Pray for a Stranger

Almost all of the prayers in Bible-book studies, at group meals, in family settings, are for ourselves — our little groups we feel close to, our loved ones & friends. Sometimes it’s prayer or thanks for good weather for a particular event. Sometimes it’s for health and safety, again for ourselves and friends we think of, who are on our prayer list. Sometimes it’s for our country’s well-being.

Seldom — like never? — have I observed a group prayer for total strangers, people in desperate circumstances far away, whom we don’t know and will never meet, who can’t have the slightest impact our lives. They are not on our prayer lists — personal or church. They don’t come to mind when we have our little self-absorbed prayer of thanks over the delicious meal just served to our group at a carefully selected nice restaurant.  It’s so safe, so comfortable – so about us.

Next time you’re in one of these close little comfortable groups and someone says: “let us pray”, think outside of yourselves and your immediate surroundings, and see yourself as so blooming lucky and blessed that it’s almost criminal for you to ask for anything else for yourself. Think of some half-starving refugee who has lost her country and security. Pray for her, and others like her, that there is a merciful God that will by some miracle relieve the suffering for as many of these needy people as you can stand to think about before retreating into your “ME” cocoon.

Here’s an example:

Justine Ndizigeyemana, 47, in Nyarugusu, Tanzanian UN Refugee camp. Her husband was shot in their home in Burundi in 2005, and she was raped by soldiers, from whom she contracted an STI that she is still being treated for.

She has been a refugee throughout her life, repeatedly leaving Burundi during conflicts in the 70s and 90s. When she arrived at Nyarugusu camp, she took in two orphans to look after alongside her own children, but she is worried for the future as she doesn’t have any money.
There is inadequate security in the camp, which has maurauding bands of killers and thieves. The United Nations can only raise $1 for every $10 it needs to feed and shelter these refugees.

Pray for a stranger.


Picture by Phil Moore/Oxfam
the Guardian online: April 23, 2016.


Pakistan: Christian & Women Persecution

The United States State Dept. has for 14 years refused to acknowledge the persecution of Christians in Pakistan. This transcends Republican & Democratic Party Presidents, Bush & Obama.

Status of Women: The World Economic Forum ranks the country as the least gender equitable in the Asia and Pacific region. The 2012 annual report from the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan details many challenges women there face, including being “attacked and killed on account of asserting their rights to education, work and generally for choosing to have a say in key decisions in their lives.”

Cases of abuse of Women in Pakistan from the Atlantic.


Following 2 pictures of Christian church bombing in Peshawar, Pakistan, Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013. Over 80 killed, 150 injured. Two suicide bombers waited to explode their bombs until the church service ended and the worshipers were gathering for fellowship in the open yard with their families.

(Below): Sept. 24, 2013, funeral for some of the victims of the church bombing.



In Lahore, in March 2014, Pakistan mob attacks, burns, destroys 180 Christian homes & belongings.



Punjab Province, November, 2014: Christian couple falsely accused of desecrating a Quran were tortured, then thrown into a brick kiln and burned alive.


Abduction & sexual abuse of Christian girls:

Christian girls (ages 12-25) are routinely kidnapped by Muslims, forced to “convert” to Islam, and forced to marry a Muslim man. A report by the Movement for Solidarity and Peace in Pakistan states that at least 1,000 girls suffer this fate every year. Cases are seldom pursued by authorities. If a case gets to a court, the girls are abused until they declare their conversion & marriage were voluntary. Besides sexual abuse, sometimes they are forced into prostitution & human trafficking.


A Christian boy in Pakistan hanged for falling in love with Muslim girl

April 2016: A Christian boy in Pakistan has allegedly been hanged by Muslims who believed he was attached to a Muslim girl who lived opposite his brother’s house.

A report in the Pakistan Christian Post cites an investigation from The Voice Society which concluded 18-year-old Qaisar Masih was killed by the girl’s family in an attack led by her father, Mohammad Billa.


Article in Christian Post: April 26, 2016

Christian Woman Gang-Raped in Pakistan as Attacks Against Believers Escalate

A Christian woman in Pakistan was brutally attacked and gang-raped by two young Muslim men while her husband was away serving in the army.

The attackers also threatened the woman’s young daughter, the British Pakistani Christian Association said on Monday, forcing her to comply to their demands.

“The men treated me like an animal, telling me I was a worthless Christian, but I know my God is a great God. When I screamed they told me that they knew my husband was away and that I was unprotected. They threatened to kill my child if I did not comply with their perverse demands,” said the victim, 30-year-old Asia Mushtaq from the Toba Tak Singh district.

