Escaping a Martyr’s Fate
Converting to Christianity almost cost Assemblies of God evangelist Christopher D. Alam his life.
Forlorn and combat weary after leaving the army at 21 in 1975, Alam wandered along the Grand Trunk Road, in Lahore, Pakistan. The ancient trading route stretches over 1,500 miles from Afghanistan to Bangladesh. Suicidal thoughts haunted him.
Squeezing between congested autos, bicycles, three-wheelers, and shoppers, he noticed a tall man handing out literature. Curious about the man’s friendly and peaceful demeanor, he approached and accepted a gospel tract.
The distributor, from the United Kingdom, belonged to a street evangelism team from the Jesus People movement, prominent during the 1970s. He shared the gospel, telling Alam, “Jesus Christ will set you free and give you life.”
Alam doubted God would be interested in his despair, or that He even existed. Nevertheless, he bowed to receive Christ on the sidewalk in front of a busy shoe store.
“Although I was a nominal Muslim, I sensed this is what I had been waiting for all my life,” he recalls. “It felt like a huge boulder was taken off me. I wanted to sing and laugh.”
As a novice Christian, Alam joined the evangelism team passing out tracts for several weeks. Alone one day on the street, he says he heard a voice: I will take you all around the world and you will tell people about Jesus. Although gripped with fear, Alam says he understood God’s instruction.
Team members discipled him, gave him a Bible, and helped him understand the cost of following Jesus as outlined in Mark 8:34-35. Within a few weeks, the truth of these verses materialized.
His conversion and openly sharing his new faith enraged his father, a major general in the army, who plotted his son’s commitment to a mental hospital. His family lineage qualifying him as a direct descendant of Muhammad provoked more disgrace.
Alam remained hospitalized for two weeks, sedated but still preaching to everyone. A psychiatrist diagnosed him as sane and discharged him. Soon after, police forced him to live under house arrest with his father. He studied Scripture covertly.
He escaped to Karachi in 1976, but was rearrested and imprisoned for almost a year. Authorities confiscated his identification card and passport, with a warning: You will leave a Muslim or you will die.
Incarceration turned ugly: sleeping on a damp concrete floor wrapped in a vomit-stained blanket; scooping broth from a bucket; and beatings of the soles of his feet. A smuggled pocket Bible encouraged him, especially reading the Acts accounts of Paul and Silas praying and singing hymns in prison.
“It was mind-blowing that God counted me worthy to suffer for Jesus,” he says.
Somehow, his service as an army officer and family friends in high government positions exposed the false charges against him. Granted release, he returned to his father with restrictions, but sneaked out for discipling from an American missionary.
Threats of beheading for apostasy forced him to flee Pakistan.
Assisted by underground Christians, he slipped into Afghanistan in 1977. Military intelligence agents traced his escape path via Turkey, Russia, Belgium, and finally to Sweden, where the government granted political asylum.
Welcomed by Scandinavian Christians, he met his wife, Britta, in church. They married in 1979. He attended Torchbearers Bible School in Holsbybrunn before moving to Uppsala ministering to immigrants and taught at the Word of Life Training Center for four years. In 1983, he led his first mission trip bringing food and preaching to youth camps in Poland. Many young people made commitments to Christ and received baptism in the Holy Spirit. Invitations to return followed, with attendance eventually approaching 12,000.
Shortly thereafter, Alam founded Dynamis World Ministries, a precursor to conducting mass evangelism outreaches in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
In 1993, Alam moved the ministry’s headquarters to Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He joined the Assemblies of God as a full-time evangelist in 2006.
In the past 40 years, Alam has preached in more than 75 nations. In one of only two crusades in South Asia in 2020 because of COVID-19 restrictions, a paralyzed and blind woman was healed during a mass prayer for the crowd as she sat in a car driven to the crusade by her pastor.
Alam, 67, also been involved in church planting efforts in Asia, Eastern Europe, and Africa, where he opened a base in Zimbabwe. He also conducts services in the U.S.
“We have experienced God’s power in brother Christopher’s preaching at our church for the last eight years,” says Kevin B. Berry, senior pastor of Mount Hope Church, an Assemblies of God congregation in Lansing, Michigan. “Deaf and blind members of our congregation have been healed. The message of the gospel is the heart and core of his ministry.”