stayed dry and protected from the downpour. Everyone then became aware of a large cloud over-shadowing the church, shielding believers from the rain. Believers then saw the Lord Jesus in the cloud, and fell to their knees before Him.

clouds

“Hallelujah!” they began exclaiming at the tops of their lungs.

As always with our God, the connected miracle lies in the fact the region had been near-drought, so the thirsty ground and surroundings soaked up the sorely-needed water.

Seeing the praising believers safe from the deluge under what seemed to be the same cloud raining down on them, the attackers attempted to get to safety. But now huge hailstones fell from the cloud onto them, proving more painful than the rain. Attempting to escape, their legs, now coated with mud, made walking difficult. But somehow they managed to leave. The rain had fallen only in the immediate surroundings of the church, not other areas in the region.

Within minutes, the rain ended and the cloud disappeared. Believers could not stop praising and thanking the Lord—for His mighty protection from persecution, from what had seemed certain disaster, and that they had seen Him with their own eyes in that amazing cloud.

While the prayer and fasting had been scheduled to end by two that afternoon, by four they still sat in the ruins of the church, worshiping our risen Savior.

Update March 19, 2017God restores and redeems: an astounding update of attack on the African church!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jesus holding man painting.jpg

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

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

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

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

I asked, “Who are you?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gospel-hating drunkard finds Jesus and escapes disaster

Mr. Julannan hated it when anyone tried to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with him. He and his wife, while members of the Catholic Church, lived worldly lives and looked with contempt on any charismatic Christians they encountered. He had a drinking problem as well. When drunk, he’d become violent both at home and with neighbors. There were times locals found him lying by the roadside in an alcoholic stupor.

He especially abhorred people coming to his house to share the message of Jesus. One day, members of a Bibles for Mideast team visited. They handed him gospel tracts which he grabbed, only to then promptly set alight with a nearby box of matches.

“Get out of my house!” he yelled as the surprised visitors watched their precious tracts burn.

Travelling home from his contracting job one evening, Mr. Julannan passed an open-air gospel convention ground. With contempt, he spat in the direction of those gathered there, and continued on his way.

“Jesus is the instant help for your troubles!” he suddenly heard the convention speaker announce. “He is always before you, watching over you, and healing your sicknesses.” He stopped dead in his tracks as the voice continued.

“But you are crucifying Him by your sins," the man warned. "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. So confess, confess your sins before the Lord!”

The words pierced his heart. That night he couldn’t sleep.  He couldn’t shake the feeling—especially when it also invaded his dreams—that something terrible was heading his way. He tried to pray, but didn’t know how.

“Jesus, Jesus, Jesus,” was all he could say.  “JESUS! Save me Jesus!”

The next day as Mr. Julannan hurried to his job, he noticed with dismay a train approaching the railway crossing along his route. If he waited the long minutes for it to pass, he knew he’d be late for work. So he decided to take his chances and run for it. Partway across, the speeding train barrelled down on him, knocking him flat between the railway tracks. Onlookers screamed as they watched the disaster unfold.

Mrs & Mr Julannan receive bibles from leader of Bibles for Mideast, Paul ciniraj

Mrs & Mr Julannan receive bibles from leader of Bibles for Mideast, Paul ciniraj

As soon as the train passed, he leapt to his feet and off the tracks—without a scratch on his body. To the astonishment of bystanders, he explained how when the train ran over him, he cried out to the Lord Jesus. Immediately, he sensed someone hugging him tightly, cushioning him from the train roaring overhead, like a baby being sheltered by its mother. The Presence then disappeared just as quickly once the train had passed.

“I know my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ saved me from what should have been a horrible tragedy!” he repeated with renewed confidence.

Since he and his family had no bible at home, Bibles for Mideast provided them with several, which they now read and meditate on daily. Alcohol no longer holds him in its grip. Further, he and his wife have partnered with the ministry to joyfully distribute both bibles and gospel tracts—ablaze now with the fire of the Holy Spirit!

Gospel workers miraculously rescued from killer earthquake

Report: Pastor John 

I am Pastor John, leading a gospel team of Bibles for Mideast in South Asia, and have worked many years with Pastor Paul’s mission. I led a gospel team in Gandhidham, in the state of Gujarat in North India.

At 8:46 a.m. on January 26, 2001, a magnitude 9 earthquake lasting over two minutes shook Gujarat while citizens celebrated the 52nd Republic Day of India. It was one of the deadliest earthquakes in our country’s history. Around 20,000 people died, including 9110 women and 7065 children aged newborn to 14. The quake created 348 orphans and 826 widows.  170,000 were injured and more than one million left homeless. Many historical buildings were flattened.

