More Than Dreams: Muslims Coming to Christ Through Dreams and Visions
For decades, a well-documented phenomenon has been occurring in the Muslim world—men and women who, without knowledge of the gospel, or contact among Christians in their community, have experienced dreams and visions of Jesus Christ. The reports of these supernatural occurrences often come from “closed countries” where there is no preaching of the good news and where converting to Christianity can invoke the death sentence. But these are more than just dreams. Setting them apart is the intense reality of the experience and the surrender of one’s heart and mind to Christ in the wake of the dream. A common denominator appears to be that the dreams come to those who are seeking—as best they can—to know and please God.
Beginning in 2002, a group of people interested in this phenomenon took initial steps in bringing it to the attention of a worldwide audience through a series of video programs. Numerous on-site interviews were conducted with former Muslims who had experienced a dream or vision of Jesus resulting in their conversion to Christianity. From the outset, the producers endeavored to represent a global cross-section of Islam in the series, and for that reason, stories were sought in Arabic-speaking countries, Muslim areas throughout Africa and Asia and the secular Muslim nation of Turkey.
The project’s goal was to create versions of these stories in multiple languages, and, in league with ministry partners around the world, disseminate the product globally both to evangelize unbelievers and encourage those who have already experienced a dream or vision of Jesus that they are not alone. The following five stories were put together into the video series called More Than Dreams:
- Khalil. In September 2004, production began in high-definition video on the first of five stories. It was the remarkable account of Khalil, a radical Egyptian terrorist who was changed from a murderous “Saul” to a forgiving “Paul.” He set out to discredit the Bible but could not; and although he despised Christians and Jews, his heart was changed forever when the savior appeared to him in a dream that penetrated his soul.
- Khosrow. Later that same month, production began on the story of Khosrow, who, as a teenager in Iran, despaired of life itself. That is, until he experienced a vision of Jesus Christ. In the vision, Christ extended his hand toward Khosrow, inviting him to take hold and promising him that his “life would change forever.” Khosrow took Jesus’ hand and, as he describes it, “waves of electricity flowed through my body over and over again. I wept for the first time since I was a child and joy filled my heart.”
- Dini. Dini also came to faith in Christ as a teenager in her native Indonesia. Feeling let down by family, friends and society and drifting into rebellion, Dini nonetheless yearned to know God and please him. On the night of Lailatur Qodar, when Muslims around the world make individualized prayers to Allah, Dini experienced a vision of Jesus Christ, who appeared before her and told her to follow him. Dini was hesitant. As a Muslim, she realized that following Christ would make her a Christian. But she overcame her fear and committed her life to Christ that same night. Peace filled her heart, even as persecution began.
More Than Dreams tells the stories of
individuals in the Muslim world who
have had visions or dreams
of Jesus Christ.
- Ali. Ali grew up in an area of Turkey heavily influenced by communist ideology. As a boy, he talked to a god he surmised must be there, as evidenced by the beauty of the natural world around him. Married at a young age, he became an alcoholic. Desperate for a solution to his addiction, Ali went to Saudi Arabia to work in construction, reasoning that he would have to quit drinking because alcohol was forbidden there. To his dismay, friends showed him where to buy liquor on the night of his arrival. Not willing to give up easily, Ali made the pilgrimage to Mecca in hopes that God would free him of his addiction to alcohol and lead him in the way of a true and better Muslim. While sleeping a stone’s throw from the Ka’aba, Ali experienced a dream of Jesus Christ that changed him forever.
More Than Dreams Video Programs
The distribution strategy of More Than Dreams involves a multi-pronged approach in which each of the five stories will be dubbed into different languages in order to reach the largest target audience possible. It is estimated that Islam numbers over one billion followers worldwide. Through satellite broadcasts and massive “home video” distribution on VCD, DVD and VHS, it is hoped that More Than Dreams will reach millions of Muslims. The producers are allowing distribution partners to use the programs and even make copies for evangelistic purposes without royalty payments. The website www.morethandreams.tv provides more information on the series as well as on partnership opportunities.
The language conversion strategy is to first dub all five stories into the five original languages featured in More Than Dreams: Arabic, Farsi, Bahasa Indonesia, Hausa and Turkish. At the same time, they are planning on dubbing them into several other languages commonly spoken by Muslims: French, English, Urdu, Bengali, Kyble Berber and Russian. After this, depending on factors such as funding availability and distribution partner interest, they hope to put the series into many other languages, including a variety of Central Asian languages, Mandarin Chinese, German, Fulani, Bahasa Malaysia, Swahili and Tagalog.
Complimenting the audio-visual approach, the producers have designed an Arabic-language website to handle follow-up inquiries. This site was designed in such a way that it can also serve as a template for More Than Dreams follow-up websites in other languages.
Through satellite broadcasts and massive “home video” distribution on VCD, DVD and VHS, it is hoped that More Than Dreams will reach millions of Muslims.
To date, the entire series has aired several times in Arabic on satellite TV across the Middle East and North Africa. It is also currently airing in Farsi on a satellite channel broadcasting to Iran and the Iranian Diaspora in Europe. Broadcasts are planned for other language versions as they are completed.
However, due to the nature of More Than Dreams, the producers are putting more emphasis on physical distribution in DVD and VCD format than on broadcast of the series. In fact, they have set a goal of distributing ten million copies directly and through partnerships in the next three to five years. The first major distribution occurred mid-2006 in Europe. An Arabic-language version of the product was developed. It featured three of the five stories, a ministry segment featuring a Muslim Background Believer (MBB) explaining how to accept Christ and how to walk with him and an Arabic Bible in electronic format. Partnering organizations handed out thousands of copies to Arabs attending the Germany 2006 World Cup matches involving Saudi Arabia and Tunisia. They distributed many more copies as well to Arabs and North African residents in Europe as well as to North Africans traveling by ferry between Europe and North Africa. A few months later, the same content was packaged on two VCDs and duplicated for distribution in North Africa.
More Than Dreams producers are beginning to receive many email reports of the ministry impact of the series. One American was able to lead an Indonesian girl to Christ by asking her to listen to the audio of the Dini story through an Internet telephone. Many Arabic-speakers have written to share how they too have had dreams or visions of Christ and were encouraged to see these types of experiences featured on television. Middle Eastern Christians have written to express appreciation for the project. A believer in Jordan wrote that he loves watching it because it strengthens his faith and gives him inner peace. Another Middle Eastern believer wrote, “I want [a DVD copy of] this film because there are many things said in the programs that can touch my friends' hearts and souls and maybe by seeing it they will accept Jesus in their lives.”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer once wrote, “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” This joining of one to Christ may or may not embody a physical death, but it is always a death to one’s self-interest. One-sixth of the world’s population is bound by ignorance and separated from God. Yet in their zeal to know and serve the only god they know, many of the world’s Muslims put practitioners of other world religions—including Christians—to shame. How can we, as followers of Jesus Christ, ignore their plight? As the Apostle Paul wrote, “How are they to call on one in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in one of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim him?” (Romans 10:14)
The tools are in our hands. The will is in our heart as we strive to announce the year of the Lord’s favor and to bring spiritual freedom to all those crying out in spiritual darkness. Ministries interested in More Than Dreams are invited to email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.morethandreams.tv.