Abundantly Blessed! Fall 2016

Dear Friends,

It is amazing to me that I have been working with Salam ministries for 10 years.  God has blessed this ministry abundantly.  By the Grace of God and your support, 36 people have been baptized over these years.  Many more are involved in worship and Bible studies.  We also have helped with public aid, driver’s licenses, household needs and finding doctors.

During this season of Thanksgiving and Christmas I am reminded of His saving grace and your generous support.  Your support financially and your prayers encourage me and Salam’s board to keep pressing on.

As you know the devil is alive and well and likes to put road blocks in the way.  Please continue to pray for protection for my family and the Middle Eastern Christians.

May Jesus fill you with His peace during this season.

Missionary Hesham Shehab

This past year Hesham has been spreading the good news and sharing about Salam Ministries.  Some of the places he has been are:

  • English District Conference Buffalo, NY
  • St. John Pierce, NE
  • Risen Christ Plymouth, MI
  • St. Paul Oconomowoc, WI
  • St. James Shawano, WI
  • Community of Life Oregon, WI
  • Indiana District Conference
  • Our Shepherd Lutheran Church
  • Anderson, IN

This is where he will be spreading the good news in 2017:

  • December: Phoenix, AZ at the Confedex Conference
  • December: Christ Church of Oakbrook – Four weeks on Islam and Christianity
  • January 7 & 8: Our Savior Carol Stream – Salam Banquet/Fundraiser
  • January 15: Stillman Valley, IL
  • April: Pastors Gathering at Hosanna Lutheran Buffalo, MN
  • Teaches a life long learning course at College of DuPage every semester

Marina’s Story

Marina was born in Morocco in 1970 into a Muslim family. She grew up reading the Quran.

Marina could not conceive which led to a divorce. After her divorce, she met an Iraqi man (Ahmad) online. Chatting with him was interesting, but the most intriguing was his faith.  He had an Islamic name but he was not a Muslim.  Ahmad guided her towards an online TV program t   hat exposes the fallacy of Islam. After watching many episodes, she decided to study the Quran more, in order to refute what the program was saying about Islam.  Marina just became more confused. She asked Ahmad for guidance. He told her that she should pray every night and ask God to show her the truth.

After praying for weeks, Marina saw Jesus twice in a dream and with Him was Brother Rachid, the founder of the TV show.  Marina called the TV station, and asked them to guide her to

Moroccan believers.  They provided her with a Bible and Marina became a Christ follower.

Because her family would ostracize her, she followed Jesus in secret.

After two years, an Egyptian asked her hand in marriage. She agreed to marry him, thinking she could live her Christian faith freely, especially because she would be joining him in the United States.

However, Marina’s troubles did not end. After a few months of their marriage, her husband’s bad habits and addictions that he had hidden from her began to show. He drank heavily and began physically abusing her.  In the end he kicked her out in the middle of winter.

Marina thought she would find refuge with Muslim relatives in Chicagoland. Once they discovered she was a Christian they kicked her out and she ended up living in a shelter.

Praise God that Marina met a woman who knew Missionary Hesham.  Hesham met with Marina several times instructing her in the Christian teachings on baptism. After weeks of instruction and attending Salam, Marina was baptized on 11/12/2016.

Marina hopes to serve God’s Kingdom.  She is an avid reader of Christian teachings and speaks French and Arabic fluently.  She attends ESL classes twice a week. Please pray that God uses

Marina in wonderful and mighty ways.

You are invited to a Nowruz Celebration March 24   at Peace Lutheran Church in Lombard, IL.

Nowruz “New Day” holiday commemorates the Persian New Year.  This holiday dates back 3,000 years.  It is one of the largest annual holidays celebrated by Iranian and Persian people, Kurds and some Arabs of all religions.  Many set up a haftseen table decorating it with things reminding people of spring and new birth. Items often found on the table are grass, eggs, mirrors, and other things celebrating spring and new beginnings.

Salam hosts a Nowruz celebration each year inviting Middle Easterners to join them.  The celebration includes the haftseen table with the addition of a cross and Bible, worship, a meal (made by women from Salam), and music.

Jesus Waking Up Muslims Through Visions and Dreams

We are often reminded at Salam Christian Fellowship of God’s Grace and the comfort that Jesus brings. Often times it is a slow, but dramatic change of heart that lead Middle Easterners to know Jesus.  However, many times it is visions and dreams of Jesus that point the Muslims to Salam and to the Word of God, where they find hope and comfort.  Here are a few stories of how dreams changed peoples lives.

