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Pakistan: Threatened for Evangelism

After evangelizing Muslims and baptizing a former Islamic religious leader, a Pakistani pastor is receiving death threats from radical Islamists – even through his cell phone.

“Azhar”, who became a pastor at a village church more than 20 years ago in Pakistan, regularly shares the gospel with his Muslim neighbors and has baptized a number of Muslim background believers, including a former imam known as “Rashid.”

Trouble started after Rashid stopped attending the local mosque. Members tried to convince him to return to Islam, but he wouldn’t. His Muslim relatives labeled him as an apostate, a traitor to the faith. They issued death threats against Rashid, along with his wife and children who also became believers. After Rashid and his family fled the area, his relatives turned against Pastor Azhar.



Pastor "Azhar" has faced severe persecution for his outreach to Muslims

The pastor was told to return Rashid to them or face death. The threats continued to escalate. Several months later, the relatives sought revenge. They found Pastor Azhar’s son and severely beat him. The relatives also informed fundamentalist 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. VOM helped him relocate to a safer area.

 

Though the pastor has changed cell phones numbers on numerous occasions, he still receives death threats. It’s not certain how the Islamists continue to find his phone number. Pastor Azhar has relocated, but the threats have not discouraged his desire to minister to others. He continues to share the gospel with Muslims and encourages Muslim background believers in their faith.

On Easter Sunday, 200 people, including 70 children, participated in an Easter program at Pastor Azhar’s church. Five people were baptized during the service and many outsiders are now attracted to Christianity.

Days later, Muslim extremists visited Pastor Azhar’s home, threatening his wife and daughter.

The following Sunday, due to fear and intimidation from area Muslims, only 10 people attended church services. Pastor Azhar said he and others are visiting the homes of those who haven’t attended to continue ministering to them.

The continued persecution from area Muslims has not shaken Pastor Azhar’s spirit.

“Thanks to God that he is still using us for his kingdom,” he said.


Source: VOM Sources

Posted: May 6, 2015

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