Editor’s note: The information for this story is provided by Bibles for Mideast, an underground ministry focusing on Bible distribution, evangelism and house-church planting in the Middle East, South Asia and parts of Africa.
A missionary organization that teaches about Christianity and delivers Bibles to residents of a number of restrictive Middle East nations has released the stunning story of a modern-day “Jonah,” who was delivered from the gaping jaws of a giant fish through a miracle.
Jonah, as the Old Testament records, was the man who was instructed by God to travel to Nineveh and preach against its wickedness.
But, as the New International Version, states, “Jonah ran away from the LORD and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the LORD.”
Then there was the storm, Jonah being thrown overboard, and a fish swallowing him for three days.
The new version, from Pastor Paul with Bibles4Mideast, isn’t exactly the same. But he says it also is true.
A man, Mildad, a pseudonym to protect his life, had been struggling to help his Muslim family in a drought-stricken East African nation.
He jumped at an opportunity to work on a ship when it appeared, not knowing that his employers were criminal pirates and his “work” was to attack and rob other ships.
He tried to flee, but ended up with his hands and legs chained, “freed only when they found their next target of attack,” Pastor Paul’s report explains.
He continues, “One evening they attempted to rob a ship full of valuable merchandise in the Indian Ocean. The vessel’s strong security force fought back, and a fierce gun battle ensued. When a bullet hit Milad in his left shoulder, he jumped into the sea to save himself.”
Almost immediately he reported seeing “a giant fish” darting toward him.
“Whether a shark or a whale he couldn’t tell, but he could see its wide-open mouth ready to finish him off,” Pastor Paul’s report said.
Then, “just as he felt himself sucked into the creature’s mouth, a strange reflection … a bright image of what appeared to be a man, but somehow in the shape of a cross … appeared on and through the water. It was like it came down from above and both reflected off of, and pierced, the dark water. He noticed what looked like blood stains on the luminous image. He felt himself being pulled away from the gaping jaws, and then helped safely to shore.”
Then, as “only God could arrange,” Pastor Paul noted, members of an underground church were in the middle of an all-night prayer vigil only miles away from where Mildad landed ashore.
Pastor Abu’s wife shared suddenly her vision of Jesus saving someone from pirates and a giant fish, and that Mildad – she had been given his name – was now on the shoreline.
“Clearly, an immediate rescue was in order, so the men determined to go find the survivor. They headed out in the direction they’d been shown in the visions. Pastor Abu’s wife remained behind in charge of the vigil, and the women and children continued praying,” the Bibles4Mideast report continued.
Soon, Mildad heard his name being called, by Pastor Abu, Bibles4Mideast reported.
“Don’t be afraid, Milad,” he said. “The one who saved you from the gunshot and from the giant fish in the sea has sent us to you to console you and rescue you. He is Jesus, who was crucified for us on the cross of Calvary and rose from the dead for our salvation. He loves you and wants to make you His own child. Believe in Him and follow Him.”
The pastor then outlined to Mildad what he had just gone through.
His response was to fall down before the pastor, who pointed him toward the Bible, explaining he was just “a servant of God.” Mildad now is in hiding while he studies more of the Bible.
The ministry works in more than a dozen nations throughout the Middle East and Africa, distributing Bibles and starting house churches. It asks for prayer for its continuing work.