Pakistan is experiencing a catastrophic natural disaster unlike anything ever seen before. Against the backdrop of a failing economy, surge of violence and political instability, the recent devastating floods have further plunged the country into chaos and uncertainty. Our brothers and sisters, who are already living difficult lives, are more in need of our support and prayers now than ever before.
Against the backdrop of a failing economy, violence and political instability, the recent devastating floods in Pakistan have plunged the country into further chaos and uncertainty. Christians in Pakistan are often neglected and persecuted because of their faith. Friends of ALIVE, a ministry on the ground, explain that Christians who are already living difficult lives, are more in need of our support and prayers now than ever before.
"You came and then you touched us, held us and listened to us. Thank you." Bashira
“Three months till this recedes. No school, no clinic and no local market till then. The water is dirty. The fish are diseased. The crops have been destroyed,” says Gimi*, a farmer and the wife of a veteran relief worker. “There are risks that lurk in these waters – men in boats coming to get our girls and what little is left. We know who they are. We know what they think of us, but we are silenced. To say more is to sign our own death sentence.”
Gimi is one of the many tribal believers living in this part of town. Her heart aches at the discrimination she and her family must face for being Christian. “It is bad, but we are forbidden to talk of it,” she says. “Thank you for coming. When you got out of the car, I could not believe my eyes. You came for us. You came and then you touched us, held us and listened to us. Thank you.”
This disaster has stripped many believers of their safe havens, which they had forged over a period of time. Many have had to move their families to the streets as it was no longer safe to stay inside buildings that were on the verge of falling apart. Many continue to call out for help, but we are unable to reach many of them as much of the infrastructure has been washed away, and those who can reach them, are bounded by their hate for Christians.
"We ask our Father to make a way for these affected people to be reached, given shelter, food and a dry place to stay." Bashira
The level of hunger has reached a point where the rule of law holds no power over the people. Some even resort to stealing food from their neighbours. Minorities, especially Christians, who are neglected even in normal circumstances, are now in a dire state. Even in this vulnerable state, Christians are in constant fear of false accusations of religious crimes, forced conversions and abductions.
To worsen things, displaced people with nowhere to go are exposed to criminals and violent groups. Christians are now in the open with no one to protect them from religious extremists.
Bashira*, a local, shared, “We need your prayers. We ask our Father to make a way for these affected people to be reached, given shelter, food and a dry place to stay as they wait for the water levels to recede.
“Pray also that God would give wisdom to those in the government to manage this disaster, which has taken our country back by more than 10 years.”
She called the ALIVE teams while neck deep in the water trying to navigate her way through to what she hoped remained of her home. She had to sift through the dangerous rubble-filled water to find any valuables she could take back to the roadside space where she and her family were taking shelter.
Currently, ALIVE workers are with these affected communities – listening, observing, and reporting – to ensure that we can respond swiftly and address the crucial needs of the people as soon as the water recedes, and supplies are able to reach the affected communities. Our team members and pastors are doing what they can with their limited resources. They are also serving these people by providing spiritual and trauma care where possible. However, there is much more to be done at this time.
“We ask you to pray for those who are serving the displaced and the scared at this time,” says Hina*, an ALIVE counsellor and advisor to people affected by the flood. “It is tiring, it is intense, and it is difficult. But nothing brings sweeter joy than to smell the fragrance of Jesus walking into a room, and beginning to wipe tears.”
*Name changed for security reasons
You can hear first-hand from Christians in the hardest places to follow Jesus by registering for Standing Strong on 24 September – the annual gathering for Open Doors supporters. Join in worship and prayer with Christians from across the UK and Ireland, and hear the testimonies of courageous believers from Asia and the Middle East.
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