Pakistan (MNN) — Ramadan begins tomorrow in Pakistan. Delayed moon sightings are putting Pakistanis a day behind Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Malaysia, and other Middle Eastern neighbors.
Because Islam centers on a lunar calendar, the Muslim holy month begins once the crescent moon — “hilal” — emerges in the night sky.
When the moon still hadn’t been spotted in Pakistan by Wednesday, officials moved the official Ramadan start date to Friday.
Pakistani Christians face trouble nonetheless.
“There are specific threats against churches and Christian leaders during Ramadan,” says Bruce Allen of Forgotten Missionaries International (FMI).
“The Muslims are looking for offense and will go out of their way to attack Christians.”
Bigger churches have increased security during the Muslim holy month. But, Allen says, some believers–like the congregations they help–don’t have that option.
“They are independent, evangelical, Bible-teaching [churches] out in the villages, where resources are scarce and people are living hand-to-mouth,” Allen explains.
“The churches just don’t have discretionary income to ‘beef up’ any type of security.”
Muslim neighbors aren’t the only ones threatening Christ-followers.
“ISIS has released this video saying they will target minorities in Pakistan as revenge for the killing of Muslims in Burma,” shares Allen.
“ISIS looks for any reason/excuse to continue perpetrating its agenda of violence against non-Muslims, especially against anyone who’s not a Sunni Muslim.”
Threats are coming from every direction. For the most part, believers can’t do anything about them. They need your prayers.
- Ask the Lord to protect His followers in Pakistan.
- Pray that efforts to bring violence against Christians would be thwarted.
- Pray that Muslims seeking Truth during Ramadan would hear the Gospel and believe in the one True Lord.
You can also write a note to Pakistani Christians on our Facebook page. MNN will collect all prayers and notes of encouragement and send them to FMI, where they’ll be translated into Urdu and shared with Pakistani congregations.
Or, you can send a note to believers through FMI’s “Contact Us” page.
“Do everything to encourage the brothers and sisters there in Pakistan; let them know that they are NOT forgotten,” asks Allen.
Financial support is another big need.
“Their income is very, very low,” Allen explains. “Sometimes, they’re not able to give cash offerings.
“They might put an egg in the offering plate, or half-a-kilo of rice.”
By clicking here, you can help Pakistani Christians by supporting a pastor through monthly sponsorship. Or, you can send Bibles or help Christians build a church through FMI’s “Tangible Resources” fund.
Are you praying for the Muslim world during Ramadan? Why or why not? Please share your thoughts in the Comments section below.