In a powerful story of redemption and grace, an Islamic State militant known for his brutal killing of Christians has converted to his victims' religion after dreaming of "a man in white" who offered him a dramatic message, according to one missionary's account.
"One of our YWAM workers in the Middle East was contacted by a friend earlier this year and they met up and he was introduced to an ISIS fighter who had killed many Christians already. I mean that's a horrible situation, and admittedly, he was probably on guard," Gina Fadely, director of Youth With A Mission Frontier Missions, Inc. (YWAM), said during a recent appearance on The Voice of the Martyrs Radio Network, Christian Post reported.
Fadely went on to reveal that the ISIS fighter confessed that prior to his conversion, he had "actually enjoyed" killing Christians.
"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 continued. "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, according to the account provided in the book of Acts, 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 and writing 13 books of the Bible.
"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."
Since 2013, The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has waged a brutal campaign across Northern Africa and throughout the Middle East, working 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 February, ISIS beheaded 21 Coptic Christians in Libya, vowing to "destroy the nation of the cross." In April, the group released a propaganda video showing the beheadings of 30 Egyptian Christians, declaring that believers will "not have safety" until they convert to Islam.
According to a UN representative, the group has also "institutionalized sexual violence and the brutalization of women as a central aspect of their ideology and operations," often selling young Christian and Yazidi girls as sex slaves or forcing them to "marry" ISIS fighters.
"ISIS sells 9-year-old girls in slave bazaars," revealed Christian writer Ann Voskamp, who visited refugees in Northern Iraq who had fled ISIS. "They are categorized. Stripped. And shipped naked. Examined and distributed. Sold and passed around like meat. Livestock."
Despite the atrocities committed by ISIS militants, however, Todd Nettleton, host of VOM Radio featuring the YWAM directors, stated during the program that Christians should not "write them off as being out of reach of God's grace and out of reach of God's spirit."
Kevin Sutter, the other YWAM director who appeared with Fadley on the VOM Radio program, shared that he has learned from one of his leaders in the Arab world that there is a "spiritual hunger" that was "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.
Fadely expressed a belief that God is using dreams to help missionaries share the Gospel with hard-to-reach groups in the Middle East, and is also using them convince Muslims and other non-Christians to believe in Jesus as Savior and Lord.