Due to poverty and lack of education, Christians in Pakistan often borrow money from brick kiln owners. They are then required to work, making bricks, to repay the loan. The size of the loan tends to be small, but the terms are designed to keep it growing indefinitely. The family, including children as young as five, are forced to work at the brick kiln to pay the debt.
VOM’s partner ministry Mercy Home is committed to helping these families and has secured the release of nine families from four brick kilns in the past year.
Mercy Home paid out each family’s total debt, securing their release. On release, each family was supported with rent and living expenses, job training and education.
One of the now free men, Manzoor was sold into slavery by a friend. A welder by trade, Manzoor fell ill, needed money for surgery and borrowed it from a friend – his friend then took him to a brick kiln owner and received the full amount. Manzoor, along with his family, were forced to work in an effort to pay off the debt until Mercy Home secured their release. Manzoor is now working as a farmer hoping to eventually return to his trade.
Source: VOM Contacts, The Voice of the Martyrs USA
- Pray for the families forced into slavery and for Mercy Home as they work towards freeing many others caught in the same difficulty.
- Ask the Lord to grow His church in Pakistan in number and in faithfulness. Pray for a spirit of unity and love.
- Though the Christians in Pakistan are frequently poor and downtrodden; pray the believers will find their identity in Christ and be bold in their witness for Him.
Post your prayer in the comments below.
Hamza, who was raised as a Christian in a family indebted to a brick kiln owner, did not experience persecution until he brought a Muslim to church.
The kiln owner had no problem with Hamza attending church, but their relationship changed drastically when Hamza brought a Muslim co-worker to church and the man accepted Christ. Shortly after that, the kiln owner met Hamza at the entrance to his church and beat him so badly that his shoulder was broken.
Despite this, Hamza continued to work toward paying off his debts to the owner. Two years ago, Hamza was sold to another brick kiln owner. About two months ago, two men on a motorcycle stopped Hamza on the way home from the market to beat him. Hamza said they were acting on orders from his former owner, who is still angry at him. Hamza asks us to pray that God will change the hearts of those who are angry at him.
Source: The Voice of the Martyrs USA
- Ask the Lord to protect Hamza from future attack and take away any fear or apprehension.
- Echo Hamza’s prayers for the brick kiln owner and the other perpetrators. May God’s Spirit bring miraculous change.
- Pray He will pour out His Spirit on the nation and grow His church throughout Pakistan.
Post your prayer in the comments below.
On 21 November, seven brick kiln workers were travelling home when they were stopped by three officials for a routine inspection. However, the men say they were treated with suspicion when they gave their Christian names, and were accused of stealing the money they were carrying – about $200 between them, their weekly wage – and of dealing drugs. They say they were beaten and arrested, despite not being officially charged.
“We pleaded with them for mercy, explaining we were just poor bricklayers returning to our homes… We explained that our employer could explain where we obtained our money, but they still beat us with their batons extremely severely,” one of men who was beaten, 47-year-old Allah Rakha, told the Pakistan Christian Post.
“Even when we cried and lay on the floor they continued to beat us, filled with hatred that we were Christians with some money. When we were put in a cell despite our severe wounds they provided no medical aid and we sat in pain, bleeding and catching infections. I led everyone in prayer, believing God would release us just as He did with Paul. God answered our prayers after a couple of hours and police staff allowed us to call our community leaders, who were able to act as guarantors for us, enabling our release and return home.”
The men have not yet been given their money back, and have as yet been unable to return to work. The local Christian community staged a protest outside the police station and a lawyer working on behalf of the men has submitted a complaint.
Persecution against Christians is a rising problem in Muslim-majority Pakistan, and the misuse of the country’s blasphemy laws in particular has been condemned by human rights groups. Last year, a Christian couple were beaten and burned to death in a brick kiln following rumours that they had burned pages from the Koran. They were later proved innocent and Pakistan has now charged 106 people with their murder.
Sources: International Christian Concern, Christian Today
- Thank the Lord for the faithfulness of these men, who willingly trusted Him through their ordeal.
- Pray for complete healing for these men; pray they will receive justice and that their complaint will be taken seriously.
- Pray the suffering of these men and many others who have been victims of persecution will not be in vain; pray the Lord will being change to this nation.
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