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)

__________________

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.