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Sunday, November 5th 2006

10:40 AM

Churches Destroyed in Israel

Churches Destroyed in Israel
 
Gaza, October 31, 2006: Islamic militants attacked and burnt churches in Palestinian territories by throwing firebombs and poured gasoline in Palestinian territories, including an ancient church in Gaza built on 6th century. Underground Missionary of the At Anycost Jesus Mission reported. 
    
A 170 year old church in Palestine ruled Tulkeram was completely destroyed. Its pews and ornate door turned into blackened wrecks of charcoal. Other churches were attacked in the militant hotbed of Nablus.

The gunmen opened fire and hitting the building at the St. Perfidious Greek Orthodox Church in Gaza. It is an ancient church, over 1425 years old.

There are a few thousand Christians in Gaza, but the community is in danger of disappearing because of emigration and intermarriage—and now, persecution.

Rosette Sayyegh said she was publicly insulted while shopping in Gaza and wearing a big golden cross. “An old, bearded, respectable-looking man wearing a white robe stood in front of me and said, ‘I spit on your cross,’” she sighed.

Groups such as the “Sword of Islam” and the “Lions of Monotheism” claimed responsibility, accusing the pope of leading a new Crusade against the Moslem world.

The dwindling Christian community in the Holy Land is facing a growing challenge from the Islamic militancy that is sweeping through the Palestinian territories. Christians in Judea, Samaria, Gaza and East Jerusalem are believed to number 50,000, which is about 2 percent of the population.

“The attacks on Christian institutions point to the precarious position of Christians in the Holy Land,” said Daniel Rossing, director of the Jerusalem Center for Jewish-Christian Relations.
 
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Sunday, November 5th 2006

10:38 AM

73 year old Pastor burns himself in Islam protest

73 year old Pastor burns himself in Islam protest
 
Berlin (Germany), November 1, 2006:  A retired protastant pastor Rev. Roland Weisselberg had climbed into a construction site adjacent to the Augustinerkloser church in the city of Erfurt on Tuesday, 31st of October, while Reformation Day services were being carried out. He doused himself in gasoline and then set himself alight. He died in the burns unit at the city of Halle.  

At a news conference, the provost of the church, Elfried Begrich said that Rev. Ronald Weisselberg had detailed in a letter that the Protestant church should be more aware of the threat posed by the spread of Islam.

He had said before he covered himself in petrol: "Jesus and Oskar." This is assumed to be a reference to Oskar Bruesewitz, a priest who burned himself alive in 1976 to protest against the communist government of East Germany.

Reverend Weisselberg had lived under the communist regime of East Germany, and had worked as a publisher before becoming priest. Axel Noack, the bishop of Saxony said that he was shocked at Rev. Weisselberg's self-immolation. Noack stressed that Christians could not accept a "clash of cultures". He admitted that the issue of Islam had been sidelined within the church, and in the east of Germany, it was only spoken about in private. There were few Muslims there with whom they could engage in dialogue, Noack claimed.
 
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Friday, November 3rd 2006

8:29 AM

Assiriyan Christian boy beheaded in Iraq

Assiriyan Christian boy beheaded in Iraq
 
Baqouba (Iraq): 30 October, 2006: A 15 year old Assyrian Christian boy named Ayath Taariq was beheaded in a factory by some of the muslim insurgents on October 21, 2006, missionary of the At Anycost Jesus Mission in Iraq reported.
 
Ayath Taariq was appointed to maintain a generator in a factory by an electrical agency in Baqouba. He was at the beginning of a 12 hour shift in the morning. When he was becoming ready for the work, some of the disguised muslim insurgents came to him and asked his identity card.
 
In his identity card it was recorded that he was a Christian. The insurgents asked him, "Are you a Christian sinner?"
 
Ayath Taariq replied, "I am a Christian, saved from sin by Jesus Christ. So I am not a sinner".
 
The insurgents became angry and shouted at him, "You dirty christian sinner, you have no chance to live". Then they caught him by force, telling slogans "Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar Valillahil Hamdu" and cut off the head.
 
Ayath Taariq was the only earning member of the family. His father was died few years back. He has a sick mother, an younger brother and an younger sister in his family.
 
