According to news reports at least eight people have been killed in a suicide attack on the Bethel Memorial Church in Quetta, Pakistan yesterday (Sunday 17th December). At the moment of writing, the police had confirmed sixteen people were injured, of whom at least two are in critical condition.
The police said they were able to act quickly and stop the terrorists. If they hadn’t, the lives of 400 more Christians who were at the church during the service could have been lost too.
It’s a timely reminder that as we celebrate Christmas with carol services and nativity plays, Christmas can be a tense time for many Christians around the world. Being a time when many Christians gather together, means heightened risk of attack.
Open Doors works in Pakistan through local network of churches called ALIVE. None of the team members of our partners were injured, but some had family members inside during the attack. “Obviously the situation is very chaotic and we fear more lives have been lost than the news is reporting”, says one of the ALIVE leaders. “Perhaps as many as 20. Over 40 have sustained serious injuries. Women and children were hiding in the vestry.”
She continues, “The situation in the province Baluchistan has been getting worse since the abduction and killing of a Chinese missionary couple by members of ISIS. The attack today is to frighten us from not going to church this advent.”
“Please pray for us”, the ALIVE leader asked us. “We hear that the trauma center is well-equiped. Please pray for those who are trying to help the victims and their loved ones.”
Asked how she was doing, she said: “It’s very hard. This is my mother’s childhood home. The members of the church are people whom we know and love. Our phones are ringing endlessly as we hear of them. Some of our Bible College students have lost family members too. Just now, a woman wept on my shoulder. She just kept repeating ‘Lord, have mercy, have mercy, have mercy’, and then, ‘Lord enable us to lift our voices and cry out ‘Jesus is Lord!’ so that we may stand and not be stopped from being in church. They cannot stop us!’”
We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.