Pakistan (MNN) — A hospital in Quetta, Pakistan was attacked by a suicide bomber yesterday. The latest report from Monday evening says the explosion left at least 74 people dead, and 50 wounded. That death toll is expected to rise.
The group of Jamaat-ul-Ahrar has claimed responsibility for the blast. They are a branch group of the Pakistani Taliban and have declared support for Islamic State.
Quetta is known as the ‘fruit garden’ of Pakistan and is the country’s ninth-largest city.
“We were able to get in touch with [him] just this morning and got [his] perspective. The city is on lockdown right now. He just asked if believers would just pray for their city, for their nation, for the believers there.”
Global Advance had met with this pastor earlier in the year and talked about the threats Pakistani Christians face.
“It was interesting,” Shibley remarks, “he said, ‘It’s the love of God that penetrates hard men’s hearts and that’s the only weapon we have to fight against this onslaught of the enemy.’”
Two Bombers, Different Endings
While one extremist suicide bomber made the devastating decision yesterday to blowup a hospital, Shibley shares the story of another suicide bomber earlier this year in the same city of Quetta with a different ending.
“[In] this very city, there was a Christian man who had a bookstore that was selling Bibles earlier in the year and some folks found out about that, they weren’t happy about it, and sent a bomber into the store to blow it up.
“The bomber said, ‘Do you have one final request? I’m going to blow up your store because you’re selling Bibles.’ And the man at the counter just said, ‘Yes, will you please read this plaque on my wall?’ It was a plaque of 1 Corinthians 13, the love chapter — love is patient, love is kind, etc.
“This bomber reads this Scripture passage, closes his jacket, and says, ‘I’ll be back,’ and he runs out. That very week, in his dreams he had a vision of Jesus appearing to him, and he came back to this very store that he was going to blow up just a few days earlier and sought out this man. He said, ‘How do I know this Jesus? How can I become a follower of Jesus? How can I know the love that I’ve read about on your wall?’”
This is just one of many stories coming out of Pakistan as God’s Church is growing in the midst of persecution.
“God is working, even through what seems to be the darkest scenarios, and we just need to remember that He has His men and women positioned in cities like Quetta and regions like that all over the world who are shining the light. We need to pray for them that they can be encouraged, that they’ll be strengthened, that God would protect them, that the Church would advance and flourish in the midst of this.”
In a country where schools teach children that Christians and minority religions are inferior human beings, the presence of extremist groups in Pakistan isn’t surprising, although the government denies it.
With this type environment, how can Pakistani believers even get a foot in the door to share Christ?
Shibley explains, “Practically, at street level, the only thing that works is love and good deeds, and believers being examples of that. It’s impossible to refute that type of a life that shows love, shows good deeds, and believe it or not, friendship evangelism still is effective in many of these environments.”
Believers in Pakistan aren’t naive to the potential consequences of sharing their faith. “Many of them have counted the cost. This brother, this pastor that we work with [in Pakistan] has counted the cost. He knows that his time may be short, but he’s not afraid and he continues to do what God has called him to do.”
Safe Houses Fund
Global Advance has an ‘urgent needs’ fund set up to support Pakistan safe houses for Christians through their pastor contact on the ground. The fund is with Alpha Relief, a ministry partner of Global Advance.
You can also be a spiritual encouragement by remembering Pakistan in your prayers today.
“Pray that they will be encouraged. Pray that they will find courage to live out on a daily basis their faith and that they’ll have opportunities to show Christ’s love through good deeds and through kindness, and that God would protect them.”