An Islamic extremist who once made it his goal to murder Christian pastors embraced Jesus Christ as his savior after witnessing a "man in white" miraculously save the life of a little girl he had attempted to kill.
Assist News Service recently shared the story of Al-Rashid, a former commander of a radical terrorist group in the Middle East. Angered by the numerous accounts of Muslims turning to Christianity, Rashid formed a special terrorist task force designed to murder Christian leaders responsible for such conversions.
One of Rashid's targets was a pastor named Paul, a former Muslim who led an evangelism ministry that gave out Bibles to Muslims. Paul was also responsible for establishing numerous underground churches throughout restricted countries.
Rashid and his task force had devised a plan to kill pastor Paul's family and then abduct him to forcefully reconvert him back to Islam. However, God continually thwarted the group's attempts, and the Christian family somehow kept finding ways escape.
The task force eventually devised a plan to send a woman to deliver the family poisoned food. However, while on her way to deliver the food, the woman was bitten by a dog and seriously injured.
The group tried once again to deliver the poisoned food to Paul's family. This time, after eating poisoned chocolates, Paul's daughter got very sick and fell unconscious.
"I was watching with two others from an ambulance near the hospital to see his daughter's death," Rashid recalled. "Our plan was to kidnap the dead body along with his family in our ambulance."
But what Rashid meant for evil, God used for good: "I saw a ball of light came down from the sky and stand over the room where his daughter was lying unconscious," the former terrorist explained.
He also described seeing a hand come out from the light to touch the pastor's daughter. When the hand touched the daughter, she immediately woke up and stood up. Rashid said that blood was pouring from a hole in the middle of the hand.
"I trembled with fear," Rashid said. "I felt giddy and fell down. My friends moved me from there at once."
Rashid said he had a hard time sleeping that night after seeing the hand, and as he finally drifted off to sleep, he said he saw a shadow of a man's face appear with the hand in a dream. The man asked Rashid why he was "nailing" him.
Bewildered, Rashid opened a Bible that was in his room that he previously used to find verses that criticize Christianity and justify Islam. He found John 1: 9-10, which reads, "That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not."
"I understood it was about Jesus," he said.
Rashid went to Paul to confess what he had done, who in turn forgave the Muslim leader.
"I was once an enemy of Jesus Christ, but He loved me," pastor Paul was quoted as saying. "He was crucified - gave His life for me - then He rose from the dead. Because of His love I can love you, because Christ loves you. I believe Jesus Christ Himself brought you here to share this love and to find salvation."
"Jesus is the Prince of Peace," Paul told Rashid. "And He will give you peace. Accept Him as your Savior."
Rashid gave his life to Christ and was later baptized. Today, he is evangelist for the "Bibles for Mideast" ministry.
"Thousands of Muslims are secretly believing in Jesus Christ as their Savior. They don't have Bibles and the rulers do not allow them to get Bibles. The Bible is totally prohibited in certain countries. But people are so thirsty for the Word of God," Rashid explained. "Many of our team members are converts from Islam to Christianity with the gifts of the Holy Spirit and have good experiences of doing personal evangelism, conducting crusades, and pastoring house churches."
Rashid's encounter with Jesus Christ brings to mind the story of the Apostle Paul, who was dedicated to the persecution of the early disciples of Jesus Christ. However, after experiencing a dramatic encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus, Paul emerged as one of the greatest missionaries of all time, spreading the gospel throughout the Roman Empire.
The fighter's dramatic conversion story is just one of many to emerge out of the Middle East and Africa, where Islamic Extremist groups have waged brutal campaigns seeking to establish a caliphate, or a Sunni-led Islamic government.
In an attempt to rid the regions of religions other than radical Islam, the jihadist group routinely targets Christians, Yazidis, and other minorities for persecution, killing them by stoning, beheading, hanging, and other violent means.
However, despite such persecution, a ministry leader in the Kurdish Region of Iraq told the Christian Aid Mission that there is currently a "spiritual hunger" that is "unprecedented" among Muslims. He added that his organization can barely keep up with the desire of refugees to learn about Christ and the Bible, which has grown increasingly strong since ISIS overtook many parts of the region.
"They're just sick of Islam," he said. "People are very hungry to know about Christ, especially when they hear about miracles, healing, mercy and love."
He added, "As terrifying and horrifying as ISIS is, they did us a great favor because they came and have shown them all the killing, saying that it's all in the Koran verses. So now we don't have to say much, we just say the truth."