A Muslim man from South Asia, who once led a group of extremists to attack Christian churches, was brought to the end of his rope when his only child was diagnosed with leukemia. He planned to commit suicide with his family, but God intervened and saved them, and healed his son.
Ismail had always hated Christians. He stoned roadside preachers and argued with church leaders.
In 2006, he attempted to kill a pastor by running him over with his motorized rickshaw. The pastor was injured but he survived, according to Bibles for Mideast, an underground Christian ministry that distributes Bibles and conducts evangelism in Asia, South Africa and the Middle East.
Two years later, Ismail led extremists to destroy the building of the church led by the same pastor. They succeeded in demolishing it, leaving nothing standing.
However, circumstances were not so favorable toward Ismail and his family. Doctors found a tumor in his son Afsal's brain. The cost for treatment was high, and Ismail had no choice but to sell some of his possessions, including their house and the motorized rickshaw he used for their livelihood. He also borrowed money.
To make things worse, his son's oncologist revealed a more grim diagnosis: his son had leukemia.
Ismail and his wife fell into despair regarding their son's condition, and they found it difficult to cope with their financial needs. So Ismail decided to end all their troubles by leading his family to commit suicide.
They were going to drown themselves. All three of them ingested poison and started to walk out into the sea.
"We had lost all our hope and only wanted to die," Ismail told Bibles for Mideast.
Unknown to him, God caught the attention of some fishermen near the area, who saw them struggling in the water. The fishermen hurried toward them. As they pulled the family into their boat, they saw blood come out of their nostrils. They also noticed the smell of poison.
Ismail and his family were rushed to the hospital, where he and his wife eventually recovered. Sadly, the boy suffered from hemorrhage and fell into a coma.
As the devastated parents stayed by their son's side, their hearts broken over his condition, they were surprised when a group of Christians suddenly arrived and asked to pray for their son. The Christians were led by Pastor Paul, the same pastor Ismail tried to kill years ago.
Pastor Paul explained God showed him "in a vision" what the couple was going through. He encouraged Ismail by telling him how he himself was healed from leukemia. He also recounted the Biblical story of how four men brought their friend to Jesus by lowering him down through the roof.
"Jesus healed that man because of his friends' faith," he said. "He rose from his bed and walked."
"If you personally believe Jesus Christ is your Lord and Savior, He is able to heal your son Afsal and bring him back to life. It is only because of the Lord you were prevented from committing suicide," he added, then shared the gospel to them.
They prayed for Afsal. As they ended their prayer, Afsal miraculously opened his eyes.
Afsal said he saw Jesus lay his nail-pierced hands on his head and chest, and he "felt new blood flowing from my heart to my veins, like electricity."
Pastor Paul also shared the gospel to Afsal, and the entire family believed in Jesus Christ and put their faith in Him as Lord and Savior.
Bibles for Mideast continues its underground ministry of distributing Bibles in "highly restricted areas," some of which are very hostile to Christianity. These include Pakistan, Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states.