As a Muslim, Khaleed Matmati was skeptical that Jesus would take away the pain from his mouth infection. But after prayer he was so astonished when the pain was gone the next morning.
“I started punching myself in my face, trying to make some kind of pain in my teeth and my face,” Khaleed says on a CBN video. “I realized Jesus was God. I just told Him, ‘Okay, Jesus, I give you my life.’”
Khaleed grew up as a Muslim immigrant who wasn’t particularly drawn to the rigorous disciplines of Islam. What drew him was music.
“I always believed that Allah was God,” he says. “But growing up in high school I wanted to have fun. I saw everybody else having fun. What’s fun about not smoking pot? What’s fun about not drinking? What’s fun about not partying? I thought, ‘Later on when I become a parent and have children, then I’ll be a good Muslim.’”
When worship leader Eddie James met Khaleed, the Lord spoke to him about taking Khaleed on the road with him. Even though Khaleed wasn’t Christian, Eddie James hired him because God had told him that Khaleed would convert.
Khaleed didn’t care for the religion. What he liked was the chance to learn music. ”I thought this was my big break,” he says. “I wanted to learn what I could from Eddie and go and do my own thing.”
His initial sign from God was on his first stop in Nashville Tennessee.
It started off with his friend David, who got bitten by a bug, which later began to swell.
They were staying in a Christian’s house and the mother of the household announced she would pray for David.
“This lady has gotta be out of her mind,” Khaleed thought to himself at the time. “Jesus healing a hand? That’s the stuff they do on TV. Who believes that crap?”
She prayed, and then — to Khaleed’s astonishment — the swelling went down.
“Right in front of my face, the swelling goes away,” Khaleed remembers. “You couldn’t even tell anything was wrong with his hand.”
After he saw that, Khaleed wondered if he himself could be healed. He had been experiencing pain due to an infection in his mouth and gums.
“When she started praying for me, the pain was gone,” he recalls. “I needed a minute to comes to grips with what just happened. I remember sitting in the chair after she prayed for me thinking, ‘Oh my God, my whole life is going to change.’”
Still, Khaleed was not ready to ditch Islam. So he thought that perhaps the painkillers he’d been taking had finally kicked in. They asked him if he was healed. He responded: “Let me tell you in the morning” after the painkillers will have worn off.
The next morning, he woke up and began munching sugar molasses cookies. As he savored them, he swished them around in his mouth trying to re-provoke the pain.
“There was absolutely no pain,” he says. “I began to really start freaking out. I began to start punching myself in the face, trying to make some kind of pain in my teeth and in my mouth. I realized that Jesus was God.
“I never knew that God would be involved in a human life so personally that he would set them free and deliver them and care enough to heal them,” he says.
A month later on the road in Alabama, God impressed this on his heart: If you want to know if this is real, stand up and see for yourself.
People prayed for him.
“My knees just turned like rubber,” he says.
He fell under the power of God.
“God, Jesus, Whoever you are, I really want to know who you are,” he prayed. “I want to have all that you got.”
Then he felt God take him up to Heaven — apparently in a vision.
“The best way for me to describe it is that if love had a color it’s all that I saw,” he remembers. “I never experienced a love and peace like I felt at that moment. I just had an encounter with Him.”
The rest of his family is slow to respond to Jesus.
“I’m just so happy that I found Christ and that I have a Heavenly Father,” he says. “To be honest, I’m not good enough. But I have a Heavenly Father who loves me even in my weakness. That makes me good enough.”
Ryan Zepeda studies at the Lighthouse Christian Academy in Santa Monica.