Fantasy Football vs. Martyrdom
For the past several weeks I’ve been obsessing over a game called “Fantasy Football.” I’ve been planning my strategy for the live draft that we had last night. I’ve been pumped up like a kid at Christmas. And then God, in his ironic, timely way, woke me up this morning with this email from Voice of the Martyrs explaining what our brothers and sisters in Pakistan have been doing lately. As I’ve been preparing for Fantasy Football here in the good ole U.S. of A., here’s what they’ve been up to:
When the rumor was broadcast from the loudspeakers on the minarets of local mosques, it became fact. As part of a wedding ceremony, the loudspeaker shouted, Christians tore pages from a Quran. Then they compounded the disrespect by walking on the shredded pages.
“Defend Islam!” The loudspeaker called. Muslims answered, rampaging through a Christian section of Gojra on Aug. 1. Eight Christians were killed, including women and children. More than 100 Christian homes were burned by a mob. The mob, which was estimated to be more than 20,000 people, also burned a church.
Five Hours Without Help
Emergency personnel did not reach Gojra for more than five hours. Christians were forced to use vegetable carts to move their dead and wounded to the hospital.
Responding to an international outcry, Pakistani government officials have now said no Quran was desecrated. The government promised to help rebuild the burned homes of Christian families.
Even before the government acted, contacts of The Voice of the Martyrs were in Gojra, offering comfort to the wounded and praying with the families of the dead. They continue to aid the village, including helping with some medical expenses, offering encouragement and pressing for a forceful government response.
Pray Blasphemy Laws Are Overturned
Christians in Pakistan hope these attacks can be a turning point. They are praying to God and pressing their government to overturn unjust blasphemy laws that are often a pretext to attack Christians.
They are also asking us to pray with them. Pray for Christians in Pakistan to be bold witnesses for Christ, despite threats. Pray for those wounded and left homeless by the brutal Gojra attacks. Pray for Muslims to come to know Jesus Christ in a personal way.
Boy, am I lame.