An Arabic Bible in the hands of a Taliban operative? Can God’s Word penetrate the brainwashing and terror of a jihadist? Yes! The story of a man whose long journey from Taliban operative to dedicated Christian bears witness to the fact that no heart is beyond God’s reach—not even an angry, hard-bitten jihadist named John.
John was born in the very hub of Taliban influence in Pakistan. He was raised a devout Muslim and never questioned his family’s faith. He never pursued another religion – never held an Arabic Bible – until his family sent him to university in Moscow.
There, John met Christians, went to church, and studied an Arabic Bible for the first time. But it didn’t last long. One of his relatives, also studying in Moscow, blew the whistle. Suddenly, John’s father summoned him for an “important family function.” It was a ruse. The moment he stepped into his family’s home, John was locked inside, placed under house arrest, and subjected to a long campaign of psychological torture and brainwashing.
At first, their strategy backfired. Furious, John escaped and ran off to a Christian church, eager to continue his Arabic Bible study with other Christians and begging to be baptized. But the pastor was afraid of the devastating consequences baptizing a former Muslim into the Christian faith —and he told John to get out. Immediately.
Change of heart
That rejection deeply wounded John’s spirit and he lost all interest in Christ. His father, however, was thrilled the John had rejected the teaching’s John had learned from the Arabic Bible and upon witnessing John’s apparent change of heart, his father got him a job with the Taliban.
Jihadists are known worldwide for their effective use the Internet and video — inflaming hearts and training their recruits in the tactics and strategies of terror. John produced much of that video content. For a full year, he created videos that were shipped overseas and used by cell groups all over the world. John could not have been farther from the days of studying the Bible in Arabic than he was at that point.
But John’s brief interaction with Christians who had shared an Arabic Bible with him had planted a seed in his heart. John was secretly repelled at the thought of Muslims committing the atrocities contained on the videos he was producing and he grew increasingly angry with himself.
Then, just when John thought he could bear no more anger, no more hate, a miracle happened. In a dream, John saw himself walking among Chinese people. He heard a voice say, “You’re going there.” The very next morning, John’s father told him to pack for a new job in Malaysia (a normal, business-related job). At the time, John didn’t know that Malaysia has a large Chinese population, but when he arrived he immediately found himself walking among them. That’s when he knew the dream was from God and that his study of the Arabic Bible during university in Moscow had been a genuine encounter with the Lord.
Risking severe consequences
In Malaysia, safely far from the Taliban and the brainwashing of his family, John desired to restart his Arabic Bible study with other Christians so he began looking for a church. He first tried the Catholic church, but he was rejected on the grounds of Malaysia’s anti-conversion laws (in most Muslim countries, it’s illegal to convert a Muslim and the consequences are severe).
Soon thereafter, John met a pastor trained by Bible League International who shared with him the Truth of the Gospel – the same Truth John had read in his Bible years ago. He finally understood that becoming a Christian did not mean joining a religion. It meant receiving Jesus in his heart—and that is exactly what he did.
Until that moment, John’s life had been filled with anger at the enemies of Islam; anger at his family; and most of all, anger at himself. “Now, I experience real peace in my life,” John says. “I still struggle with my past that was filled with anger and violence, but Jesus is changing me. Now I attend the weekly Bible study and read my Arabic language Bible daily. Now I know Jesus is the only way to God.”
My friend, perhaps you knew that your support of Bible League International would be used to disciple believers in the world’s hard places. Perhaps you even prayed that your gift would be used to reach a heart caught in Islam’s iron grip. But did you ever dare to think you that to donate Bibles – an Arabic Bible in the native language of one who is seeking - would help to transform a member of the Taliban—a man training thousands to wage unholy war? Did you dare to dream that you would help dethrone the reign of terror in his heart?Arabic Bibles are being placed in the hands of many in the Middle East as a result of your support. This is a gift from God and we must never underestimate the power of God’s gift. Do not doubt that your gift of a Bible is going to impact this planet beyond your wildest dreams. Never doubt that your Bible donation is not at work through the power of the Holy Spirit! I praise God for John’s testimony, and I thank Him every day for your support, your love and your partnership. When you donate a Bible, you change a life forever!