In an amazing story of redemption and hope, an Islamic State militant who sought to kill Christian missionaries providing aid to those displaced by the terrorist group ended up surrendering his life to Christ after hearing the Gospel and witnessing the love of the believers.
According to a report from Christian Aid Mission, a humanitarian group that assists indigenous Christian workers in their native countries, the jihadist fighter traveled to Amman, Jordan after learning that relatives there were receiving aid from Christians, who he viewed as unclean "pigs".
The Muslim, whose name is withheld for security reasons, went to a Christian meeting with the intention of killing the aid workers gathered there, the director of a ministry in the Middle East told the organization. However, something kept him from following through on his plan, and that night, Jesus revealed Himself in a dream.
"The next day he came back and said, 'I came to kill you, but last night I saw Jesus, and I want to know what are you teaching - who is this One who held me up from killing you?'" the director said. The missionaries were able to share the Gospel with the militant, and, after witnessing the love and compassion of the believers, the fighter surrendered his life to Christ.
"He received Christ with tears, and today he's actually helping in the church, helping out other people. We're praying for lots of such Sauls to change to Pauls," the ministry director recounted.
The eyes of the former jihadist were opened to how Islam brainwashed him about Christianity, and how it contrasted with the reality of what he saw in Christians: "We're talking about an area of Jordan that has three Salafist [a strict, fundamentalist branch of Sunni Islam] mosques. They raise up people to go and fight," the director said.
Because he was so excited about sharing his newfound faith, the man quickly put himself in danger.
"He even got threats from them, and that's when I began trying to calm him down, because otherwise they may kill him," the director said. "They may take him and create a big threat among the refugees. We need to work very quietly and slowly."
The fighter's dramatic conversion story is just one of many to emerge out of the Middle East, where ISIS has waged a brutal campaign seeking to establish a caliphate, or a Sunni-led Islamic government. In an attempt to rid the region 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.
In June, one fighter, known for his brutal killing of Christians, converted to his victims' religion after dreaming of "a man in white", according to Gina Fadely, director of Youth With A Mission Frontier Missions, Inc. (YWAM).
"He told this YWAM leader that he had begun having dreams of this man in white who came to him and said, 'You are killing my people.' And he started to feel really sick and uneasy about what he was doing," Fadely said during an appearance on The Voice of the Martyrs Radio Network, Christian Post reported.
"The fighter said just before he killed one Christian, the man said, 'I know you will kill me, but I give to you my Bible.' The Christian was killed and this ISIS fighter actually took the Bible and began to read it. In another dream, Jesus asked him to follow him and he was now asking to become a follower of Christ and to be discipled."
Fadely noted that the militant'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.
"So who knows. Perhaps this man will be like Saul in the Bible that persecuted Christians and he turned from that persecution of the early church to become the Apostle Paul who led it," Fadely said. "God can turn it around."
Kevin Sutter, the other YWAM director who appeared with Fadley on the VOM Radio program, said that despite ongoing persecution, there is a "spiritual hunger" that is "unprecedented" among Muslims.
"Many people are now following Jesus but they keep it quiet. They haven't gone public about it. They even have church in their own home, they're watching, they'll serve communion to one another as they're watching TV," Sutter said.