“They said Christian women are all whores and they would come back and repeat their debauchery if I ever told anyone. I feel so unclean now, but have done nothing wrong. I want these men to be punished and hope the law will protect me,” she added.

The husband, 32-year-old Shakil Khan, was on duty in Peshawar at the time serving the army.

The Muslim attackers knew that Khan was away when they entered the family home at night and attacked Mushtaq. They reportedly bound her wrists and ankles to the bed, before raping her, and threatened to kill her 2-year-old daughter if she resisted.

The Christian woman reported the violent attack at Rajanan Police Station first thing in the morning, and BPCA confirmed that a First Information Report has been registered.

The alleged rapists have since been apprehended by the police, the human rights group said, but because they come from wealthy and influential families, the Pakistani Army has so far refused to offer assistance to Khan as he pursues justice for his wife.

“Another woman finds herself a target of the whims of brutal Muslim rapists in Pakistan, in a society that targets its most vulnerable community: Christians. Furthermore, this time a soldier, whose only desire was to serve and protect his country, has found that the majority of his country do not feel the same way about him,” said Wilson Chowdhry, chairman of the BPCA.

“Moreover, the army he serves has offered little or no protection despite threats being made against him and his family. It pains me to say this but the complex acts of betrayal leave me feeling that Christians have no place in Pakistan’s theocratic society,” Chowdhry added.

Christian girls and women have been subjected to increasingly violent attacks this past year at the hands of Muslim attackers. Sardar Mushtaq Gill, a lawyer with Legal Evangelical Association Development in Pakistan, said earlier this week that at least five Christian girls have been been kidnapped, married off and forced to convert to Islam in April alone.

“In April in the area of Kasur alone, five Christian girls were kidnapped and converted to Islam and forced to marry their captors. These girls are denied the legal protection of individual rights,” Gill told Fides News Agency.

On many occasions Pakistan’s local police has failed to register a First Information Report of the crimes, reflecting the persecution that Christians in the country face.

Gill argued that the ‘phenomenon continues to have unacceptable proportions,’ with a number of cases each year of Christian girls being forced into Muslim marriage going unreported.


-State Dept. Ignores Pakistan’s Poor Record of Christian Persecution

by Dr. D ~ April 19th, 2016.    Answers For the Faith


Pakistan is consistently ranked among the worst countries in the world for Christian persecution. Yet the US State Department seems to continue to ignore that fact when they list the nations that they are particularly concerned about when it comes to religious freedom abuses. Here’s the story from CNS News:

For a record 14th year in a row, the State Department has overruled the advice of an independent statutory watchdog and decided not to blacklist Pakistan for religious freedom abuses.

LINK to Answers For the Faith website story:

2016 Human Rights Watch Report on PAKISTAN  Comprehensive & Valuable Info.
Christian girl kidnapped, raped and forced into Muslim marriage, father murdered

by Ruth Gledhill, Christian Today Contributing Editor 19 July 2016

A girl aged 14 has been abducted, raped and forced into an Islamic marriage in Pakistan. Her father was shot dead when he sold his house in an attempt to buy her freedom.

Mehwish Masih, who left school early because her family could no longer afford the fees, was hired as a part-time cleaner at a house in Faisalabad, according to the British Pakistani Christian Association (BPCA).

She was asked to stay late to help at a party in March, and did not return the next day. Her parents soon afterwards received a copy of her Islamic marriage certificate in the post.

Her father Tanveer Masih, a rickshaw driver, sold his home in the Faisalabad slum of Khalid Colony to pay for a lawyer who managed to get the abduction registered as a crime. He was asked by relatives of his daughter’s new husband to drop the case and when he attended a rendezvous he was murdered by two unknown gunmen.

Mehwish’s mother Najma Bibi said: “The police have not done anything substantial to help my daughter, we now have no money to defend our rights and without my husband we have no voice. We live in a hopeless situation, we need help. I pray that my daughter will continue to place her hope in Jesus Christ.”

BPCA– Mehwish Masih was kidnapped and forced into an Islamic marriage.

Wilson Chowdhry, chairman of the BPCA, said it is estimated that 700 Christian girls are kidnapped raped and forced into Islamic marriage every year in Pakistan.

“That figure is said to be extremely conservative by Christian NGO’s and we continue to assert that many cases are unreported. People in the west express great consternation that little is done to seek justice for kidnapped daughters. Well here we see the result of taking action against the perpetrators – a father has been murdered.

“So many factors have to be taken into account during such incidents and I commend families who strive for justice, but equally I understand why so many choose to do nothing bearing the pain to save what is left of their families. Usually it will be the sons that are threatened but in this case the absence of sons meant the rapists could kill the father leaving the family without a patriarch and reciprocally without a voice.”