The chief of a Christian ministry that works underground because of its outreach into Muslim-dominant communities in the Middle East is reporting a startling claim – his rescue from Islamic “militants” by a pride of lions.
Pastor Paul Ciniraj is the director of Bibles for Mideast, which delivers Bibles, preaches the Gospel and plants house churches in the strife-torn region. He says, while Islam remains dominant, “thousands upon thousands of people now secretly believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior.”
House churches the group establishes are under the banner of the nondenominational Assembly of Loving God Church. A convert from Islam, pastor Paul founded the work some four decades ago and has survived a battle with leukemia. A nine-member board of directors governs the ministry.
In a new report he delivered this week to WND, he says he was recovering from injuries he received in an attack by Islamic jihadists when the rescue occurred.
It was Easter Sunday, and he was recovering in the home of friends in a forested area near where his group has been working.
“Suddenly, a group of militants reached the house, armed with steel bars and other weapons,” he reported to WND.
In the home with him were others, including a woman aged 80, several children under the age of 4 and a woman seven months pregnant.
“Losing all hope, we thought for sure this was our last day,” he said.
But while the group was praying, he reported a strange occurrence.
“Completely unexpectedly, a lion ran from the forest, leapt toward the militants, and seized one by the neck. When other combatants tried to attack the lion, two other lions bounded toward them. The terrified militants fled the site, and the lions left us completely alone,” he said.
“Equally astonishing, records show no lions are supposed to live in that forest,” he said.
He reported he had been approaching the closing of a 21-day period of fasting and prayer.
“As that drew to a close, more than 3,000 former Muslims were baptized in many of our churches in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. The Lord enabled me to baptize many people during this time,” he said.
But while he was at one of the church locations, “militants began stoning me and our group.
“My head was severely injured and bloodied, and a number of others sustained injuries as well,” he said.