Amazing Story of How a Christian Preacher named ‘Skip’ Came to Islam-2
The concluding part of a Christian preacher’s account of his journey in search of the truth and his eventual acceptance of Islam. The first installment of this serial feature was published in the November 2015 issue of Young Muslim Digest.
Preacher has heart attack
One day my friend with the cross had a heart attack and had to go to the Veterans Hospital where he stayed for quite a long while. I used to visit him in the hospital several times a week and I would take Mohamed with me with the hopes that we could all share together in the subject of beliefs and religions. My friend was not very impressed and it was obvious that he did not want to know anything about Islam. Then one day a man who was sharing the room with my friend came rolling into the room in his wheelchair. I went to him and asked him his name and he said that it didn’t matter and when I asked him where he was from, he said he was from the planet Jupiter. I thought about what he said and then began to wonder if I was in the cardiac ward or the mental ward.
Man in wheelchair – needed the Lord
I knew the man was lonely and depressed and needed someone in his life. So, I began to ‘witness’ to him about the Lord. I read to him out of the book of Jonah in the Old Testament. I shared the story of the prophet Jonah who had been sent by the Lord to call his people to the correct way. Jonah had left his people and escaped by boat to leave his city and head out to sea. A storm came up and the ship almost capsized and the people on board threw Jonah over the side of the ship. A whale came up to the surface and grabbed Jonah, swallowed him and then went down to the bottom of the sea, where he stayed for 3 days and 3 nights. Yet because of God’s Mercy, He caused the whale to rise to the surface and then spit Jonah out to return back home safely to his city of Nineveh. And the idea was that we can’t really run away from our problems because we always know what we have done. And what is more, God also always knows what we have done.
A Catholic Priest
After sharing this story with the man in the wheel chair, he looked up and me and apologized. He told me he was sorry for his rude behaviour and that he had experienced some real serious problems recently. Then he said that he wanted to confess something to me. And I said that I was not a Catholic priest and I don’t handle confessions. He replied back to me that he knew that. In fact, he said: “I am a Catholic priest.”
I was shocked. Here I had been trying to preach Christianity to a priest. What in the world was happening here?
Priest in Latin America
The priest began to share his story of being a missionary for the church for over 12 years to south and Central America and Mexico and even in New York’s ‘Hell’s Kitchen.’ When he was released from the hospital, he needed a place to go to recover. Rather than let him go to stay with a Catholic family, I told my dad that we should invite him to come out and live with us in the country along with our families and Mohamed. It was agreed by all that he would so, he moved out right away.
Priests must study ISLAM? – Yes!
During the trip out to our home, I talked with the priest about some of the concepts of beliefs in Islam and to my surprise he agreed and then shared even more about this with me. I was shocked when he told me that Catholic priests actually study Islam and some even carry doctor’s degrees in this subject. This was all very enlightening to me. But there was still a lot more to come.
Different versions of the Bible
After settling in, we all began to gather around the kitchen table after dinner every night to discuss religion. My father would bring his King James Version of the Bible, I would bring out my Revised Standard Version of the Bible, my wife had another version of the Bible (maybe something like Jimmy Swaggart’s ‘Good News for Modern Man.” The priest of course, had the Catholic Bible which has seven more books in it that the Protestant Bible. So we spent more time talking about which Bible was the right one or the most correct one, than we did trying to convince Mohamed about becoming a Christian.
Qur’an has only ONE version –in Arabic – and still exists
At one point I recall asking him about the Qur’an and how many versions of it there were during the last 1,400 years. He told me that there was only ONE QUR’AN. And that it had never been changed. Yet, he let me know that the Qur’an had been memorized by hundreds of thousands of people, in its entirety and were scattered about the earth in many different countries. Over the centuries since the Qur’an was revealed millions have memorized it completely and have taught it to others who have memorized it completely, from cover to cover, letter perfect without mistakes. Today, over nine million Muslims have memorized the entire Qur’an from cover to cover.
How could this be?
This did not seem possible to me. After all, the original languages of the Bible have all been dead languages for centuries and the documents themselves have been lost in their originals for hundreds and thousands of years. So, how could it be that something like this could be so easy to preserve and to recite from cover to cover?
Priest goes to the mosque
Anyway, one day the priest asked Mohamed if he might accompany him to the mosque to see what it was like there. They came back talking about their experience there and we could not wait to ask the priest what it was like and what all types of ceremonies they performed. He said they didn’t really ‘do’ anything. They just came and prayed and left. I said: “They left? Without any speeches or singing?” He said that was right.
Priest enters Islam!
A few more days went by and the Catholic priest asked Mohamed if he might join him again for a trip to the mosque which they did. But this time it was different. They did not come back for a very long time. It became dark and we worried that something might have happened to them. Finally they arrived and when they came in the door, I immediately recognized Mohamed, but who was this alongside of him? Someone wearing a white robe and a white cap. Hold on a minute! It was the priest. I said to him: “Pete? – Did you become a ‘Moslem?’ He said that he had entered into Islam that very day. THE PRIEST BECAME A MUSLIM!! What next? (You’ll see).
My wife announces her Islam!
So, I went upstairs to think things over a bit and began to talk to my wife about the whole subject. She then told me that she too was going to enter into Islam, because she knew it was the truth.
