By -NO AUTHOR-
Conversions of Saul
Editor’s note: The information from this story is provided by Bibles for Mideast, an underground ministry focusing on Bible distribution, evangelism and house-church planting in the Middle East, South Asia and parts of Africa.
A Muslim who says he beat and killed Christians because of their faith and says he was miraculously healed from bullet wounds he received in one of those attacks has not only converted but become the pastor of a home church in an undisclosed Islamic country, according to Bibles for the Mideast.
Zakkir, a pseudonym, and his father lived to uphold the many religious rules governing their solidly 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 reservations about resorting to violence.
Zakkir’s father served in an often-merciless Islamic religious force known as Muttawa, while 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.
“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 said.
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 said, “and killed three of them.”
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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.
“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.
Zakkir’s friends sped him to the hospital where 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.
Meanwhile, Bibles for Mideast director Pastor Paul “just happened” to be visiting the country with several other missionaries at the time. While in prayer, he says 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 co-workers suggested we take along separate clothes for him, since he would be in a hospital gown.”
He and three other evangelists headed off to the hospital, found Zakkir’s room, and began to pray over his comatose body.
“At this moment,” Zakkir recalls. “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 said. 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.
Zakkir hardly needed convincing. He got up, accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior. 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 house church in his country.
Zakkir said: “I am not worthy to be a pastor of our Lord’s church, for I was persecuting the church,” he says, sounding like the Apostle Paul writing to the Corinthians. “But I am pastoring an underground church. We are taking care of the persecuted Christians who were former Muslims.”
Paul, previously known as Saul, had murdered and arrested Christians in Israel before his miraculous conversion on the road to Damascus.
In 1 Corinthians 15:9, Paul said: “For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.”
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