Posted by: rshalomw | May 8, 2012

HATRED CANNOT STOP THE SPREAD OF THE GOSPEL

The following is a beautiful testimony of the Power of the Love of God overcoming hatred and physical scars.  Islam does not understand that heart of their hatred is defeated by the Power of Love:

Former Muslim
Bears the Marks of the Messiah

Monthly Report: May 2012
Iyar – Sivan 5772
Open in PDF

0512 - Top - Umar and Evelyn Mulinde
Pastor Umar Mulinde and his wife Evelyn in their church in Kampala, Uganda


By Ron Cantor“Pastor, can you help me?”

Those were the last words that Pastor Umar Mulinde, a thirty-eight-year-old former Muslim turned pastor and evangelist, heard before he felt the excruciating sting of flesh-eating acid meant to kill him, striking his face. Then, another bucket on his back. He screamed and ran back towards his church for help as his assailants cried out, “Allahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar!”

I was able to sit down with Pastor Mulinde in a Tel Aviv hospital recently. He is here in Israel recovering from this attack that occurred in the parking lot of his church in Kampala Uganda. It wasn’t the first time Muslims had tried to kill him. Since he converted from Islam he has been shot at, escaped from attempted stoning, and attacked by a man with a sword.

“I take the gospel to the Muslim community because I was born a Muslim. Most of the ministers in our congregation are ex-Muslims. Our issue is not hating Islam, but speaking the truth.”

Pastor Mulinde’s parents were staunch Muslims; his father built two mosques and served as a local Imam. He had numerous wives, marrying up to four at a time, then divorcing the older ones and remarrying. Umar is one of 52 children. He himself was a sheik (Islamic teacher) before he found the truth that salvation is found in Jesus alone. When he came to faith, his family drove him away with clubs and machetes.

“Just think!” Umar exclaimed. “Only 12.5% of Ugandans are Muslims and 80% regard themselves as Christians. And 30% of the people are real bornagain believers. But Uganda is considered an Islamic state and is regarded as a member of the UN Organization of Islamic States.

“The Muslims hold great power. Why? Because Muslims are united to do evil. But the Church is not united to do good.” (Of course, believers face the enormous challenge that persuades many of Uganda’s political leaders to bend over backwards towards Islam the massive amounts of money given by oil-rich Muslim nations with the goal of Islamizing the people.)

Umar now has a congregation of 1000 people with about 35% of his membership former Muslims.

0512 - Pastor Mulinde at Mulago crusade
Umar Mulinde preaching at one of his many campaigns. His passion is to reach Muslims
with the truth of the Gospel and to bring them to salvation.

Mulinde is known for debates locally and internationally in which he often challenges Muslims regarding their religion. His extensive knowledge and ability to quote the Koran in his preaching has won him friends and enemies. Often contesting the principles of Islam, he has relied on police protection during revival campaigns throughout Uganda.

“Mulinde poses a big threat to Muslim extremists who cannot convincingly challenge the truth as he engages them in debate,” said Dr. Joseph Serwadda, an area church leader. (Compass New Direct)

HANGING OVER THE LAKE OF FIRE

Twenty years ago Umar heard a man preaching out of the Koran and the Bible! This man did not have a Muslim background, but he said an angel came to him in the night and would teach him the Koran in Arabic so he could defend the Gospel to Muslims while countering the fundamentals of the Koran.

The preacher told the people that Jesus is more glorious than Mohammed. Umar was convicted by the message but he was afraid to leave the teachings of Mohammed because of extreme pressure in Muslim homes never to leave Islam.

He explained: “There is a lot of persecution for Muslims who attempt to convert to Christianity. The fear of being killed is intended to scare other Muslims who might be willing to do the same.”

“Islam is more than a religion or faith,” Umar emphasized. “It is a family bond. Therefore, conversion from Islam to Christianity makes you a family outcast who deserves death.” So for many years Umar believed that Christianity and the Bible was the truth, but fear kept him bound.

