A church planter working in the Middle East has shared the miraculous ways the Gospel is moving across the persecuted region, including how Jesus appeared to a Muslim man every night for weeks, reciting to him the entire Gospel of John.
As part of The Gospel Coalition's Something Needs to Change event held Wednesday night, David Platt, author and pastor of McLean Bible Church, held an interview with a missionary identified only as Yazim.
“He lives and works in a part of the Middle East where, not only is it illegal to share the Gospel, it’s life-threatening to talk about how the Gospel is advancing,” Platt said.
Speaking via simulcast with a disguised voice, Yazim began by stating, “God is moving inside the Middle East with dreams, visions, and personal visitations.”
He shared the story of a man who lived about 50 kilometers outside of an unnamed Middle Eastern city known for vast opium use.
“This man said this to us when we visited him: ‘A man wearing all white knocked at my door every night and I couldn’t look at him because his face was so shiny and bright,’” Yazim recalled. “‘When he would come inside, he asked me to write down what he said. As I wrote, I fell asleep. The next night, he would come again for the next month.’”
Yazim asked the man, “What did you write? May I see your notebook?”
The man showed Yazim his notebook. In it was written: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him, and without him was not anything made that was made," the opening portion of the New Testament book of John.
“He had the whole book of John verbatim in his notebook,” Yazim revealed. “Jesus visited him every night until he finished the book. The amazing thing is, the man actually asked us, ‘who was this man that visited me?’”
“I learned a valuable lesson: God will do his part, but we still have to do ours,” he added.
Platt revealed that Yazim’s own conversion story is miraculous: His wife was a devout Muslim who, profoundly depressed by the demands of Islam, decided to take her own life. However, that very night, she heard the Gospel for the first time and dedicated her life to Jesus.
Following that event, she and her husband decided to stay in their homeland and dedicate their lives to sharing the Gospel despite the risks.
“Our focus is to make disciples who make disciples who then start new churches,” Yazim said. “We believe that what God commanded us to do is Matthew 28. We believe that if you make disciples, churches will grow.”
Yazim and his wife revealed they hope to plant ten more churches, but making disciples takes time and funding, as new Christians must be taken to secret locations to be trained.
“This training, along with supporting the leaders, will cost $25,000 for ten churches to be developed,” he shared.
Platt, who earlier in the night announced the proceeds from his latest book will go to “urgent needs in the world,” said, “Well, Yazim, we praise God for what you’re doing on the front lines in the Middle East. We want you to know from your brothers and sisters who are behind you on those lines that you’re not alone.”
“Count us in for that $25,000 to plant ten churches in the Middle East,” Platt declared.
Such stories of Jesus appearing in visions to Muslims throughout the Islamic world are not uncommon. According to Mission Frontiers magazine, out of 600 Muslim converts, 25 percent experienced a dream that led to their conversion.
Last year, a former Muslim-turned-pastor who started hundreds of churches in Pakistan told The Christian Post that many Muslims are making decisions to convert after Jesus Himself had visited them in dreams and visions.
“It's very dangerous for anyone to preach the Word of God face-to-face in non-Western countries,” the pastor told CP. “God reveals things through dreams to evangelists/pastors. People in the East are more uneducated and unable to read the Bible so God uses this method to reach them.”
“[People] are very faithful in the East, placing themselves in positions to see the signs of God by studying the Word of God,” he added. “Eastern people watch for the signs and miracles to show that the Word of God is alive. It is a privilege, one not everyone can share in — to own a Bible in the East. In the West, people look more for wisdom, like the Greeks of old. They do not always rely on faith, which can't be seen.”