One Iranian man had a supernatural experience like that of St. Paul.  He had ignored Jesus for eight years, attending Salam on and off.  Driving from work one night, his car was jolted to a stop by a flash of lightning that morphed into a cross.  He came back home weeping like a baby until sunrise.  In the morning, he called me (Hesham) asking for an explanation.  I told him, “You have run away from Jesus for eight years, but the Hound of Heaven hunted you down and caught up with you.”

Last May, an Iranian lady, Farida, 35, was baptized. She had seen Jesus and John the Baptist in a dream last year. John the Baptist was holding a bowl of water in his hands. She came to me then and asked, “What should I do?” I replied “You need to be baptized.” After she had gone through proper teaching, she was baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Last month, her husband, Ahmed, 43, had a visitation from Jesus and is coming to Salam with dedication.

Another man, Farid, who is a Syrian refugee and been coming to Salam for Almost a year, saw Jesus in a dream.  Jesus came into his home, and he did not first recognize Him.  Farid asked Him, “How did you come in here, and who let you in?”  Jesus said, “I am everywhere and know everything.”  And Jesus pointed to another person who came into the dream… Hesham.  Jesus said to Farid, “Ask this man and he will tell you about me.”

Like Peter, Paul, and Jacob of the Bible, God is using dreams to make a difference in the lives of Middle Easterners.  Pray that He continues to do so and that they recognize the significance of their dream and come to Salam to learn more!

Salam Fellowship Mission, History & Results

Hesham Shehab grew up in a world of bitter animosity between Muslims and Christians.  By age 13, he was recruited by the Muslim Brotherhood and later fought against Christians.  In 1980, his brother was killed by a Christian militia.  Hesham’s response was to study by day, and by night take out his revenge in attacks on Christians.

However, hearing the Sermon on the Mount in a course of cultural studies brought him to faith.  Later, Hesham earned a M.A. in the History of the Arabs from the American University of Beirut (AUB), and did Ph. D studies in the History of Islam.  He moved to the U.S. in 2004, finished his pastoral education at Concordia, Fort Wayne, IN, and is in the Ph. D Missiology program there.

In 2008, with the support of local LCMS churches, Missionary Hesham planted Salam Christian Fellowship, a mission to Muslims in the western suburbs of Chicago. and has so far baptized 30 people from the Middle East. Salam has not only shared the love of Christ by giving refugees the Bread of Life, it also has a social ministry for helping with some of the basic needs for immigrants entering the United States.  It provides social services, transportation, translations, furniture and counseling. Salam reaches out to refugees and new immigrants from eight Middle Eastern countries, and shares the Gospel with Muslims in three languages. In Addition to weekly worship services at Peace LC, Lombard that are attended by 20-30 adult Middle Easterners and 10-15 Western supporters, Missionary Hesham has established many other ministries and Christian services to the local Middle Eastern Communities in both the Arabic and Farsi languages.

Salam Christian Fellowship is a faith ministry that depends on the donations of God’s people and their zeal to fulfill the Great Commission.  Missionary Hesham is the only salaried individual within the Salam ministry.  The volunteers and donations from various organizations and individuals are a critical part of expanding His Kingdom.  Under the leadership of Missionary Hesham Shehab, the Salam Ministry teaches, respects, and does not act contrary to the doctrine and practices of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS).  All Leadership and staff are responsible for maintaining these doctrinal standards in all aspects of Salam’s ministry to Muslims and Middle Eastern Immigrants.

 God’s Blessings to Salam

By the Grace of God, the financial support for the Salam ministry increases every year.  The current fiscal year’s operating budget is $150,000.00.  The generous support of 32 churches or organizations and 84 individuals are making this possible.  Salam’s ministry is staffed entirely by volunteers except for Pastor Hesham Shehab who is the only paid employee.  Vehicle (gas, maintenance and insurance), minor operating costs and member benevolence and acculturation expenses make up the balance.  This month it was also necessary to replace the old Salam passenger van with a used Chevy van at a cost of $24,000.00.

Designated gifts for special purposes or specific individuals are expected to total an additional $17,000.00 this year.  In addition, generous “gifts in kind” like furnishing, household goods, cars and so forth are also collected and distributed to newly-arrived Middle Eastern immigrants.

Specialized grant requests are regularly submitted to help Salam move to the next organizational level.  This will be a big step to improve Salam’s outreach to a larger Middle Eastern community involving additional volunteer training, paid staff, vehicles, and increased operating expenses.

Prayer Requests

  • For Hesham’s health and strength
  • For Mona as she ministers to abused women and for her studies to become a Lay Minister
  • For the Nowruz celebration that unbelievers are drawn to Salam Fellowship to hear the Good News
  •  That God opens the hearts of Middle Easterners to hear His Word