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Friday, November 3rd 2006

8:24 AM

Paulin Mehabooba also found murdered

Paulin Mehabooba also found murdered
 
Dr.Paulin Mehabooba
 
Azad Kashmir (Pakistan), October 29, 2006: The dead body of Dr.Paulin Mehabooba (37 years old), the wife of Dr.Mehaboob of At Anycost Jesus Mission also found in Neelum river near Ratti Gali  pass where Dr.Mehaboob's body was found. None of the believers could do anything with the dead bodies for the burial. Because the believers feared it was the trick of the militants to catch the missionaries and the believers. They guess the bodies might have been eaten by the water creatures or some wild animals from the forest.
 
There is no news about Sherin (11) and Shelvin (7), the remaining daughters of Dr.Mehaboob family. The older boy Shalom (15) and older girl Sharon (14) were brutally murdered and dead bodies were burnt on 1st of September.
 
Believers at Dawarian also under severe persecution.
 
The militants are very strong in this region and there are many militant training camps too. Huge amount of money reaching them from outside for their activities. A good amount will be distributed among the local families. So the local people highly supporting them. Many of the families compulsarily sending their children for the training.
 
Around 80 militants have been killed in an air strike by Pakistani forces on a madrassa (religious school) used as a militant training camp on Sunday, 29th of October, 2006. The attack took place near Khar, the main town in Bajaur. More than two helicopters involved in the attack.
 
Habel, the co-ordinator of the At Anycost Jesus Mission in Pakistan is in a hidden place, for the militants searching him widely for sentencing to death.
 
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Monday, October 30th 2006

8:15 PM

Muslim Convert to Christianity Killed in Somaliya

Mogadishu in Somalia: A 22 year old Muslim convert to christianity named Ali Mustaf Makail was murdered in the Manabolyo Quarter of Mogadishu in Somalia on 7th of Septemeber, 2006. Just an year ago he accepted Jesus as his personal saviour. He was a university student, at the same time he was earning for his own as a cloth merchant.

There was a special congregational prayers for chanting Koran verses in honour of the lunar eclipse; for the lunar eclipses and the Solar system are significant among the Somalian Muslims. Ali Mustaf Makail refused to join with this congregational prayers. That is the reason a gunman, who was loyal to the Islamic Courts Union shot him and killed. Mogadishu and some other southern parts of Somalia is under the control of Islamic Courts Union since last June.

Osman Sheik Ahmed was an underground missionary and a house church leader of At Anycost Jesus Mission. He was shot dead by the extremists of Islam during the month of October, 2005. Three of our believers also shot and killed just two months ago while they were going back hone after the house church prayer service.

Those who leave Islam for another religion must be killed according to the law of shari'a in Islam. Hassan Dahir Aweys, one of the leaders of ICU said that they will implement Sahria in all areas they are controlling.

Kindly pray for the believers and the missionaries in Somalia.
 
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Monday, October 30th 2006

8:07 PM

Missionary's children brutally murdered


Sharon and Shalom

Muzaffarabad (Pakistan), October 7, 2006: 15 year old son and 14 year old daughter of an underground missionary couple of the At Anycost Jesus Mission were brutally murdered and dead bodies were burnt by the unidentified militants in one of the northern districts of Pakistan on 1st of September, 2006. Shalom was the boy and Sharon was the girl, who were secondary school students.  Habel, another underground missionary of the At Anycost Jesus Mission said this news from a hidden place.
 
burnt dead bodies of Shalom and Sharon

Police and military forces are supportive to the militants. Habel and family was also attacked and their house was burnt. But Lord has enabled them to escape to a hidden place. 

They demolished a church and some houses were set on fire too.

Shalom and Sharon were kidnapped alongwith their missionary parents and two other younger sisters 10 days before the murder.  Militants asked them to convert towards Islam and work against christians and christinaity. They refused. So militants killed Shalom first. Then they raped the girl and cut one of her breasts In front of the parents. She too died. Habel said.

The militants left the dead bodies in a ditch alongwith a motorbyke, poured the petrol and burnt. The police declared a false statement that it was an accident and the petrol tank of the byke was opened while they were fallen into the ditch and burnt by a spark.

Believers are under the great trouble and fear. They are forcely over controlled by the militants. Not alloweded to pray or not even to speak a single word about Christ or Christianity or Christians. Habel said.

Related with the same subject, tribal people and their leaders also being murdered in the Neelum Valley.

At Anycost Jesus Mission is an underground evangelism ministry for the evangelisation of Muslim nations.
 