The earthquake’s epicenter was 20 kilometers from Bhuj, a city in the region known as Kutch—the worst affected district. Several villages disappeared from the map completely. Many buildings fell like playing cards, and property damage totaled nearly $8 billion.

Ghandhidham is an important commercial city of Kutch District, 10 kilometers from India’s largest sea port, Kandla Port, and 40  kilometers from Bhuj, a city 90% destroyed by the earthquake. Kutch region alone reported more than 17,000 deaths. Close to 5,000 people died in the city of Gandhidham.

On that fateful day, we were about to begin a three-day missionary conference in a hotel in Ghandhidham.  Thirty-five pastors had travelled from different parts of India to take part, and had rooms on several floors of the five-story hotel. I decided to stay in my own house just a kilometer away since I did not want my wife and young children to be home alone.

The conference was supposed to start at 9.00 in the morning on the hotel’s third floor. I reached there, along with three of our gospel team members, by 8.30. We began arranging the conference hall for the meeting.

Suddenly, we heard a terrible sound from the ground floor. Thinking at first that hotel staff had started the generator, we were then startled as the building began to shake violently, like a pendulum. The noise almost deafened us, and it was impossible to even move a step in any direction.

I was thrown to the platform five meters away. The side wall of the conference room caved in, piercing through the slab of the next floor. Air conditioners and fans were tossed about, and tables, chairs and cupboards turned upside down. Within seconds, the hall filled with sand, dust and smoke.

I could not see my friends, or anything else around me. Before I could understand anything or even think of escape, I felt the whole building sink downward. I shouted to my friends and others who were in the hall to get out immediately. My ears and nose were covered with sand and dust and I could barely breathe. Coughing, I headed for the door and tried my level best to open it. It wouldn’t budge. So I cried out to the Lord Jesus.

“Jesus, you alone are our protector and you are able to save us!  Save us Lord!” I cried out "JESUS"again and again.

I then felt the presence of Jesus in the room, and felt His loving touch on my shoulder. Amazingly, I stopped coughing and was able to breathe again without trouble.  Looking  around,  I could see my friends were still suffocating.

By God’s infinite grace, all conference participants from every floor managed to get out safely. While the hotel’s walls and roof had collapsed, the floors had not given way. Sadly however, three hotel workers died. But in a hotel next to us, 24 were killed.  Certainly it was because of our Lord’s protection towards His children that we all escaped.

Outside, we heard screaming and saw dead bodies of both people and animals everywhere. Most buildings around were completely destroyed. Those who had escaped were running for their lives.

I of course had no idea what might have happened to my wife and children. I ran as quickly as possible towards our house, and along with my friends, called for the help of our Lord. When I saw my family standing outside of the house, I could do nothing but praise and thank God. Only our house windows and doors had been broken.  While many nearby homes had been destroyed and scores of people lost their lives, miraculously all of our gospel team members survived.

We began relief work immediately. Pastor Paul, the director of our ministry, somehow managed to reach us and joined in the aid efforts. With God’s help, we saved hundreds of people from the devastated buildings.

Narendra Modi visiting affected areas

Narendra Modi visiting affected areas

We must also mention the tremendous service offered by Mr. Narendra Modi, then Chief Minister of Gujarat (and India’s current Prime Minister). He led relief efforts over the region, visiting affected areas by hitching rides on people's motorbikes, or using any available mode of transport. Pastor Paul and myself met him during his visit.

While all conference participants were safe, they did lose everything they had brought with them. They also, with great difficulty, managed to return to their homes. No water, no electricity, no restaurants, no hospitals, radio or television— everything was in disarray. Eighty percent of all water and food sources had been destroyed. One man took more than 10 days to get back to his place, a journey normally 40 hours by train. Along the way he had to borrow what he could, including warm clothes, to survive.

One of our mission supporters, trapped beneath his collapsed home, felt the Lord protecting him under His wings. Relief workers finally found and rescued him three days later. Thirty-five hours after the quake, rescuers also found and rescued a small girl less than a year old trapped beneath a neighboring home.

Later I moved to another region and continue my involvement with the underground ministries of Bibles for Mideast, distributing bibles and planting house churches.

The righteous person may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all” (Psalm 34:19).

