By Mark Ellis, Senior Correspondent for ASSIST News Service
SOUTH ASIA (ANS – September 28, 2016) — He was the son of an Islamic scholar and part of an ancient, prominent Muslim family in South Asia.
“My grandfather is the founder of the present mosque and my ancestral home is very close to the mosque,” says Paul Ciniraj, founder of Bibles4Mideast. “There was not even a single Christian in the schools where I studied.”
Ciniraj was brought up with a high regard and love for Islamic teachings and practices. He even wrote and published a book about the Qur’an.
Ironically, he attended a Christian college, and found himself in the minority as a Muslim. “I had difficulty to mingle with my classmates in the beginning. But gradually I became close and intimate with them.”
At the college he developed some “wretched” habits. “I started smoking, began to use drugs and alcohol, streaking, and being known as rowdy,” he recalls.
Damaging reports and embarrassing photos made their way into the newspaper, which disturbed his family. He considered dropping out of school.
Ciniraj found himself addicted to drugs and alcohol to such an extent that if he didn’t use them consistently, he got very tense and his body would start to shake.
“I was on the watch-list of the police. My parents cut off the money which they were giving me regularly,” he recalls. The friends he enjoyed when he had money seemed to vanish after his money wasted away. He completely lost his peace of mind.
Unexpectedly, some mission-minded students felt compassion for him and were led to share with Ciniraj about God.
“They claimed that Jesus is the Son of God who was crucified for mankind. They said He rose from the dead and He is the King of Peace. They further claimed that if one believes in Him and confesses all sins he will become a new person.”
Rejecting a Christian witness
Ciniraj was repulsed by their claims. He couldn’t begin to imagine that Jesus is the Son of God or that he rose from the dead.
“You can only reach heaven by believing in Islam, which is the true religion,” he told them. He had heated arguments with his classmates on many occasions. While they criticized his lifestyle, they couldn’t seem to overcome his arguments.
One day they brought some gospel tracts to Ciniraj. Because they were based on the Bible, which he considered forbidden, he flew into a rage.
Ciniraj tore the tracts into pieces and threw them into the Christians’ faces. “I will destroy you if you continue misleading others,” he warned.
Photo captions: 1) Paul and Mercy Ciniraj. 2) Mark Ellis.
About the writer: Mark Ellis is Senior Correspondent for the ASSIST News Service (www.assistnews.net), and also founder of www.GodReports.com, a website that shares stories, testimonies and videos from the church around the world. He is also co-host for “Windows on the World” with ANS Founder, Dan Wooding, which is aired weekly on the Holy Spirit Broadcasting Network (http://hsbn.tv).
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