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Monday, October 30th 2006

7:57 PM

Body of the Missionary Found in Neelum River

Dr. Mehaboob and Paulin
 
Muzaffarabad, October 20, 2006: The dead body of Dr. Mehaboob, the missionary of At Anycost Jesus Mission in Pakistan found in Neelum river on October 18. He was 42 years of age. Two of his children Shalom and Sharon were brutally murdered and the dead bodies were burnt on 1st of September.

His wife Paulin Mehabooba (37 years old) and the youngest daughters Sherin (11 years old) and Shelvin (7 years old) are still missing.

Dr. Mehaboob was a Muslim. He was born in Bahawalpur in Pakistan. He accepted Jesus Christ as his personal saviour while he was studying. He married a christian girl named Paulin about 17 years ago. His conversion and marriage created problems. They would have been killed by his relatives. But they escaped and lived in Peshawar for few years. They started proclaiming the Gospel there. Many people accepted Jesus. And they were attacked and their first boy child (who was eldor to Shalom) was murdered on his 7 years of age. So they left Peshawar and came to Muzaffarabad. And continued their ministry in between Muzaffarabad and Baltit.

At Anycost Jesus Mission started on 1st of January, 2000 as a millenium project for the underground evangelisation of the Muslim nations. Dr. Mehaboob is one of the founders of the Mission. There are 78 underground missionaries serving in different nations to reach the Gospel to the Muslims, in which eight are from Pakistan.

The militants asked Dr. Mehaboob family to stop missionary activites and convert back to Islam with the believers. They offered a big amount to convert back to Islam and join with their group. They very much appreciated the way of the underground ministry Dr.Mehaboob and the team doing. They wanted to utilise his efforts and talents to fight against christianity. Dr. Mehaboob and family totally refused them and boldly said that Christ is our Saviour and we will stand behind His shadow till the last breath of our life. He was beaten several times. Around 15 to 20 people kidnapped the boy Shalom on 8th of August. They forcely and roughly circumcised him. They used iron weights and rusty knives for the circumcision. Then they left the boy back home. He became sick, suffered too much pain, pus came out from penis and could not urinate for two or three days. The militants gave the warning it was only an advance. Dr. Mehaboob approched the Police to file a case. But the police did not register a case, and  said that they would be charged against Mehaboob for attempting murder to his son. All the believers gathered in his house everyday and prayed. It made the militants angry.

On 21st of August, the whole family of Dr. Mehaboob was kidnapped. Believers were beaten severly whenever they try to join for prayers. The police was supporting the militants.

The militants raped the girls in front of the parents. Sharon, the older girl rebuked, so they cut one of her breasts. Both Shalom and Sharon were killed. The militants left the dead bodies in a ditch alongwith a motorbyke, poured the petrol and burnt them. The  police  said those are unidentified dead bodies. And made a false statement that it was an accident and the petrol tank of the byke was opened while they were fallen into the ditch and burnt by a spark.

Since then there was no news about Mehaboob, wife and remaining two girls. It was informed to the related authorities of the government.
 
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Saturday, October 28th 2006

1:29 AM

Testimony of Seham

I want to give praise and glory to God almighty and to Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Alpha and Omega. Jesus Christ the Word who came into the world to save a sinner like me. The same Savior wants to save you too, and his love is forever.
 
How I became a Christian? What I experienced words can't explain. I was transformed and became a new person, I was set free from a lie, I saw the light, and I experienced a new life with Christ "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulations, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?" Roman 8:35 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us" Roman 8:37
 
I was born in a Middle Eastern country from a Muslim family of eleven children, the only education my father had was how to read the Koran and write. My mother had no education because of the Islamic belief that there is no need for girls to have education. She became a wife at the age of 13 to a much older man. Women's opinions and rights were ignored and oppressed, they did not enjoy the freedom Christian and Jewish women enjoyed. I was the only girl among my sisters that had some education. I had no choice but to accept the way I lived and suppressed my feeling of unrest in the family. I never thought one day that I would live in a Western country. It just did happen. I left with members of the family to this new country which became my home and I loved it. I did not know about Judaism and Christianity and the Holy Bible, Islam kept me in the darkness. The Quran taught me that Jews and Christians are infidels (Kuffar), it taught me if I reject Islam I will be also an infidel (Kaffir). Women do t have to go to the mosque, it is not important and if they go they are separated., this is the practice of Islam in the Middle East and Muslim countries, if you see it differently in the West, that is not the true Islam, they are changing it to attract the westerners to follow this belief.
 
