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After watching the Jesus film and listening to Christian radio, on July 15, 2001, Samuel (not his real name) took a monumental step for an Afghan and Muslim—he received Christ as his Lord and Savior. Soon thereafter, as Western aid workers were either arrested or expelled from Kabul, the Taliban came for him. They told Samuel he was guilty of "working for foreigners," which had been legal, and threw him in jail.

For the next 14 days, they beat Samuel at least once a day with a five-foot steel cable. After the last of these sessions, he fell unconscious in his prison cell.

That night, Samuel had a dream. In it, a luminous man wearing bright white clothes appeared. The visitor, whom Samuel would later describe as having "very beautiful feet and shoulder-length hair," spoke kindly to him. Then he said, "Get up." In the dream, the visitor led Samuel out of the cell. Going to the front gate, the ex-Muslim met another man, who was wearing bright green (many Muslims associate green with God's blessing). This man led him out of the prison.

Then Samuel awoke, finding his cell door open. "He walked through it to find the front gate of the prison unguarded and open," a close Western associate says. "He walked out and into the night."

A year after the September 11 terrorist attacks, Christians in many countries report fresh momentum in the spiritual battle of presenting the gospel to the world's 1.2 billion followers of Islam. While not all stories of Muslims finding freedom in Christ are as dramatic as Samuel's, the church has entered a new era of opportunity.

Dudley Woodberry, professor of Islamic studies at the School of World Mission at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, says he sees increased openness to the Christian message ...

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September 9, 2002

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