Pakistan (MNN) — Pakistan's most recent press in the West has surrounded flooding, Osama bin Laden, blasphemy laws, and terrorism. The country's reputation makes it easy to despise.
So much bad news makes it hard to believe anything good happens in the nation, and easy to forget that God is still working there.
Katie Jaye, a producer for International Mission Board, says there's more happening in Pakistan than most of the international community realizes.
"What many people outside of the country are seeing are these negative things and these scary things that are happening in the country…. There's so much more that's going on in that country than what we see in the media."
One of the biggest surprises about the country may be the strength of the church. Jaye says even though Christians only make up what seems like a small percentage of the nation (2%), there are still many believers. And many of them are passionate to reach their country.
"A lot of the people around them–people they work with, live next to, and see every day–just really haven't even heard or have had the opportunity to know and understand the Gospel," explains Jaye. "So there's a real heart for that."
Jaye and others call the Christian population in Pakistan the "sleeping giant." Many believers are risking their lives to spread the Gospel, but others are nominal Christians and are often afraid to share their faith.
"Two percent: it's very small, but it's a big number that if everyone who claims to be Christian acts on what they're called to do, then, as one of the Christians we talked to said, the map of Pakistan would change," says Jaye. "The minority would become the majority."
This is indeed beginning to happen. A recent IMB article explored the fact that Pakistanis are getting more and more discontent with the country's bad reputation. Many are so desperate for alternative ways of living that they're willing even to look into Christianity.
And Christians are responding. Although believers who are actively evangelizing are at a much higher risk of being accused of blasphemy or facing severe persecution, many refuse to let fear consume them. As believers elsewhere are called to reach those around them, "In Pakistan, that's the same call–except that it looks so different for them."
Many are working hard, but the reality is that the church could grow more if others got involved. Pakistani believers recognize that more can be accomplished together. International believers need to get on their knees.
The One True God is the only One capable of transforming the Mideast nation. Pray for the "sleeping giant" to wake up, that even more believers might jump on board. Pray that fear would be lifted as Christians recognize that the Lord is in control.