A miraculous story has emerged out of Baghdad, where a pastor leading Iraq's only Christian radio station that reaches up to 8 million people with the Gospel narrowly escaped death after a bomb exploded nearby.
In a post on their website titled "God Answers Prayers," The New Testament Baptist Church of Baghdad revealed that pastor Maher Fouad and his deacon managed to escape from the blast unharmed while others were killed.
"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 church explained.
"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, thanking God for protecting the pastor and others involved.
According to reports, more than 125,000 Christians living in Iraq -- men, women and children -- have been forced from their homes over the last 10 months due to the threat posed by extremist groups such as ISIS.
A recent article published in the New York Times notes that from 1910 to 2010, the percentage of the Middle Eastern population that was Christian - in countries like Egypt, Israel, Palestine and Jordan - continued to decline; once 14 percent of the population, Christians now make up just 4 percent.
However, speaking with the Christian Broadcasting Network on Saturday, Fouad explained that he will continue to stay in the war-torn region and use his Christian radio station to spread the Gospel for as long as he is able.
"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."
He added, "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."
Maher told CBN that he hopes that through his message, Iraqis will come to know the true, living God.
"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."
The pastor emphasized that he is resting in God's sovereign power and in the knowledge that through his work, he is furthering the Gospel.
"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 continued. "And I believe the Lord will protect us also in the coming days."