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Pakistan: Smog Problems

A brick kiln

Thick smog covered parts of Pakistan this month, causing car accidents, airplane delays, and illnesses. The smog also hindered The Voice of the Martyrs’ work in Pakistan, where workers deliver Action Packs and other aid and encouragement to persecuted Christians.

Some of the smoke that causes the smog comes from brick kilns. Many Christians in Pakistan work at the kilns because better jobs go to Muslim workers. Watch a video of a Christian girl working at a brick kiln.

Christians have been praying for Pakistanis who suffer from the effects of the smog. This week, rain improved the situation somewhat, but Pakistanis know the smog will return.

You can visit VOM’s I Commit to Pray website and add your prayer to the prayers of other Christians who are praying for Pakistan.


Sunday School Around the World: Pakistan

Esther and her students

Esther and her family worked very hard all day at a brick kiln in Pakistan. In her free time, Esther began teaching Sunday school classes to the children of other brick kiln workers. Muslim children began to attend her class.

Esther tells what happened next.

“The brick kiln owner warned me four times to stop holding meetings and to stop teaching Muslims. I told him I did not force the Muslims to attend, and their parents knew that the children were Sunday school students. They take interest because I teach about the God who was, and is, and will live forever.

“One day the brick kiln owner came to my class and ordered the Muslim students to get out of my house. He slapped my face, then grabbed my Bible out of my hand and threw it on a couch. He said, ‘I have told you many times to stop the prayer meetings!’ The Muslim students stopped him from beating me.

“I did not stop teaching. The owner continued to persecute me and he attacked me violently another time.

“I have forgiven the brick kiln owner, because I follow the teachings of Jesus Christ.”

Read the entire story here.


Make a Brick

Many Christians in Pakistan have to work at brick kilns because better jobs often go to Muslim workers. A Christian woman who worked in a brick kiln explained more about what life is like for brick kiln workers.

“My family is uneducated and poor. I never went to school. I have been working at the brick kiln my whole life. I never played with toys because I was busy making bricks the whole day. In my free time, I took care of my younger brothers and sisters. I made the first brick that I made by myself when I was 10. I was very happy that I learned the art of making bricks to earn some money. I knew that my little income could not feed my family. But I could support them a little bit with what I made. At that time a brick kiln worker earned 40 cents for making 1,000 bricks. Today they earn $5 for 1,000 bricks.”

You can make a brick by mixing 2 cups of straw (or dried grass), 4 quarts of dirt, and 6 cups of water. Line a shoebox with plastic, such as a trash bag. Tape the plastic to the outside of the box to secure it. Pour some of the dirt mixture into the box. Let it dry in the sun for about two days. Take it out of the box and turn it over so the bottom can dry.


Pakistan: Learning to Forgive

Pakistani boy

Blasphemy Laws
“Blasphemy laws” in Pakistan say that no one may say anything against Islam or damage the Quran. (Islam is the religion of Muslims, and the Quran is the Muslim holy book.) It’s against the law to even damage any pages from the Quran.

Solomon, a 6-year-old boy in Pakistan is now an orphan because of the blasphemy laws. His Christian parents were accused of handling a Quran in a disrespectful way.

“My Faith Keeps Me Going”
It’s hard to tell exactly what happened on the day Solomon parents were accused. Different people have told different stories. According to Solomon’s uncle, Solomon’s parents were cleaning a house for a relative when Solomon’s mother threw away some papers. Like more than 60 percent of the women in Pakistan, Solomon’s mother could not read. So, she didn’t know that the papers contained Muslim writings.

A garbage collector told others what he found in the trash. Radical Muslims heard what happened, and they beat up Solomon’s parents. Sadly, they died from their injuries. Solomon and his two siblings now live with their grandfather. Sometimes, Solomon says to his grandfather, “When I’m older, I will kill the Muslims who did it.”

His grandfather answers, “You mustn’t say that. We need to trust God. He will fight for us.”

Solomon’s grandfather also said, “I am not angry with God. I know it was not His own design. It is not God who did this horrible act but people. My faith keeps me going. I have confidence that He will deliver justice in the end.”

(Source: SDOK, The Voice of the Martyrs’ sister mission in the Netherlands. Edited for length, clarity, and age-appropriateness.)


Pakistan: Christians Forced to Live in Slums

Pakistan is a country where Islam is the official religion. People can go to jail for life if they treat the Quran with disrespect. Pakistan’s “blasphemy laws” say that no one may speak out against Islam or damage the Quran. (Islam is the religion of Muslims, and the Quran is the Muslims’ holy book.)

Sometimes Muslims try to get revenge on Christians by accusing them of blasphemy. And sometimes if a court finds a Christian “not guilty” of blasphemy, radical Muslims attack the Christian anyway.

In 2012, Rimsha, a 14-year-old girl, was accused of burning a page of the Quran. She was arrested, and people all over the world protested. It turned out to be a false charge, and Rimsha was released. She and her parents fled to Canada.

Around 800 other Christians who lived in the same neighborhood as Rimsha were threatened by militant Muslims and had to flee for their lives as well. Where did these people go, and how did they survive after they left? The Voice of the Martyrs’ sister missions, VOM Canada and SDOK Netherlands, went to Pakistan to find out. Watch the video to learn about what they saw.
(Source: SDOK Netherlands and VOM Canada)