Through Pastor Maher Abdul Mageed’s media ministry, more than 100,000 Iraqis have been exposed to the Word. Although it is extremely difficult and the risks are high to lead a Christian ministry in Iraq under Sadam Hussein’s dictatorship, Pastor Maher is always full of hope bringing light into the places wherever he works.
Maher Abdul Mageed was born into the Madian culture which originates from the original followers of John the Baptist. Though 90 percent of John the Baptist's followers turned to Jesus Christ after their John’s death, some still chose to worship John, which became a religion after generations.
Maher accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior in 1994 through his brother. Within a year, Maher felt God was calling him into ministry, though there was no evangelical education he could receive in Iraq as Christianity can’t be freely practiced in Iraq. People could be sent to prison for three years. Maher was also threatened by the government officials of his Christian activities as he was interrogated in Saddam Hussein’s military intelligence prison, the most feared prison in Iraq where the prisoners are often severely tortured.
Maher decided to start a media ministry thinking it would be the easiest way to preach the Gospel through audio tapes, books, CDs and videos without any explicit accusations. With the help of his wife, Maher would record various Christian programs and share his tapes with he fellow members of local Arabic evangelical church.
Word began to spread throughout the church about Maher's ministry and people raised concern about him.
"They asked me to stop my media ministry and said it was becoming a problem," Maher recounted. "I asked them, why? They were fearful that Saddam would close the church."
"I told him, 'I'm not doing anything wrong,'" Maher said. "He told me, 'You don't like to obey my orders.' I just said, 'I don't like to not obey my Jesus.'"
The following evening, two security agents for Saddam Hussein came to his house. That day total 10 evangelical pastors were arrested. He had to spend five days in a 4-by-4-meter room with other prisoners.
"They had been listening to the CDs I passed out," Maher said. "One of the recordings talked about a leader's integrity, and the fact that the best leaders in the world are Christians. To them, that meant I was opposing Saddam being the leader of the world. That was the lowest moment for me because I knew they had torture devices. I started praying."
Five days later, Maher was released unharmed, though many of the other pastors were still imprisoned. God truly answered his prayers.
Since the initial bombing has ended, Maher and his family are enjoying new freedom, worshipping at a new church housed in a local Anglican church with many new believers.
"Jesus filled us with more purpose," said Eman, Maher's wife. "He filled us with a great ambition to tell the people about grace and God's Good News."
God will continue bless Pastor Maher’s media ministry and through him many souls in Iraq will gain salvation.