PAKISTAN#14 on the World Watch List
Tense but elated, 23-year-old Saima (a pseudonym) took her place in the government classroom for her Civil Service Examination, following her dream to enter public service in her native Pakistan. But when she saw looks of disapproval coming across the room, she discovered she was the only woman in the room not wearing a hijab (Islamic head-covering). A feeling of intimidation washed over her, followed by the familiar, haunting question, “What if I am found out?”
She had not grown up in a conventional Pakistani home, since her father secretly converted from Islam to Christianity before she was born. After her mother died giving birth to her, her father was disowned by his Muslim family, remarried a Christian woman and joined a secret house fellowship. But because their lives were filled with legal complications, Saima and her father officially remained Muslims.
The better part of Saima’s life was spent deciding when it was safe to be her real Christian self – and when she had to appear to be a practicing Muslim. Convinced that a follower of Jesus could make a difference in her country for God, Saima won her father’s blessing to risk applying for a government job. But under the threat of imminent discovery, she finally withdrew to enroll in a local university, to remain more inconspicuous.
Meditations and Prayer Points
– Meditate on Philippians 3:8-10 “Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings.”
– A traditional interpretation of Islamic law doesn’t allow non-Muslim parents to have custody of Muslim children. What wisdom would you need if your children were taken from you or if you were taken from your parents? Pray that Saima’s grandparents will come to know the love of Christ.
– Think about the ways you can use your freedom to express your real Christian self. Pray that you will be bold and true to Jesus. Pray that Saima and her father will be spiritually brave and wise in their community.
– Opening a new church building in Pakistan is almost impossible. Think about the blessings and encouragement you have in your own church. How would you find Christians to worship with if there were no churches? Pray that Pakistan will grant members permission to build new churches and that the family of believers will be united and grow.