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

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

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

Standing in the ruins of the church

Standing in the ruins of the church

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He also finds the following scriptures apropos to the story:

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

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

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*Names changed for security reasons

Jesus and Salvation in Lydia’s West African Town 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lydia also shared her remarkable experience of healing with them.

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

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

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

Muslim prison officer dreams of Jesus' Glory and pastors wonderfully released

Our Lord Jesus Christ has wonderfully protected and released the recently-imprisoned pastors and believers from Bibles for Mideast. As reported last week, Pastors Irshad and Munvar, along with Farooq and Riyas (names changed for their protection) had been imprisoned in a secret jail in the Middle East (Bibles for Mideast Pastors brutally beaten, arrested and thrown in jail).  We praise and thank God for those fasting and praying for their release.

Police had forcibly entered the pastors’ room last week while they were praying and teaching a Bible class to new believers. The men, formerly local Muslims, had been attending worship services in the underground house church for the previous two months and were preparing for baptism.  After brutally beating them, police arrested and took the men to the local Shariah court.

Pastor Irshad describes below what happened in jail, and afterwards:

Police brought us to the religious (Shariah) court. We were accused of blasphemy charges against the prophet, as well as misguiding Muslims into a false religion. The court ordered we be imprisoned, and we were taken to a secret jail run by secret police.

We had a difficult first few days in prison. The jail wardens brutally beat and persecuted us. They tied our hands up through the hole of a steel bar which forced us into a bent position while they beat us. They served each of us only one Kubboos (local bread) each day. We never thought we’d ever get out alive.

We asked our Lord: “Where are You? Why won’t You come and save us?” We prayed, “If we have done any sin and iniquities, forgive us and purify us by your precious blood and save us from this situation.” And we repeated continuously, THE BLOOD OF JESUS IS OUR VICTORY!  We imagined the sufferings of our Lord, and it brought us comfort and peace.

On the third day, a top-ranking officer of the jails visited us. A tall, stout official, he asked the wardens to untie our hands. But we were unable to stand erect. The officer himself massaged our back with some lotion until we could raise ourselves up. He ordered the wardens to give us liberal servings of good food, and then disappeared into an office. We were sure our lives were about to end, and that his seemingly kind treatment was only a prelude to that.

He came back to us at night, alone this time, and sat down on the floor beside us (not an easy feat, but he managed). He then held our hands and asked us to pray for him. We looked at him with apprehension and fear.

The officer explained he’d had a dream about Jesus Christ the previous week! He saw the Lord Jesus sitting on a throne, he said, with an amazing orb of light rotating around Him. Millions of angels obeyed his orders. Large and small stars surrounded the orb. Jesus raised his hands and showed his nail-scarred palms, blood seeping out. The following two days he had the same dream. He began to think more and more about Jesus, and searched the internet for more information.

After three days, he had yet another dream. Jesus appeared before him and said, “My children are being tortured in your jail. I leave them before you. My children are the apple of my eyes.”

So he quickly cancelled all of his other plans and rushed to our jail. For three days he stayed in the official cottage of the prison, spending most of his time with us—praying, and learning more about Jesus and the Bible. And he accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as his personal saviour and Lord!

Whenever he visited, he would ask the jailer and wardens to leave us alone with him, so they figured we must be relatives. From then on they treated us well, apologizing for all they had done to us earlier. During this time, the officer also prepared and submitted our release papers before the court.  While the court initially rejected them, he continued to strongly argue our case and within two days we were discharged.

The official took us from the jail to his cottage, where we feasted and prayed together.  As our prayers finished, he asked that we baptize him.

“If you fully believe Jesus Christ, we can,” we replied.

“I believe in Jesus Christ who was crucified and died for me on the cross of Calvary and rose from the dead,” he answered. “I believe in him as my Saviour and Lord with my whole heart and soul!” So we baptized him, along with Farooq and Riyas.

The official then drove us in his own car back to safety.

“Continue your great work for the Lord,” he advised us. “But you must be careful to keep all you do in ministry very, very secret. The ruling authorities, religious authorities, courts and police will not accept you and your works. But the Kingdom of God is near and we have an amazing eternity. So keep up your efforts.”

We can honestly say we are not distressed at all that our Lord did not appear before us during our hardships. For at all times we felt His presence and comfort. He was and is with us.

Our Lord said, “In the world you will have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” [John 16:33] St. John describes in his epistle, “For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.” [1John 5:4-5]

We thank all those who were fasting and praying for us.

OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST IS WORTHY TO BE PRAISED.  ALL GLORY AND HONOUR TO HIM FOREVER AND EVER!  AMEN!!  HALLELUIAH!!!

(*names changed for security reasons)

Royal Family members believe in Jesus, now face death threats and prison

Report: Bibles for Mideast

Please pray for new believers in a ruling family of a country Bibles for Mideast has been making major Gospel inroads in. One family member was sentenced to death, and another, a supporter of evangelism, has been sent to prison.

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The man with the death sentence had been accused of a serious crime years ago. He confessed to it (and all his other sins!) and invited Jesus to take over his life. When asked by officials to renounce his new-found faith, he not only refused but persisted in encouraging the evangelistic efforts of others.

The court ultimately ordered his execution, ostensibly for the earlier crime but more obviously for the ‘hidden crime’ of conversion.

Another member of the same family has recently been imprisoned. Several others have died for their faith, and many face persistent death threats.

While Bibles for Mideast occasionally puts itself in danger by publishing such stories, we can no longer hide the truth. The blood of Jesus is the seed of the church. We believe for and can see—in the near future and by God’s grace—a new, faithful Christian land where this family lives.

Pontius Pilot ordered the crucifixion of Jesus, though he could find no fault in Him. Pilate feared the crowd, the Jewish rulers, losing his friendship with Caesar, and weakening his own authority. We can and will not do the same.

Please pray for this family and others sharing their faith in dangerous places. Bibles for Mideast, its ministers, believers and all other Christian missions involved in evangelism in the region need and appreciate your prayer support.

End Time prophecy about the Middle East

Special message from Pastor Paul

It is the end-time harvest. Our Lord will be returning to take His bride in glory at any time. Before His return we have to take the Gospel to the unreached, especially in the Muslim world. Because of that, we do not fear persecution or death for His name's sake.The harvest is plentiful and the laborers are few.

Our Lord has given us clear information about the Middle East through prophetic words. Within five to seven years, the Arabian Peninsula will face absolute devastation. Oil fields will burn and some countries will disappear.

And our Lord will break the power of Islam in order to set the nations of the Middle East free. Some populations will turn entirely to the Lord. The Glory of the Lord will be such that thousands, even those injured by nuclear radiation, will be healed!

By the guidance of the Holy Spirit, Bibles for Mideast ministers wholeheartedly for this great breakthrough and end-time harvest.

We ask the prayers of those waiting His soon coming in glory

“For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, ‘Peace and safety!’ then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all children of light and children of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober.” [1Thess 5:2-6]

Former radical Hindu man now testifies in most unusual way

Thankappan, a taxi driver in South Asia, once despised Christian missionaries. As a fanatic Hindu and active member of an anti-Christian movement, he often spoke out against Christianity and even organized people near Hindu temples to challenge the evangelistic activities of Christians.

Once, when an evangelist handed him a Gospel leaflet, he made a public display of burning it. Another time he argued with an evangelist and  ended up slapping him.

But Christ Jesus captured him and made use of him as a good vessel in His vineyard. And today he testifies Jesus as a miraculous man.

One day while driving his taxi a few years ago, he happened to drive near a Gospel meeting on a street corner.  Pastor Paul of Bibles for Mideast, himself a convert from Islam to Christianity, led the meeting. Seeing Pastor Paul, a former Muslim, and a former Hindu both witnessing for Christ enraged him. He spat in the diretion of the meeting through his car window.

At that very moment–while his anger distracted him—a huge truck ploughed into his car. Thankappan sustained multiple injuries and ended up in a coma in hospital. 

His intestines, both small and large, protruded from his abdomen. Doctors tried their best, but were unable to reposition them within his body. They declared he had less than a 0.01% hope of survival. So they created a pouch outside his body and just simply kept intestines together as a pack hanging below his waist, and stitched him up.  

While still comatose a few days later, something remarkable happened. He had a vision that Jesus Christ touched him and said, “I am giving you life again. Confess your sins and become my witness.”

When Thankappan opened his eyes, he saw Pastor Paul praying over him. Others, including his wife, stood nearby with tears in their eyes, expecting his death at any moment.

Though he had been unable to speak, he slowly opened his mouth and said to Pastor Paul, “Pastor, I spat at you. I spat at Jesus Christ. I persecuted the Lord Jesus and His servants. Forgive me. Forgive me. Ask my Lord to forgive me.”  Then he began to weep deeply.

