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

Report: Bibles for Mideast and the ALG Church

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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names changed for security reasons

Warrior angels just one factor in many connected radical salvations

Report: Bibles for Mideast and an underground ALG Church

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some angels you do not want to mess with

Some angels you do not want to mess with

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

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

“Don’t kill me!” he screamed.

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

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

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

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

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

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* names changed for security reasons

Hindu sorcerer turns to Christ and now lives for Him

Venkatesan, born into a Hindu Dalit (depressed or ‘untouchable’ class) family in India grew up worshiping idols and learning black magic from his sorcerer father. His mother, however, regularly attended Christian prayer meetings. She constantly prayed for her family, and attempted to teach them about the divine help and salvation possible in Jesus alone. But they would have nothing to do with her beliefs.

Venkatesan, disagreeable even as a young person, grew even more depraved as the years passed. He constantly squabbled with others, and hatred toward him increased.

One day when he was 32 and out on his bicycle, he attempted to cross a motorway. An oncoming truck rammed into him, dragging him a fair distance and continuing on without stopping. He lay near death by the side of the road for close to an hour, blood flowing continuously from his wounds.  No one would stop or help; all presumed him dead. When the police finally arrived and found faint signs of life, they had him transported to the hospital. He remained there in a coma for several days.

His mother stood by him with her prayers. Her church family, a Bibles for Mideast church, prayed and fasted for Venkatesan as well.

While all this was going on, Venkatesan had a vision of Christ coming down from heaven with thousands of angels and then felt him touch him with his nail-pierced hands.

"I love you my child,” he heard Jesus say. “You are always my child; I will never leave you alone and my love will never end. Be healed!"

Venkatesan receives Bibles for further distribution

Venkatesan receives Bibles for further distribution

Venkatesan opened his eyes. He saw his mother and the members of the prayer team kneeling beside his bed and praying, their eyes full of tears. He called out to his mother. In joyful surprise she praised the Lord! 

Medical staff, hearing the commotion, rushed in to his bedside and he lost no time in telling them exactly what he had just experienced. His doctors declared it a miracle, and he declared he would now live for Jesus Christ!

His and his mother’s prayers, and the witness of their lives for Christ, encouraged Venkatesan’s father to turn to Jesus before he died several years later. Now married and with a son, he remains faithful in service to the Lord through the ministries of Bibles for Mideast.

Please keep him, his family and the many others serving Jesus in restricted areas of the world in your prayers. We could not keep functioning without you!

From hired thug, to the morgue, to serving Jesus!

Report: Bibles for Mideast

Kunjukunju and his family came from the lowest rung of Indian society, the Dalit or ‘untouchable’ class [while now officially outlawed, the caste system in India still operates in less obvious ways—Ed.]. They worshipped Hindu idols and practiced sorcery.

A powerfully-built young man, his face marked by a prodigious horn-like moustache draped around his mouth, he worked as a ‘goonda,’ or hired thug, for several wealthy individuals.

As an enforcer for such questionable enterprises, he made a good number of enemies. One day about 20 aggrieved victims of his strong-arm tactics decided to get even, surrounding him and brutally attacking. When he fell bloodied and unresponsive to the pavement, they left him lying there—presumably dead—and ran off.

Police found his battered body in the street and checked his vital signs. Finding none, they transported his body to the morgue. During the routine post-mortem examination, the medical examiner got the surprise of his life when one his toes moved!

Astounded by this—and now detecting a faint pulse—the pathologist immediately transferred Kunjukunju to a local hospital.

Kunjukunju with Bibles for distribution

Kunjukunju with Bibles for distribution

After he’d regained consciousness and stabilized, some workers with Bibles for Mideast visited him in his room. They told him Jesus loves him and that only Jesus can conquer death, demonstrated by his bodily resurrection from the dead.

Having been himself given up for dead—like Lazarus—Kunjukunju could see that God really had given him a second chance at life.

The evangelists as clearly as possible explained the message of the Gospel to him. He followed their words carefully, nodding his head. Finally, his heart overcome, he repented of his sins and accepted Jesus Christ as his personal savior and Lord.

The workers put their hands on his head and prayed. As they did, Kunjukunju saw Jesus standing before him smiling and holding out his arms, and then he felt himself being pulled in closely for a hug. With childlike faith, he knew that he could lean on Jesus for the rest of his life. The Lord Jesus came into his heart, imparting a deep settled peace to both his mind and heart, something he had never known or felt before.

After he left the hospital he was baptized, God anointed him with the Holy Spirit, and showered him with the fruits of the Spirit.

As Kunjukunju grew in the Lord, he began to speak in churches, prayer meetings and corner meetings. He also began distributing bibles with Bibles for Mideast … all of which he continues to do! He now goes by the name Kunjukunju Upadesi, ‘Upadesi’ meaning adviser or gospel preacher.

Please keep him and all our workers and churches in your prayers.

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.

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* 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]