One night Umar had a dream where his hands and legs were tied with chains and he was hanging over the Lake of Fire together with many others. In fact in this dream he recognized many people from his own mosque. The pain of fire covered him from every direction.

“And then, a man stood at my right hand outside the fire. I knew He was shining even though I could not see his face. He said, ‘Islam is leading you to this torture. Be born again and you shall survive.’”

This same dream came to Umar a number of times. He had been taught in Islam when you have a bad dream, you are to pray a specific prayer against it. “I was running to Allah to help me avoid this bad dream.” However the dream returned; Allah could not help him.

Throughout the week, Umar continued to dream this dream. “Then I remembered how I heard the preacher once say I could pray in the name of Jesus and something would happen. This time I did not pray the Muslim prayer against bad dreams. This time I knelt down and I said, ‘God if you are there and you are the one who wants me to be born again, I pray that this dream does not come back tonight.’ That night I slept like a baby. The dream did not come back!”

The next morning just happened to be Easter Sunday. He went to the church led by this man who preached to Muslims, even though he knew if he were discovered, this would cause outrage within his family. “That day I gave my life to Yeshua and was born-again.”

As he went forward people were shocked because they knew he was a Muslim sheik (teacher). “As I left the church, I saw three friends. When they saw me, they went and told the Imam and then they came to my house to beat me.” They confronted Umar next to a bar but as they were about to beat him, a bunch of drunks came out of the bar and defended him saying, “It is his choice (to leave Islam)!”

0512 - Umar with Ron Cantor
Ron Cantor visits with Umar Mulinde a few days after he arrived in Israel.
The bandage was the first phase of his medical treatme nt.

After this he was excommunicated from his family and was forced into hiding. They declared him dead. In fact, had he entered his home they could have legally killed him under Islamic law, because in their eyes he was already dead. Fortunately the church took care of him and taught him the Word of God.

Umar was hungry to grow in his new faith. He went to Bible school and was ordained for ministry. He began to serve as an evangelist and over the years has won thousands to Messiah. He and his team would hold mass campaigns and tens of thousands of people would come to stadiums to hear him preach the Gospel. After much success in evangelistic work, he birthed a church in Kampala, the largest city in Uganda.

In his words, “After I converted, I got threats. Once I went into ministry, the threats increased. When I became a pastor, the threats increased [even more]!”

THE ATTACK

From the moment that Pastor Umar became a follower of Jesus, he faced heavy condemnation. Islam does not allow for conversion and in some countries leaving Islam for Christianity is punishable by death. Just like the pastor in Iran who is facing the death sentence for leaving Islam, Umar was a marked man.

When he ministers publicly he always needs police protection. However on this occasion, he was in a place where he felt safe his own church.

On December 23, 2011, he saw 300 people receive salvation. Pastor Umar felt it was appropriate to celebrate with a huge party on Christmas Day for these 300 because, as he explained it to me, “The Bible says when one receives salvation there is a celebration in heaven.”

On Christmas Eve he was at his church, Gospel Life International, helping with the final preparations for the party. “At about 10:00 p.m. I went to my car to drive home. As I was about to open the car door, somebody approached me saying, ‘Pastor, can you help me?’”

Pastor Umar had a check in his spirit that something wasn’t right. “My mind wanted to help the man, but my heart refused.”

He quickly opened his car door. At that point the man threw a bucket of acid on him, burning half his face. Had he turned toward the man to help him, the terrorist would have been able to throw the acid directly on his face and the damage would have been far worse, almost certainly blinding or even killing him. However, another attacker threw a second bucket of acid on his back as they both yelled praise to Allah.

Instinctively, Pastor Umar had opened the large door to his four-wheel drive vehicle and his body was protected from some of the acid. “It could have finished me,” pastor Umar explained. “I could have been worse than what I am.”

0512 - Umar at Tiferet Yeshua
Pastor Umar Mulinde speaking at Congregation Tiferet Yeshua, Tel Aviv.
The congregation has taken him into their hearts, praying and visiting the “wounded warrior.”