I was really shocked now. I went downstairs and woke up Mohamed and asked him to come outside with me for a discussion. We walked and talked that whole night through.
Truth had come!
By the time he was ready to pray Fajr (the morning prayer of the Muslims), I knew that the truth had come at last and now it was up to me to do my part. I went out back behind my father’s house and found an old piece of plywood lying under an overhang and right there I put my head down on the ground facing the direction that the Muslims pray five times a day.
Guide me! O God! Guide me!
Now then in that position, with my body stretched out on the plywood and my head on the ground, I asked: “O God. If you are there, guide me, guide me.”
Sign inside of me
And then after a while I raised up my head and I noticed something. No, I didn’t see birds or angels coming out of the sky nor did I hear voices or music, nor did I see bright lights and flashes. What I did notice was a change inside of me. I was aware now more than ever before that it was time for me to stop any lying and doing anything sneaky. It was time that I really work at being an honest and upright man. I knew now what I had to do.
Wash away the “OLD”
So I went upstairs and took a shower with the distinct idea that I was ‘washing’ away the sinful old person that I had become over the years. And I was now coming into a new, fresh life. A life based on truth and proof.
And become new!
Around 11:00 A.M. that morning, I stood before two witnesses, one the ex-priest, formerly known as Father Peter Jacobs, and the other Mohamed Abel Rehman and announced my ‘shahadah’ (open testimony to the Oneness of God and the prophethood of Muhammad, peace be upon him).
“I bear witness, there is no deity to worship, except Almighty Allah, alone and He has no partners and I bear witness that Mohammad is His messenger and servant.”
My wife was next
A few minutes later, my wife followed along and gave the same testimony. But hers was in front of three witnesses (me being the third).
Then my mother
My father was a bit more reserved on the subject and waited a few more months before he made his shahadah (public testimony). But he did finally commit to Islam and began offering prayers right along with me and the other Muslims in the local masjid (mosque).
The children were taken out of the Christian school and placed in Muslim schools. And now ten years later, they are memorizing much of the Qur’an and the teachings of Islam.
Father’s wife (stepmother) next
My father’s wife finally acknowledged, before she died, that Jesus could not be a son of God and that he must have been a mighty prophet of God, but not God. She passed away within a few months of this statement at age 86. May Allah accept her statement of faith, ameen.
Houseful of new Muslims –What next?
Now stop and think. A whole household of people from varying backgrounds and ethnic groups coming together in truth to learn how to know and worship the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe. Think. A Catholic priest; a minister of music and preacher of the Gospel; an ordained minister and builder of Christian schools; and the children, even a great-grandmother – they all come into Islam!
His Nercy and Guidance
Only by His mercy were we all guided to see the real truth of Islam, by removing the coverings over our ears and the blinders on our eyes, no longer having seals over our hearts – He was guiding us now.
Amazing Story – Family and Friends entering Islam – from one Man
If I were to stop right here, I’m sure that you would have to admit that at least, this is an amazing story, right? After all, three religious leaders of three separate denominations all going into one very opposite belief at the same time and then soon after the rest of the household.
More? – Yes! Baptist Seminary student reads Quran – accepts Islam
But that is not all. There is more! The same year, while I was in Grand Prairie, Texas (near Dallas) I met a Baptist seminary student from Tennessee named Joe, who also came to Islam after reading the Holy Quran while in Baptist Seminary College!
More? Yes. Catholic priest loves Islam – but needs his job!
There are others as well. I recall the case of the Catholic priest in a college town who talked about the good things in Islam so much that I was forced to ask him why he didn’t enter Islam. He replied: “What? And lose my job?” – His name is Father John and we still pray for Allah to Guide Him.
Another Catholic priest makes Shahadah
The very next year I met a former Catholic priest who had been a missionary for 8 years in Africa. He learned about Islam while he was there and entered into Islam. He then changed his name to Omar and moved to Dallas, Texas.
Any more? Again – Yes! Orthodox Arch Bishop leaves church for Islam
Two years later, while in San Antonio, Texas I was introduced to a former Arch Bishop of the Orthodox Church of Russia who learned about Islam and gave up his position to enter Islam.
Daughter of Hindu Pundit (religious leader) – accepts Islam – helping thousands to Islam
I met a woman in New York who wanted to make our CDs about “What Is Islam?” After giving her permission several years ago, I have learned she has produced and distributed over 600 thousand of these to the non-Muslims in America. May Allah reward her and keep her strong in her efforts, ameen.
Hundreds – thousands – still coming
And since my own entrance into Islam and becoming a chaplain to the Muslims throughout the country and around the world, I have encountered many more individuals who were leaders, teachers, and scholars in other religions who learned about Islam and entered into it. They came from Hindus, Jews, Catholics, Protestants, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Greek and Russian Orthodox, Coptic Christians from Egypt, non-denominational churches and even scientists who had been atheists.
Why? Good question
The combination always seems to be the same; people are sincerely seeking the truth and are willing to put their different prejudices and biases out of their minds and begin to ask God for His Guidance in their lives.
So, now you have the introduction to the story of my coming into Islam and becoming Muslim. There is more on the Internet about this story and there are some pictures there as well. Please take the time to visit it and then please take the time to email me and let us come together to share in all truths based on proofs for understanding our origins and our purpose and goals in this life and the Next Life.