In a country in the Middle East, a young Muslim man recently passed by a local ministry’s church site and picked up a New Testament from the stack outside. “He took it home, secretly read from it and hid it, because he feared what his family might do to him,” the ministry leader said. The 22-year-old Muslim had no idea his older brother was also secretly exploring Christianity.
The pope’s historic visit to Iraq in March presented massive security challenges, with all military and civil security forces taking stringent measures. Soldiers at checkpoints were instructed to seize the cargo of any transport vehicle, and before one major papal event they confiscated local missionaries’ carload of 1,000 Bibles. “The strange thing is that we met several people while walking in the streets carrying the same Bibles that we distribute, and when we asked them, they said that they got them from the checkpoint,” a ministry leader said.
A 30-year-old Kurdish woman was one of 6,000 Yazidis seized when ISIS militants invaded Iraq in 2014. Yazidi religion being especially despised by Muslim extremists, over the next three years she was sold to fighters of different factions who raped her and her daughters. When she was freed, her parents did not recognize her.
An influential Shia Muslim leader in a Middle Eastern country heard Allah telling him to go to a majority-Sunni Muslim country to convert Sunnis to Shia Islam – or so he thought.
Zain was well suited to Allah’s call: Soon he had converted a number of Sunni Muslims to Shia Islam.
Somehow, God broke through to him – and his Shia converts. The native missionary who baptized them is still wondering how it all happened.
Abdel, a young man in a Middle Eastern country, knew something was wrong when his mother showed up at his apartment with a checkbook in one hand and a burial cloth in the other. It had deeply wounded her when Abdel told her he had left Islam to become a Christian. He knew that embracing Christ would mean being shunned by his family.
The rebel fight for Afrin in northern Syria has driven thousands of civilians out of the city, including Christians who fear for their lives as they find themselves displaced alongside radical Muslims.