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After evangelizing Muslims and baptizing a former Islamic religious leader, a Pakistani pastor is now receiving death threats.

"Azhar" regularly shares the Gospel with his Muslim neighbours and has baptized a number of believers from similar backgrounds, including a former imam known as "Rashid." Trouble started for the pastor after Rashid stopped attending the local mosque. Fellow Muslims tried to convince Rashid to return to Islam, but he wouldn't. His relatives then labelled him as an apostate; a traitor to the faith. They issued death threats against Rashid, as well as his wife and children who had also become believers. After Rashid and his family fled the area, the convert's angered relatives turned against Pastor Azhar.

The pastor was told to return Rashid to them or face death. The threats continued to escalate for several months until they found Pastor Azhar's son and severely beat him. The relatives also informed militant groups of the pastor's activities, and he is now constantly monitored by the fundamentalists' widespread network. Like Rashid, Pastor Azhar had no choice but to flee the village to protect his family. Thankfully, VOM helped him relocate to a safer area. Though the pastor has changed cell phone numbers on numerous occasions, he still receives death threats. It is not certain how the militants continue to find his phone number.

Though Pastor Azhar has been forced to relocate, the threats have not discouraged his desire to minister to others. He continues to share the Gospel with Muslims and encourage new converts in their faith. "Thanks to God that He is still using us for His Kingdom," he recently shared.

Thank the Lord for the powerful ways in which He is using His servants Azhar and Rashid among this community. May their steadfast faith inspire many more to learn about Jesus and come to faith in Him. Pray especially that God will encourage the faith of these men and their family members as they face persecution and the threat of future violence. Also ask that the wider Christian community will uphold them during this time of trial through prayer and practical assistance.

To learn more about the difficulties Christians endure in Pakistan, visit our website.

Current Ministry Projects

VOMC partners to train Christian women in sewing skills throughout Pakistan to provide a sustainable source of income for their families and encourage them in their faith and witness for Christ.

Project Funds: Families of Martyrs, Women’s Ministry

Country Information

Population
238,181,034 (July 2021 est.)

Ethnicity (%)
Punjabi (44.7), Pashtun [Pathan] (15.4), Sindhi (14.1), Saraiki (8.4) Muhajirs (7.6) Balochi (3.6), Other (6.3)

Religion (%)
Islam (96.5), Other - Christian and Hindu (3.5)

Leader
President Arif Alvi (2018)

Government type
Federal parliamentary republic

Legal system
Common law system with Islamic law influence

Source: CIA World Factbook

Pray for Pakistan

Pray that amendments will be made to Pakistan's existing blasphemy laws so that the country's citizens – including its children – will be protected from injustice and abuse. May our Lord's mercy and justice prevail, not only in the judiciary system but also in the hearts of the country's militants. Ask Him to transform their "hearts of stone" into hearts that are receptive to His love, mercy and the workings of His Holy Spirit – not only for the purpose of protecting the Christian minority but also for the salvation of their own eternal souls.

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