Pakistan (MNN) — A new study shows how badly believers have been affected in Pakistan under COVID-19 restrictions. Read our global coronavirus coverage here.
A coalition of ministries and local churches conducted the study this summer and recently published its findings. MNN is withholding the results from this article for security purposes. Jonathan*, a Christian worker focused on Pakistan, spoke to MNN about the information.
“We knew this (hardship) was happening, but nobody knew the scale at which this was happening. [Organizers] interviewed more than 2,000 randomly-selected households in 11 districts in Pakistan,” Jonathan says.
“The average loss of income was 60- to 70-percent within a Christian family. Imagine your income going down by 60- or 70-percent when you’re just barely making it.”
Struggle and hardship
For Pakistani believers, life is difficult under normal circumstances. Pakistan is one of the world’s worst persecutors of Christians, and there are only a few million believers in the country. The COVID-19 pandemic made everything worse.
Between 60- and 85-percent of believers either lost their jobs or were about to because of COVID-19 restrictions, the study found. Approximately 60-percent of Christian families exhausted their life savings to meet daily needs. Furthermore, one-in-ten Christians surveyed reduced their daily food intake from three meals per day to only one.
Although many Christians live in poverty, local churches “dug deep” when the pandemic began. Believers gave generously to help the families most in need. Today, however, Jonathan says church leaders are running out of options.
“There are many pastors that don’t have the resources to feed and clothe their children. Some churches are in such crisis that they can’t even pay their utility bills.”
Find your place in the story
Now that you know, how will you respond? Send tangible help to Pakistani believers through the MENA Collective. Most importantly, pray. Ask the Lord to encourage His followers in Pakistan.
“Pray for them to continue in their courageous witness for Christ. I see this as a powerful time of strengthening the Church to be salt and light in the country,” Jonathan says.
“It’s an exciting time [yet] in some ways, it is a frightening time. But, God is using this to strengthen the Church, and I believe he’s going to use the Pakistani Church to bless the country of Pakistan.”
*– Name withheld for security purposes.
Header image depicts Pakistani workers carrying aid supplies. (Photo credit: anonymous)