Church members and a nearby neighbor rushed him to the hospital. He lay in a hospital bed in unbearable pain, fighting for his life.

After two days it became clear he would need medical attention beyond the capabilities in Uganda. In his heart of hearts, he wanted to come to Israel where he knew the medical care would be much better. However, because there is no Israeli embassy in Uganda, the only other option was that his wife would travel to Nairobi, Kenya, where there is an embassy — but that would take four days. He did not believe he could live that long.

Within a day he received a visa to India, which seemed to be the best available option to save his life. By the time he arrived in India, his condition was so bad he could not talk or walk and his right eye was blind.

In New Delhi, through a series of miracles outlined in the next article by Umar himself, he was able to quickly get a visa to Israel.

Once in Israel the doctors cleaned his wounds, administered pain medication, and then began the lengthy process of plastic surgery. They determined his right eye had been too badly damaged and had to remove it.

Umar believes there are four reasons the Muslims targeted him:

  1. Because he left Islam and became a believer in Jesus.
  2. Because he preaches the good news of Jesus to Muslims—with great success.
  3. Because he was instrumental in the Ugandan government refusing to establish Sharia law in parts of Uganda.
  4. Because he boldly challenges the people of Uganda to support Israel.

“I teach my congregation to support Israel. There is a lot of biased information against Israel. For instance, if there is a rocket from Gaza to Israel, that is not news. An Israeli school is bombed — that is not news. But when Israel seeks to defend herself — that is very big news,” opines Pastor Mulinde.

“It’s as if people do not concern themselves with the death of Jews, but if Jews want to do anything to defend themselves, everyone is against it. We are Christians and must tell the people the truth about Israel.”

I asked him point blank if he plans to change or tone down his support for Israel or efforts to reach Muslims. “I cannot quit because of this. I will continue doing the work of the Lord. This was not the first attack — the other attacks simply had not been successful.” He then quoted John 16:2, “The time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God.”

0512 - Umar interviewed on BBC
Umar being interviewed by BBC concerning the attack. Asked why terrorists threw acid on his face and body,
he answered that he had converted from Islam to Christianity. The mask Umar is wearing
is the current stage of treatment after skin grafts. He is to wear the mask for about four months.

His attack has become a national issue in Uganda because it was clearly a terrorist attack. There is no doubt that God will prevail and use this assault to advance His Kingdom. Even as I wrote this article, the BBC interviewed him with a medical mask covering his head. He told how the attack came because he converted from Islam to Christianity.

The report of the attack is simply a news item, but the fact that the subject of his conversion to faith in Jesus Christ is an integral part of his story, speaks volumes to other Muslims who are afraid to leave Islam. He reminds me of Paul who said that his chains “actually served to advance the gospel.”

I am looking forward to visiting Pastor Mulinde’s church in Kampala in the future and bringing the word of the Lord from Jerusalem to these ex-Muslim believers who love us so much. Without doubt, this brother and his family are in need of much prayer.

How would you feel knowing your physical appearance has been irreversibly marred for life? Your face is discolored, your eye is destroyed and your lips have been ripped open. Mulinde sees these scars as a sign that he has given his life for the gospel. Shortly after the attack he told a reporter, “I bear the marks of Jesus.”

Just a few weeks ago we invited Pastor Umar to come and share with our congregation in Tel Aviv. In the middle of his message he pulled off his hood revealing a terribly disfigured face and blinded eye.

It was hard to watch. He said, “I was a beautiful African man and now my face is disfigured. My right eye has been blinded. Not because I am a thief — not because I am a criminal — but because of my love for Jesus and because when I became a Christian I began to promote the support of Israel in my country.”

His wife Evelyn, an accomplished gospel singer in Uganda who has stayed by his side most of the last three months in Israel, recently returned to Uganda to care for their six children and to continue in ministry.

 
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