Saman’s Story

Sharon and I were first introduced to Saman on a trip to Northern Iraq in 2005. A Kurdish pastor picked us up at the border of Turkey to take us to his town in Kurdistan where I was helping to install a printing press for a Bible printing operation for the Kurdish Christians.

As we drove away from the Turkish border, I asked the pastor, “Who is your friend in the front seat?” Although he didn’t speak any English, he twisted around to shake my hand with a big smile on his face. The Pastor said, “His name is Saman. He used to be a terrorist, but now he is a Christian.” “WOW!” I could hardly wait to get to the Pastor’s home and set up my video camera to record his testimony.
The next day Saman began to tell us his story. He had commanded a small group of terrorists and conducted a raid leaving several men dead. In the shirt pocket of one of the dead men, one of them found a small booklet entitled “The Book of Luke”. They handed the book to Saman and asked him to read it so they could make fun of the Christians. He took the small booklet home that evening and began to read it with the intentions of ridiculing it. But as he read, he was impressed by what Jesus said and did. He showed kindness and compassion to the people, went around healing and preaching. As he read about the Pharisees, he said to himself, “I am a Pharisee! That describes me.” When he got to chapter 6 of Luke, he read, “I say to you, love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” Those words struck him with such impact! “How could anyone say LOVE YOUR ENEMIES? Only God could say love your enemies.” Then he thought, “but Jesus is the one saying it. Is Jesus really the Son of God?”

As he wrestled with that thought, he made a genuine prayer, “Allah, I need you to show me which is right, Islam or Christianity?” As he went to sleep that night, the Lord gave him a spiritual dream. In his dream, he saw a long wall and a line of men riding by on horses. One by one, he recognized them as the prophets mentioned in the Qur’an: Abraham, Moses, David, etc. Then finally one came by on a white horse, riding side saddle and wearing a white veil over his face. In his dream, Saman pointed his finger at the man and asked, “Sir, who are you?” Lifting the veil, the kind face of Jesus appeared with glowing eyes as He spoke, “Saman, I am Jesus and I love you!

Saman immediately awoke from his dream in tears as he proclaimed, “I met Jesus! I met Jesus!” He knew he had been in the presence of the Lord and he couldn’t get over it. He determined that he must find some christians, but where? Some time later as he was walking the streets of the city, he found himself staring into the front store window of a Christian bookstore. There he saw some books with the name of Jesus on the covers. He entered and met the bookstore manager who invited him to sit and read as much as he wanted. After several days of returning to the bookstore, the manager asked him, “Saman, you have read many of our books and I have answered many of your questions. Would you like to give your life to Jesus and become a Christian?”

“Yes, yes, that is what I want!” After being introduced to the local pastor and the church, he was soon baptized and became actively involved in the church. He is now working for a ministry distributing Bibles in Iraq!

The story of Saman shows the power of God’s Word which alone is able to transform the life of a Muslim terrorist. We know that these “Life of Jesus” books will bring life to many as they read the scriptures and experience the power of God to transform them as well. The majority of Muslims who have become Christians have done so only after reading or hearing God’s Word. Sometimes that is followed by spiritual dreams. The printed scriptures carry with it the power of God and are critical to the salvation experience. Please pray that many Christians will get involved and help distribute these as they meet Arabic speaking Muslims here on our American soil.