A pastor leading Iraq's only Christian radio station that reaches up to 8 million people in and around Baghdad with the Gospel narrowly escaped death after a bomb exploded in a garage where he had gone to get his church bus fixed.
A post on the website of The New Testament Baptist Church of Baghdad titled "God Answers Prayers" said their pastor, Maher Fouad, and his deacon emerged from the incident unscathed while others died from the blast.
"Our Baghdad church bus broke down and needed a spare part. Pastor Maher and a deacon from the church went to a garage to fix it. The mechanic told Maher that he doesn't have the part and directed him to another garage," the post from the church noted.
"Pastor Maher drove the bus out of the garage into the street. At that moment a bomb went off killing the owner of the garage. The car that was following our bus was demolished and the driver was killed. All the windows of our church bus were completely shattered from the pressure of the explosion. Dust and debris was [sic] everywhere and covered Pastor Maher and the deacon. Yet he and the deacon were not touched! They were completely spared and not harmed," it continued.
The post further thanked the Lord for Maher Fouad's protection and those who had been praying for him.
In an interview with CBN on Saturday, Fouad explained that while two-thirds of Iraq's once large Christian population has fled in the 12 years his church has been in existence due to the threat of violence from extremist groups like IS, he isn't going anywhere and is using his Christian radio station to spread the Gospel to anyone willing to listen.
"When we started this project, it was a pioneering project," Maher said of the radio station 102.9 FM he founded a decade ago. "No one ever applied for a radio station in the history of Iraq, especially a Christian radio station."
During the period he explained: "Violence was a major problem in Baghdad, with the sounds of explosions and car bombs. … And out of all these radio stations that broadcast violence and negative news, our radio station appeared broadcasting the Gospel and the Good News of Jesus Christ."
And even now, in the face of death threats and increasing problems with IS in the region, Maher isn't backing down.
"I pray publicly on our radio station so all the Iraqis will hear it," he said. "Not only Christians but also Muslims call us live on the air requesting that we pray for them."
"The situation here in Baghdad is not only bad, it is very bad," he noted. "When IS occupied Ramadi, we became in danger because Ramadi is not very far away from Baghdad. On one side, we have IS threatening us. And the second danger we face is from car bombs and explosions."
He is confident, however, in God's protection and the knowledge that his effort is leading to the spread of Jesus' message.
"We rejoice because many, many people are listening and receiving the message and are responding to the message of the Gospel," he said.
"The Lord protected us," he declared. "And I believe the Lord will protect us also in the coming days."