A short time later, someone called for the doctor. He was amazed to see Thankappan had emerged from the coma, speaking and crying.

“This is a great miracle!” the doctor exclaimed.  

Thankappan was baptized and became an evangelist, distributing Christian literature and witnessing about Jesus all over the city.  His wife also became a believer and helped him in ministry. 

When preaching on street corners, he holds the Bible in one hand and reveals his unusual digestive pouch as part of his testimony.

“I was an enemy of Christians, but Jesus Christ loved me, made me alive and saved me from sin and death. Now I am His servant,” he declares. “I was persecuting Christians; but the Lord Jesus showed me how He mightily fights for His children. And I am a clear example for that.”

His grown children, living with their own families and also once strongly against Christianity have all accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior.

Thankappan still drives cars for his livelihood as well as being involved with our Lord’s ministries.

Pray for him and his entire family that they would continue to be used mightily as witnesses for the Lord.

Wonder how the Face of God looks?

Have you ever wondered what the face of God looks like? Have you ever thought what you would say to Him? What you would do in His presence?

I lay awake one night and began to think about what I would do. As I was praising Him, I kept thinking about other things. I wanted more, I wanted something more personal. Do I dare?

To start, I am a Christian. I have God’s only Son, Jesus Christ, first in my life. Then, thinking I was in heaven, I could hear chanting.

"Holy is the Lord God Almighty. Who was, and is and is forever more’’. At first, I can’t see a thing. I can only hear the chanting. It is beautiful. You can’t describe it. You can just say it is the most beautiful and wonderful sound you have ever heard.

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I listen for a time and realize that there is no darkness, only light. I could see! The light is not blinding, but a pure light. A light that gives you a sense of warmth and peace. You feel drawn to the light but there is no source. There is only the warm, soothing pure light. A light with no beginning, it is everywhere and everlasting!

Something touched me as I was enjoying the presence of everything. I heard a voice say, ‘’ Come with me, I want to show you something’’.

I could now see, hear and feel. Everything was so wonderful, what more could there be? As I looked, I saw my life before me. The good things, the bad things and the missed blessings I could have had. For the first time there was sorrow in me. The sorrow was for me, and those I should have tried to witnessed to. I had the realizations that I may not have lead someone to know Jesus as I did, to know Jesus as their personal Savior. There was such sorrow in my soul. I thought I could have done more and could have done it better.

At once, I was at the foot of the most splendid individual you could envision. The experience and feeling was far beyond any explanation. I was happy to stay there. There were twenty-four saints seated with Him. I believed they were the leaders of the twelve tribes of the Jews and the twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ. There were angels going to and from the twenty-four with reports and tasks to do.

The twenty-four saints were continually praising God the Father, the Creator, the Almighty.

I felt a touch. A warm, gentle touch. It was Jesus, my Savior, my Lord and Kinsmen-Redeemer, The Prince of Peace. He is my Shepherd. I remembered His words that He would remain at the right hand of God the Father. His elect will be with Him forever.

Jesus said, “Cover your face for now. There is much to do. I need saints who will be willing to give their all, even their life to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ.’’ Again I became sad for those who have and will lose their lives to spread the Gospel to lost souls who are following the deceiver, Satan.

I heard Jesus talk to the Father but could not understand what was said. Jesus said to me, ‘’Come here, I want you to meet the Father.’’

As I kept my head down, not wanting to look up, I felt myself weak and falling to my knees. I heard Jesus introduce me to the Father as His good and faithful servant. It was an introduction, but really I felt so unworthy of it.

I kept thinking the only reason I was there is because of the willingness of His Son to redeem me from Satan’s hold on me. Mankind is so unworthy. I am so undeserving. God is so caring. He didn’t need to do this for me.

I found myself chanting, "Worthy is the Kinsmen-Redeemer of the world. All praise and honor is to be given to Him and the Father.’’ I kept saying it over and over.

An angel came over to me and stood between the Father and me. He told me to look up. As I looked up, I could see the outline of Glory. The silhouette of the angel only just dimmed the brightness and warmth of the light of the face of God.

How does the face of God look? His face is greater than the best you could ever describe here on earth. If you could come into the physical presence of the Father and see Him, you would want to stay there and worship Him forever.

Please pray with me.

"Give us the strength, dear Heavenly Father, to endure the temptations of this world. Keep Your saints safe. Empower us with the Holy Spirit to be witnesses around the globe till the day of the return of our Lord Jesus Christ, Amen !"