(Face darkened for anonymity) Above, “J” wearing ball cap and western clothing.
Several times a week, he weaves in and out of traffic on his motorcycle darting between donkey carts, and rickshaw taxis to different villages far beyond the outskirts of his city. In each place, he gathers small groups of Christian believers for Bible reading, prayer, and encouragement.
“J” is a college-educated Pakistani Christian, a rare find in a country of 170 million Muslims where Christians, marginalized and mostly illiterate, make up less than two percent of the population. When he isn’t visiting the villages, he tutors full time to make a living. The brother of “M,” (the subject of the previous post) “J” appoints “Bible readers” in each village. These are usually teenagers who spend several evening hours reading the Bible aloud for older people who can’t read. “J” says this practice has worked well. He knows one elderly illiterate man who has memorized the entire Bible.
During our recent visit to Gojra and Korian, the two areas where mobs led by militant Muslims killed nine and destroyed Christian homes, “J” served as one of our interpreters. He has spent years investing in the lives of villagers, educating and encouraging them. He says it’s his faith that keeps him hopeful, even in the midst of trouble and persecution. As we made our way through the rubble down a narrow street, he pointed at the charred remains and said, “We can see the destruction of their homes, but not the destruction of their lives.”
If you would like to assist with ongoing projects to help persecuted Christians in Pakistan, please go to www.swi.org for more information.
Click HERE for an audio clip of an interview with “J” about his faith in the midst of persecution.
(Canon 5D2, 24-105mm @73mm, 1/1000 sec, f5.6, ISO 200)
Article ©Vivian Padilla-Chapman
Photo ©Copyright Gary S. Chapman 2009