Wisam was born into a powerful family in Nazareth. As a young man, he was taught to hate Christians and their pork-eating and alcohol-drinking ways. So when he learned that his sister had become a Christian while pursuing her studies in Europe, he was irate and immediately told his family.
The family called a tribal council, and an uncle told Wisam, “You must go to Europe and kill her!”
Soon Wisam was on his way to kill his sister. Hoping to change her mind, he called her and said, “I have been sent by the family to kill you.”
Much to his surprise, she remained calm and asked Wisam to give her a year. He agreed to wait, and she then suggested that he stay at the Bogenhofen Christian school in Austria and study German.
Wisam liked this idea. He was sure that doors were opening for him to convert Christians to his religion! But as time passed, the opposite happened. There grew in him a desire to know the Jesus who raised the dead and forgave sins. By the time the year ended, Wisam had accepted Jesus and was baptized. Instead of killing his sister, he attended her wedding to an Adventist pastor!
When Wisam returned to Nazareth, he was received with suspicion. His uncle was angry when he learned that Wisam had not killed his sister. And when Wisam boldly asked the council whether they knew Jesus, his uncle shouted, “Stone him!”
The men picked up rocks and hurled them at Wisam until he fell to the ground, unconscious. His father, moved to compassion, ordered one of Wisam’s brothers to rescue him and take him to the hospital, where he eventually recovered from his injuries. But when he returned home, the hostility continued, and a few days later, he was stoned again! This time, his parents suggested he leave Israel.
Wisam decided to study theology at Bogenhofen and Southern Adventist University. During that time, he married Adri, an Adventist woman from South Africa, and together they pastored several churches throughout Europe.
Then an amazing thing happened: Wisam was asked to pastor in the Israel Field—right in his hometown of Nazareth!
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Last year, Adventist World Radio (AWR) delivered a supply of Godpods for Wisam to share with his community. These Godpods contain the whole Bible in Arabic and Farsi, plus Bible studies and children’s stories.
The AWR ministry team learned that, in the previous year, two of Wisam’s cousins—angry at his Christian influence in the community—had rallied a mob that went to his house to attack him. One of his cousins carried a large butcher knife, and when Wisam came out of the house, they rushed him, screaming insults.
These cousins were the same ones who, years before, had actively participated in his stoning. Their father was now dead, but the sons continued his legacy of hatred.
As Adri prayed, Wisam faced his aggressors. Unwilling to fight, Wisam turned to go. At that moment, one of his cousins charged, stabbing him with enough force to plunge the sharp blade deep into his back.
Well, at least, that was their plan, but what really happened is a different story: the blade of the thick knife bent at a 90-degree angle!
The cousin holding the knife dropped it in confusion. Wisam’s brother picked up the now-useless blade and shook it in the air, saying, “Now try to kill the man of God!”
The crowd quickly dispersed, but as they were leaving, one of the cousins turned and shouted, “Wisam, you will not know how or when or where, but I will kill you!”
Wisam’s family vowed revenge on the cousins, but he said, “No, we will not attack them. God will fight for us.”
Months later, the two cousins who had threatened Wisam were riding their motorcycle, and as they came around a corner, they hit a truck head-on. One cousin was killed instantly, and the other died a week later from his injuries.
This outcome made a huge impact in the local religious community. Wisam’s family is prominent in the city, and it was a well-known fact that his uncle’s family had vowed to kill him for being a Christian. People were amazed by his refusal to fight back, his trust in Jesus, and his deliverance.
Wisam has now opened an Urban Center of Influence in the heart of Nazareth, where he teaches English straight from the Bible—and there is a waiting list to attend his classes!