I was 17 years old when one day I was down and depressed, it was a new beginning for me in this foreign country. I went for a walk in the street alone, I felt no one can understand me at that time, only the creator who I loved and feared, but there was a wall a barrier and emptiness and doubts. Across the street was the house of a neighbor that I never met, the door was opened and the children were going in and out happily, I approached the door and I was shy. A sweet old lady asked me about my name, I told her that my name is Seham, she lived alone she was peaceful, joyful, smiling friendly and respected woman. I did a fast comparison in my mind, I saw the joy on this woman that my mother did not have, then she asked me if I go to church, I told her I don t , then she asked me, do if I knew Jesus Christ as Lord? I was interested and curious. I asked her to tell me about Jesus, in a few words, she told me about Jesus , His second coming to judge the world and stopped. She gave me a Bible and a small oklet about the Lord Jesus' second coming, on the front page was the photo of Jesus. I took them from her, but she asked me if I can give or share this Bible with my brother. I left her house rushing home, I felt I wanted to know Jesus. I did not know this Christian woman, not even her name. So I went straight home and secretly I entered my bedroom, closed the door and alone without telling any one, I turned the Bible pages. I told myself that later I would read it, but I was not patient I wanted fast response from Jesus because I needed help Immediately, I held the booklet she gave me in my hands and on it was a picture about the second coming, but I did not want to read it, I held it in my hands, and I said Jesus you the Lord help me, I need help, I was on my knees calling Jesus to help me, I wept, my tears were coming down, trying to get relief. I felt tired and weak I wanted to sleep, as I got up I was in doubt, I said maybe he did not hear me. I laid my head on the pillow closed my eyes, I saw unusual dream that I was alone outside, all of a sudden the sky was darkened, I looked up , I saw the sky opened, immediately I knelt down in shock and speechless, looking at this opening in the sky, a bright shining light I saw a man, wearing a long white robe slim with long hair till shoulder neat and a short beard, standing in the middle of this bright light, He looked with power, behind Him a few men were standing in a raw wearing pure white robes, they have white short hair and a white short beard it was pure white, but my eyes was fixed on this great man standing. I also saw a beautiful throne, a chair, I felt this man has control and power, then He began to come down towards me standing on a small cloud, on His right a man all in white hair and short beard and have white wings riding a white horse, on His left side a man with the same description, both coming down but He is in the middle ahead of them, then he stopped in the air and both of them stopped. He looked down at me I was in shock speechls my mind was telling me He looked like Jesus. I was on my knees, He looked serious and He said these words: "What do you want?"
 
I was surprise, speechless and I did not know what to say, I felt, who am I? that this great man is coming down for me, I was trembling not knowing how to answer Then He said to me: You will live another life." He spread His hands, beautiful pure sparkling drops felt on me, I was electrified and comforted, then He moved far away and stopped, I couldn't explain why He made that stop again at a distance? Then He returned back at the opening of the sky, when it closed, a strong earthquake shook the ground I was still in the same spot on my knees. I saw stones falling down but none touched me. I woke-up in the morning knowing that what I saw that night was unusual I couldn't forget it. I told myself this person is Jesus Christ no doubt, I felt no one will believe me, so I kept it to myself. I did not go back to this woman to tell her what happened, I avoided her completely, I did not know why? I never saw her again. But don't forget, there is a spiritual warfare that was the reason why. I went on with my life and I tried to forget the dream, so It will not affect my Muslim belief and I had felt If I got closer to Christianity I will become a disbeliever and subject to what the Quran teaches.
 
One day I got rid of the booklet and gave away the Bible after I kept them in my drawer for a while, so that way they will not affect my belief and the fear of becoming a Christian, this gave me uneasy feeling. But I could not apply Islam, I felt always an obstacle it did not benefit me, and every time I read the Quran I was down, uncomfortable and have an unexplainable fear. How changeable and unpredictable feeling surrounded me. I felt like a barrier exist, an emptiness not filled I used to think this is how it should be when I worship God.
 
