Dear AWR Friend,
Last month, on the morning of October 7, we awoke to the news that war had broken out between Israel and Hamas, after a surprise attack on Israel from the Gaza Strip.
We were stunned. Just a few days before, we had received a glowing report from our new AWR radio station in Nazareth, which had recently begun airing programs in Israel and into the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, Palestine and beyond.
The results had been amazing. Pastor Wisam Ali had shared that 300 Arab families in the West Bank were studying the Bible, plus 28 others in the Gaza Strip—something completely unheard of until now! And thousands more were listening to the programs.
I immediately called Wisam, anticipating his distress, but his faith and quiet optimism were an inspiration. He said, “This is God’s work, not ours. He’s in control, and we keep moving forward, sharing His Word.”
He was right, of course, because what God has been doing in that part of the world is nothing short of a miracle. Let me share what has been happening in the last few months.
MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE
At the beginning of August 2023, our radio station received a phone call from a devout Muslim who had found a bottle with one of our radio flyers inside. It contained a link to our station and to Cami Oetman’s Unlocking Bible Prophecies series and my Earth’s Final Countdown series. How that message had come to be in a bottle is a mystery. But it was so unusual that the man, his wife and their 10 grown children began listening to our radio programs and watching both series! As they were Muslim, the men watched my series, and the women watched Cami’s series.
We knew nothing of this until the man called the station to say that he and his family had accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior! But they still had a lot of questions, so Wisam suggested they compare everything they had heard with what was in the Bible, giving them a Bible study guide. They did this, and were amazed that everything they had heard in the prophecy series was indeed in the Bible.
They called our radio station again, and requested that Wisam visit them and share some more truths. They had so many questions and couldn’t get enough about Jesus, the Bible and the Second Coming!
Wisam went to the West Bank and met with them. He said, “It was so interesting to me that the questions they asked were the very same questions I’d had before I became a Christian. I shared with them my experience and the love of God and His plan for my life. With tears of joy they announced to me that they were definitely convinced that Jesus Christ was the Son of God and the Savior of the world.”
They then asked Wisam to stay and eat with them, and the father called all his adult children to be present. He didn’t want any of them to miss out on what was being said. Wisam later shared, “This is very unusual in a strict Muslim culture. It is just not done to allow female members of the family to sit during a visit from a male stranger.”
But that’s what the gospel does when we are focused on Jesus: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave or free, there is neither male nor female for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28)
A DAUGHTER HAS A DREAM
During dinner, one of the daughters spoke up and told the following story. Just a few months before, she’d begun having a dream. Three times she dreamed the same thing: A man stood on a white cloud with light shining from his face. He told her he was calling her family to follow him, and in the dream, one by one, her family members obeyed his command and stood on his right side. Only she was standing alone, undecided, wondering who this man was.
In her dream, she asked the man, “Who are you? Why do I need to follow you?” But every time, before she could receive an answer, she would wake up from her dream.
She said, “Before this dream began, I had always been a strong believer in my faith, but I had so many questions, and I was not allowed to ask any of them. We have always been taught to have a blind faith. This made me angry. I prayed but felt empty. I was sad and felt lost, like God was far away from me. That’s when I had the first dream of this man surrounded with this glorious light. I was confused, I didn’t know who he was, but I felt peace in my heart. I prayed day and night asking God to show me the way.”
She continued, “Today I can tell you that after following Cami’s series, I am sure this person I saw is Jesus Christ, and today I want to tell you that He is my Lord and Savior.”
What an amazing confession! Only God’s Spirit could have moved upon her heart and shown her this truth.
“I’D RATHER HAVE JESUS”
Wisam visited the family several times, studying the Bible with them. The mother of the family embraced the wonderful new truths she was hearing, and with joy in her heart she set out to share the Good News with her own mother and brothers. But they were not happy when they heard of her new beliefs. They wanted no part of this teaching. They said, “If you accept Christ as Lord, you and your family will no longer be welcome in our homes.”
She and her husband called Wisam to tell him what had happened, and that her family had rejected her. When Wisam asked her how she felt about that, she replied, “Nothing in the world will make me change my mind, even if the cost of following Jesus will end my relationship with my mother and brothers, and even if the cost is my own life. I’d rather have Jesus than anything else.”
Wisam later said, “I was so touched to hear her say that. It reminded me of the words of Jesus in Matthew 10:34-37, where He said that choosing Him could mean our enemies would be the members of our own household: ‘Anyone who loves their father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me.’”
Since the war broke out, Wisam has been unable to visit them, but their faith remains strong. We know that nothing the enemy does can stop the work of God’s Spirit. He called this family through a series of miraculous circumstances, and He will carry them through, just like He has promised to do for you and me, and for all who call on Him.
THE GAZA STRIP AND THE WEST BANK
Since the war began, Wisam has lost all contact with the 28 families with whom he was studying the Bible in the Gaza Strip, but he’s still in contact with the 300 families in the West Bank. Many are ready for baptism, but everything has been put on hold and travel has become impossible. Even internet connections are bad, which makes it difficult to communicate.
This week, when I talked to Wisam, he said, “At first, all the attention was focused on the threat from the Gaza Strip, but now the situation is accelerating, and sirens can be heard to the north as well, and parts of Tel Aviv have been told to evacuate. But we are amazed at how the number of radio listeners has sharply increased. People are turning to spiritual things, and God placed us in a prime location right in the nick of time to reach out and share hope—our hope in Jesus.”
![Devastation from the conflict in this region makes travel into the area impossible. But AWR radio listeners have noticeably increased since the fighting began.](05-conflict-region.jpg)
We don’t know what the future holds for Israel, the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, Palestine and beyond. But we know one thing: This is not our work, it’s God’s, and He will see it through.
Just one week before the war began, we closed on the purchase of the bottom floor of the radio station in Nazareth. An organization with mob ties was set to purchase the floor to open a nightclub, and we felt impressed to secure the building and our radio station. This was providential. The cost was steep—$1 million US dollars—but God led the process in an amazing way. And when we moved forward by faith, the waters parted, allowing us to walk through. That’s how it always is when God pushes us forward beyond what we think we can accomplish.
Our radio station in Nazareth will continue to be a beacon of light amid the hopelessness of war and destruction. If what happened to this Muslim family and their daughter is any indication, we know that God Himself will “hear their cry and save them,” because “He is near to all who call on Him.” What a wonderful promise! And to think it applies to anyone, regardless of culture, birth or country. As we approach the time of the end, God’s Spirit is searching all over the world for those who will stand firm for truth.
I can’t end this letter without acknowledging your amazing support that is so often the answer to our earnest prayers. God uses it to open doors of service we never imagined. And how appropriate it is that in this month of Thanksgiving, when so many things seem to be going wrong in the world, we can say “Thank you” for your incredible generosity and your prayers that encourage us and bless so many people around the world. Thank you for making such an incredible difference.
P.S. We can’t wait to see what God will do next! We try very hard to keep you informed of AWR news from around the world, but every day we receive new amazing reports, and **often those where the spiritual battles are the fiercest receive more attention. But make no mistake, God is at work everywhere,** calling people from all walks of life to His wonderful truth. Thank you for having a part in these stories and for making such a profound difference.