Pakistan (MNN) — Brutal persecution is putting Pakistan back in the headlines. At least two Pakistani Christians in Lahore were recently targeted by Muslims.
“If they identified themselves as Christians, they were attacked,” reports Bruce Allen of Forgotten Missionaries International (FMI).
On Friday, while on their way to the mosque, two Muslims stopped 14-year-old *Fodor in the streets and asked him what religion he followed.
When Fodor said he was a Christian, “They pursued him on their motorbikes; they threw kerosene on him and then lit him [on] fire,” Allen says.
“He was burned over 55% of his body.”
FMI supports national church planters and pastors as they carry the Gospel to their countrymen. The ministry’s National Director for Pakistan, *Nehemiah, informed Allen of this attack shortly after it happened.
A few hours later, when Allen was passing the news along to FMI-supporters via e-mail, Nehemiah called again: another Christian boy had been set on fire.
“We were wondering if we were going to be seeing a spate of these [attacks] over the weekend,”recalls Allen. “So I quickly alerted Mission Network News and said, ‘Can you help us get the word out to be praying for God to protect these people, who are not denying His name?'”
A prayer request went up on MNN’s Facebook page, and prayer warriors responded.
“We are so grateful for the thousands of prayers that were offered, and over the weekend, those attacks have abated,” Allen reports.
That doesn’t mean Pakistani Christians aren’t safe, though.
No connections have been made between last month’s Youhanabad attacks and the recent burnings. But, Allen says, the attacks DO point to a rising trend.
“There has been a swelling of anti-Christian sentiment in recent weeks, especially in Lahore,” he states.
“As you watch in society and you see pamphlets endorsing terrorism, you see threats against Christian schools, you see bombings against the churches: it’s just growing there, absolutely.”
Pakistani Christians can’t turn to the government for help: they’re part of the problem. Over the weekend, Nehemiah updated Allen about one of the Christian men kidnapped by police following last month’s riots.
“He just died on Saturday due to the torture his body received in the days since his arrest,” shares Allen. “The beatings were severe enough that it caused him to die.”
Although the Youhanabad mastermind has been arrested and confessed that the riots were pre-planned, dozens of Christians are still being held captive.
What can you do?
You might not live in Pakistan, but there are a few things you can do to help through FMI.
Intercession isn’t just important — it’s a lifeline. In the Comments Section below, write your prayer for Pakistani Christians.
“As members of one another, as Paul says in Romans 12, we are to be upholding one another,” says Allen. “One of the best ways we can do that, even across the continents and across the miles, is to pray for one another.”
Not only have Friday’s Facebook prayers reached God’s ears, they’ve been encouraging oppressed believers, too.
“So many of the prayers that’ve been offered, we’ve been able to relay to our team in Pakistan,” Allen shares. Those Gospel workers are then able to tell their congregations, “The Body of Christ around the world is lifting them up before the throne [of God].”
Please keep praying for the safety of Pakistani Christians. Pray also for their boldness.
“The forces of evil are very strong and not subtle. It is just very overt, and the Christians need courage,” Allen says.
Traveling to Pakistan might not be possible for you, but you can help indigenous pastors and evangelists “go” instead.
For $100 per month, you can empower a national church planter with income, opportunity for on-going training, and emergency medical expenses. Your partnership helps the pastor focus on the crucial task of pioneer evangelism and discipleship, until his church matures to the point of being able to independently support him.
Your financial gifts could also help FMI’s “safe house” ministry. What began as a single safe haven for persecuted Pakistani Christians has expanded to a second safe house for persecuted women, and a third safe house for “overflow.”
As oppression rises, so does the need for safety. At the hyperlink above, you can help FMI keep their safe house ministry afloat for $200/month.
* Name changed for security purposes