Years passed by, and the dream will come back to my memory. One day I was visiting my sister in law at her residence we were watching television. I turned the channels and there was someone speaking, but deep in my heart I wanted to hear about Jesus and the Bible, but we both wanted to laugh at his speech pick on him and he repeated a word as we were laughing, all of a sudden he hesitated and spoke these words, he said: "there is a lady watching, her name is Seham, you are 33 years old, the Lord is going to work with you."
 
When I heard what he said I was speechless and we both stopped laughing looking to each other surprised. These words did not affect my sister in law as it did affect me. I told myself it couldn't be me? I am a Muslim, maybe someone else has the same name, same age... I tried to forget it for a while.
 
Few years later, it happened one day when I was at home. I felt helpless without hope, and this world is leading me down the hill. All of a sudden, I felt weak and a thought told me: why you don't seek Jesus? I answered back:: how? And a thought told me: go to a church, find a church. I listened, I felt at ease, I drove determined to stop at a church that I used to pass by many times before. I was anxious, the door was opened, I entered, I was alone all was quiet, but my eyes focused on a big crucifix on the wall. I felt that I needed to kneel, when I knelt I was touched, my tears came down, I said: "Jesus, you did it for me as I stirred at the cross, at that moment." I gave my heart to the Lord Jesus Christ, I was very sorry I waited too long to know Jesus. I felt a peace never experienced before, the barrier broke, my burdens, my worries were gone, and I was set free. "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:32
 
I felt the love of Jesus for me and for all of us, it was a new life a new beginning for me with the Lord. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" John 3:16
 
Later the Lord guided me to open the Holy Bible at a page that talks about baptism. I wanted to follow the Lord's words I wanted to get baptized, and I didn't know what it meant. Then I was led to a woman, that I never met before, I contacted her, and she was surprised because I was a stranger to her. We arranged to meet, and her name was Hala. At that time I didn't know about the divisions of Christianity. What was on my mind is to follow Jesus Christ and to fulfill his word.
 
Hala told me she belongs to another church, the Orthodox Church, I told her it's OK with me if this is God's will. She arranged the appointment between me and the priest. So it happened before the baptism the evil one tried to interrupt. I was disappointed and I complained to the Lord Jesus, I depended on the Lord . At the end the baptism happened, the priest was helpful to me. The Lord is my strength I was alone in this journey only the Lord understood me. Through the Holy Bible I received many answers to my questions.
 
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Saturday, October 28th 2006

1:27 AM

Testimony of Zia Nodrat

In Kabul, Afghanistan, during 1964, a fourteen year old boy, Zia Nodrat, enrolled in the NOOR Institute for the Blind. He already knew the whole Qur'an by heart. In Western terms that would be like an English speaker memorizing the complete New Testament in Greek, since Arabic was not Zia's mother tongue. He completed the six primary grades of the Institute in three years.
 
While attending his classes in Braille in the Institute for the Blind, Zia also mastered English. He did this by listening and repeating what he heard on a transistor radio. With the help of a small ear plug, he heard programs coming into Afghanistan from other countries. He eventually started asking questions about what he had heard, such as, "What do you mean by the substitutionary atonement?" He had heard such theological concepts during Christian radio broadcasts like the Voice of the Gospel coming from Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, Africa.
 
Finally, he shared with a few persons that he had received Jesus the Messiah as his personal Saviour. They asked him if he realized that he could be killed for this, since the Islamic Law of Apostasy for anyone leaving Islam is death. He answered, "I have counted the cost and am willing to die for the Messiah, since He has already died on the cross for me."
 
Zia then became the spiritual leader of the few Afghan Christians. In the Institute for the Blind in Kabul, the students elected him as the president of their association. But the next year after it was known that he had become a Christian, he lost the election for this position. One of his Christian teachers told him how sorry she was that he lost. He replied, quoting the prophet John the Baptist who said of Jesus, "He must become greater, I must become less" (John 3:30). His goal in life was not to seek prominence for himself, but to be a humble servant of his Lord. Zia's father said that before he had entered the Institute for the Blind, he had been like a cold and unlit piece of charcoal. After his experience there, he had become like a red hot, brightly burning coal.
 
Once he borrowed the English Braille copy of the Gospel of John. He opened it and read with his fingers. He then returned it and said that his question had been answered. When asked what his question was, he replied that in John 13:34 Jesus said, "A new commandment I give you that you love one another." He wondered why the Lord Jesus called it "new," since the commandment "love your neighbour as yourself" had already been given to Moses, as recorded in the Old Testament Book of Leviticus 19:18. But now he understood. He explained that until the incarnation of the Messiah the world had never before seen love personified. He went on to state that the Bible reveals that God is love, and that Jesus as God in human flesh is love incarnate. This was what made the mandate new. Jesus said, "A new commandment I give you that you love one another as I have loved you." In his perfect life Jesus has now given us a new model to follow.
 
Zia was the first blind student to attend regular sighted schools in Afghanistan. There he had a small recorder with which he taped everything his teachers said, so that he could go over it and learn it thoroughly. He thus became the number one student out of hundreds at his grade level. Those who failed in their classes were given a second chance to take examinations after the three month vacation. He studied the next year during this break and passed the tests. In this way he completed high school, finishing two grades each year.
 
Zia wanted to study Islamic Law so that he could defend Christians who might be persecuted for their faith. He therefore entered in the University of Kabul, from which he graduated with his law degree. He also studied Calvin's Institutes on the side since he wanted to grasp the concepts of this Reformation leader.
 
The Christoffel Blind Mission in Germany gave the Institute for the Blind in Afghanistan an extensive library of Braille books in German. Since Zia wanted to read these, along with his other classes he went to the Goethe Institute in Kabul and learned German. As the top student there too, he won a scholarship to go to Germany to study advanced German. When the Germans found out that he was blind, they withdrew the fellowship since they did not have the arrangements or accommodations for a blind person. He asked them what he would have to do. They replied that he would have to travel alone and take care of himself. When he agreed to do that, they finally accepted him. While studying there with top students from Goethe Institutes around the world, he was number one in this advanced course as well.
 
Zia also translated the New Testament from Iranian Persian into his own Afghan Dari dialect. This was published by the Pakistan Bible Society in Lahore. Its third edition was published by the Cambridge University Press in England in 1989. He also travelled to Saudi Arabia where he won a memory contest on the Qur'an. The Muslim judges were so amazed and chagrined that a non-Arabic speaker had taken first space, that they also awarded another prize for the best Arab in the competition. Because different blind students like Zia had become Christians, in March of 1973 the Muslim government in Afghanistan sent a written order closing the two Institutes for the Blind, one of which was in Kabul and the other seven hundred miles to the west in Herat. All the expatriate teachers of the blind along with their families were ordered to leave Afghanistan within one week. As these dedicated teachers left, God gave them a promise from Isaiah 42:16, "I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them."
 
The Muslim Government then destroyed the Christian Church building in Kabul, after previously having given permission to build it. President Eisenhower had requested permission for construction of this building from King Zahir Shah on his visit to Afghanistan in 1959, since a Mosque had been built in Washington, DC for the Muslim diplomats there, and Christian diplomats and other Christians needed a place to worship on a reciprocal basis in Kabul. Christians from nations all around the world contributed toward its construction. At its dedication, the cornerstone carved in beautiful Afghan alabaster marble read: "To the glory of God 'Who loves us and has freed us from our sins by His blood' this building is dedicated as 'a house of prayer for all nations' in the reign of H.M. Zahir Shah, May 17, 1970 A.D., 'Jesus Christ Himself being the Chief Cornerstone'."
 
When troops arrived and started knocking down the wall between the street and the Church property preparatory to destroying it, a German Christian businessman went to the mayor of Kabul, who had given the order, and said, "If your Government touches that House of God, God will overthrow your Government." This proved to be a prophecy. The mayor then sent a letter to the congregation ordering them to give the Church for destruction, since that would mean that the Government would not have to pay compensation. They replied that they could not give it to anyone since it did not belong to them. It had been dedicated to God. They also added that if the Government took it and destroyed it, they would be answerable to God.
 
Police, workmen and bulldozers were sent to destroy the Church. The congregation, instead of opposing, offered them tea and cookies. Christians all around the world prayed and many of them wrote letters to Afghan embassies in various nations. Billy Graham and other world Christian leaders signed a statement of concern and sent it to the King.
 
On July 17, 1973 the destruction of the Church building was completed. That very night the Afghan Government responsible for the destruction was overthrown in a coup. Afghans who are quick to see omens in events say that Jesus the Messiah came down from heaven and overthrew the Government because the Government had overthrown His Church. It had been a Monarchy for 227 years. That night it became a Republic, under President Daoud. In 1978 this Government was toppled by a Communist coup, followed by the Russian invasion just after Christmas in 1979. Millions of Afghans had to flee their country as refugees. One of them was heard to say, "Ever since our Government destroyed that Christian Church, God has been judging our country."
 
Under the Communists, the Institute for the Blind in Kabul was reopened and Zia was put in charge. He did a fine job of reorganizing it. Then pressure was brought on him to join the Communist party. He refused. One official told him that if he did not join, he might be killed. He replied that he was not afraid to be killed and asked the Communist if he were ready to die.
Finally Zia was arrested on false charges and put in the Puli Charkhi political prison outside of Kabul, where thousands were executed. There was no heat in the jail to protect the prisoners from the cold winter weather. He had to sleep on the freezing mud floor in his overcoat. A prisoner next to him was trembling with cold since he did not even have a jacket. Zia knew John the Baptist had said, "The man who has two coats should share with him who has none" (Luke 3:11). He took off his only coat and gave it to the neighbour. From then on, the Lord miraculously kept him warm every night. He slept as if he had a comforter over him.
 
In prison the Communists gave Zia shock treatments to try to brainwash him. The electric burns lefts scars on his head. But he did not give in. When he was offered the opportunity to study Russian in prison, he mastered this language also. The Communists finally freed him in December, 1985.
 
Following his release from prison Zia read Genesis 12: 1-3, in his Braille Bible, "The Lord said to Abram, 'Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you. I ... will bless you; ... and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.' " Zia felt God was calling him to leave Afghanistan to go as a missionary to Pakistan. He therefore got in touch with a friend, a blind beggar. He then dressed himself in rags. On their way out of the country, he let his friend do all the talking, thereby concealing his identity or detection from the soldiers. They thus were able to get through the Soviet check points along the main highway from Kabul. It took them twelve days to travel the 150 miles to the Khyber Pass and then on into Pakistan.
 
After Zia arrived in Pakistan, he was offered an opportunity to travel to the United States to study Hebrew since he was also working on a translation of the Old Testament into his Dari language. He declined, saying he had so much to do among the Afghan refugees that he could not leave. He started an Institute for the Blind for them. He learned the main language of Pakistan, Urdu, preaching in this language in Christian churches. He furthermore completed a book of New Testament stories in Dari for children.
 
On March 23, 1988, Zia was kidnapped by a fanatical Muslim group, Hisbe Islami, ("the Party of Islam") and was accused of being a CIA agent because he knew English, a KGB or Khad spy because he knew Russian and an apostate from Islam because he was a Christian. He was beaten for hours with rods. A sighted person can brace and flinch when the blow comes. But a blind person cannot see the club coming and thus gets the full force, even like the torture the Lord Jesus Christ experienced when he was blindfolded and then struck (Luke 22:64). His wife and three daughters had been able to get out of Afghanistan and were with him in Pakistan at the time he was kidnapped. Soon after his wife gave birth to a beautiful boy who looks much like his father. No one knows whether Zia ever heard that he had a son.
 
The latest word, though not absolutely definite, is that Hisbe Islami murdered Zia. Before he was kidnapped, he had told a friend that if this party ever captured him they would kill him. This same party caught two Pakistani Christians taking relief items to needy Afghans and tortured them. Before releasing them, one of the captors stated, "We are not going to kill you the way we killed Zia Nodrat." In addition, an Afghan news reporter on the Northwest Frontier of Pakistan claims to have evidence that Hisbe Islami murdered Zia in a cruel way.
 
The United Nations Universal Declaration of Hurnan Rights in article 13 states, "Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; freedom to manifest one's religion or belief." The story of Zia is a story of infringement of human rights. Zia has been denied his freedom and has probably been martyred for his faith. Before his capture, he asked a Christian friend that if anything happened to him, his friend would take care of his family. The friend answered in the affirmative, not realizing that a short time later Zia would be kidnapped. He was able to arrange for Zia's wife and two of his children to be brought to North America.
 
God does not force a belief system upon people. He has given them liberty to choose. Therefore what right does an earthly regime or group have to impose a certain belief system? Our prayer is that the new Government of Afghanistan will respect the freedom of religion which is basic to all other liberties. In the Afghan language, Dari, there is a popular Afghan proverb which substantiates this truth as it states the following in Dari, the main language of Kabul, "Isa'i badin khud, Musa'i badin khud." ("Let the followers of Jesus practise their religion, and the followers of Moses theirs.")
 
Jesus prophesied, "A time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering service to God" (John 16:2). After His resurrection, He commanded His followers, "Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life" (Revelation 2:10). If Zia has been killed for the Messiah, he has gone on to his eternal reward. And all of like precious faith will one day see him again; as the Bible promises, "and so shall we ever be with the Lord" (I Thessalonians 4:17b).
 
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Saturday, October 28th 2006

1:26 AM

Testimony of Kader

I was born in a small town in Algeria and into a family with six Children. France occupied my native country. My Parents were unschooled and were Muslims. So I was a Muslim by birth. I was told that as an infant, I was so sick the doctor gave me two days to live but God had other plans for me. No, I did not die. At a very young age, my parents enrolled me in a religious school where I learned to memorize the Koran. As a family and individually, we suffered a lot under the French occupation. My father was jailed many times, even one time when my eldest brother was forced to leave home to serve in the French army for mandatory service, my family spent several months without a provider. We were even forced to leave our hometown and move elsewhere.
 
One day during the Algerian civil war, while I was playing soccer with my friends, we were shot at. Many died but I only suffered a bullet wound. God had other plans for me. While at the hospital, I saw many people suffer and die daily and nightly. I was angry with God and Westerners. However, Algeria became independent and I was very happy. Still serious about my faith as a Muslim and now in High School, I began to devote more time to it. I was an example to many students.
 
Life without the French occupation settled in, yet things did not change. My country was free and so was I but I was unhappy and felt a void in my life. Some people call it an identity crisis. Maybe it was an identity crisis but for me I needed to connect to that one missing thing or a person. I needed to understand why I was born, and when I die, where I will be. Slowly I became a nominal Muslim and later actually thought that God did not exist. I also joined a local communist underground student movement. While still in High School, I started reading, studying philosophers, and also drinking, smoking and doing shameful things too embarrassing to talk about. I felt confused and lost. My major was Mathematics, so naturally I read some writings by Blaise Pascal, a French mathematician. In his so-called "Pascal wager", Pascal talks about whether God is or God is not. Though Pascal argues from a gambling point of view, I was convinced that for me this was no gamble or coincidence. This latter fact increased my desire to seek God.
 
I finished School and came to the US to further my studies. I was very skeptical of strangers because of the scars of the French occupation. But God had plans for me. God gave me a Christian host family who befriended me and invited me to their home and to their Church. One day, I heard Dr. Mark Hanna, a Christian Lebanese writer, speak about Jesus Christ. I was not receptive but heard new things about this Jesus from Nazareth.
 
Later I learned that my mother died. I was very close to her and could not accept her sudden departure from my life. Having lost my mother and having failed in other areas of my life, I was hurting, miserable, tired and fed up. I wanted to end my life. As if someone was talking to me, words came to me saying, "you want to end your life, then consider it done and give your life up to Jesus". I heard and read in a Bible given to me, who Jesus is and what He did for me on the cross. Someone suggested I start reading from the book of John. I understood I was a sinner and needed God in my life. I turned to Jesus, believing He died for me, was buried, rose again and is seated at the right hand of the Father in heaven. I prayed inviting Him into my life and I received Him in my heart as my personal savior and Lord.
 
I came to chapter 6 of the book of Romans and realized I needed to be baptized. After receiving instructions in a class from an elder on Communion and Baptism, I was baptized by full immersion two weeks later. God did it all. It was all His doing and nothing I had done on my own except to seek Him, repent and accept His free gift of salvation.
 
You know, I did not fully realize what happened to me until I came across Ezekiel 36:25-27. God also helped me deal with many other issues and things I could not understand on my own. Knowing who God is and who I am, my desire has been to live for Christ by loving Him, obeying Him and serving Him. It is my prayer to be used by Him "Who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth" (1 Timothy 2:4).
 
I also came across Jeremiah 29:11 where God says: "For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future". You see He has given me hope and a future. He had plans for me. Friend, God has plans for you too. My prayer for you is that you seek Him with all your heart. This is for your sake not mine and certainly not for God’s sake. He is waiting for you.
 
Jesus says: "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the father except through me" John 14:6. The Bible says: "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" Romans 3:23. Jesus also says: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" John 3:16.
 
I urge you to turn to God now and give your life to Him.
 
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