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Thursday, 7 July 2011

Man is made in God's image...

I felt urged to apologise after I reacted negatively to an email from someone belonging to our Pakistani Christian community.  My response was a gut instinct after receiving an email that had been sent to a large group, which undermined the impact of our protest on the 2nd July.

In hindsight I recognise that I was wrong to respond with a similar circular and I have been praying about the matter.  Manoj Rathaitha kindly called me twice about the incident and in his understandable rebuke he clearly expressed a need for humility and forbearance, as situations such as this one will arise again.

I will not reprint those emails into the text of this post suffice to say that one individual who attended the protest, felt that including a Baluchistan Freedom movement leader in our guest list was inappropriate.  His argument was that our association with Baluchistan campaigners may create a false image that we are looking for secession of an area of Pakistan for Christians or that we support the Baluchistan Freedom movement.  He was one speaker of many and I cannot believe that such an assumption could be made by any, considering the contents of our petitions and appeal letters.

Our Balochi Guest was a capable speaker who described his peoples' desire for freedom.   However, his main message was a description of the terrible persecution that his people face and the discrimination that has made the province of Balochistan underdeveloped and poverty stricken.  This is not dissimilar to the suffering of Christians and other minorities in Pakistan.

His call for international intervention on Humanitarian grounds mirrors our own regular calls for justice for the forgotten minorities of Pakistan.  Petitions and letters provided to 10 Downing Street called for reform of the Blasphemy Law, freedom for Asia Bibi and for better use of British foreign aid to Pakistan to lever better performance in Human Rights there.

I am aware of a perceived lack of unity within Pakistani Christians and assure you that the BPCA did their utmost to highlight our protest details through, email distributions, recorded delivery letters to churches and a number of visits to churches in an attempt to galvanise our community.  However, unfortunately due to poor linking up Naujavan ( a group that puts on events for young Asian Christians) and Oxford Convention (a large Asian Christian Event) set the same date as our own.  By the time we found out it was too late to alter things and this highlights the need for better linking up.  The BPCA has created an electronic calendar for this very purpose, however few churches have availed themselves of a tool that could reduce the event clashes we so often see.  The calendar is free and I again encourage churches to sign up.  Whether disunity or providence caused the lower then expected Pakistani Christian turnout, I can not say.  However, I have been encouraged this year by the overt support from Pastors and congregations for the work of the BPCA.  Moreover the very fact that we were able to hold a protest between 200 - 300 strong without a large Pakistani Christian presence, illustrates that wider support and concern about the situation in Pakistan exists.  I believe this support will grow and I remind our community that we are demographically small in number and need these partnerships to mount pressure on the Government of Pakistan.

God simply must have been involved in this protest as a huge amount of obstacles  were overcome.  Despite an application to the Police in January and a request to hold this protest in July of last year, the Police were minded to terminate our event due to "Gay Pride" being held on the same day and potential conflict.  They discovered the clash with just two weeks to go and this created a real proverbial spanner in the works.  They eventually allowed us to hold a shorter protest and two static protests after I revised our risk assessment.  However, due to good behaviour and professional conduct on the day the Police allowed us to hold the entire protest assisting in a limited fashion with one Police guide, who enabled us to avoid the Gay Pride event.  This meant I had to hurriedly train unskilled young men from Nelson church in how to steward a street procession.  By God's grace they did admirably and their humility and diligence provided safety to participants.

A bag piper led the way and a mix of chanting slogans, singing "Amazing Grace" and "Oh when the saints" puzzled local people, who came to enquire and obtain local flyers.  I honestly believe, the diversity of our protest group made us a more approachable unit.

The protest was featured in the Jaang Newspaper, Premier Christian Radio, Sunrise Radio, BBC Asian Network and a whole host of Catholic, Protestant and secular blogsites and literature.  I will try and upload as much data on the media coverage as possible, however the contributions are various so any list will not be comprehensive  due to time constraints.

If anyone was offended by my outburst I again apologise.  It can be demoralising when I receive so many grateful thanks from our community, but cannot galvanise a substantial attendance at our protests.  However, despite the hurt I must curb my own actions as it will only create alienation and conflict - this would please the devil!  A wise lady from Mauritius (our first admin volunteer - who has been proof reading my historic articles over the last month) commented:

"The devil is rejoicing. He is adopting the old British tactic of divide and rule."

These words resonate with truth and it made me realise that we have a spiritual war that is as hard as our carnal war against the injustices of mankind.  We must contend in prayer over our campaign.

She further commented:

"Until Christ returns, within the Christian community there will be more hurting than among unbelievers who hurt or attack us. Christians hurt more because we are family.  Let's always focus on Christ. The glory is His alone. The grace is His alone. The power to forgive our sins is His alone. If we are called righteous, it's  His righteousness that covers us. Our reconciliation to Our Father is His alone.

When there is deep hurting in our midst, run to the Cross and sit there and contemplate the Cross and see where we all sent Him to be crucified. Did only the Romans and the religious Jews slaughter Him? I was there. Every time I deliberately sin and I forget for some minutes what He did for me on that Cross, I later realise I am an accomplice in His death. He is the head of the church and we cannot call our brothers fools because of Him.

When we have been deeply hurt, don't go to those who have hurt us at once, let's calm down, go and sit at the Cross and ask God where we hurt Him and did not glorify Him. He will calm us. He promised His peace that surpasses all intelligence. Then we will know how to response to those who have hurt us."

I was moved by her word and similar messages from brother Manoj.  We must make it our daily promise not to fight with one another, nor to react to any perceived act of unkindness.  If we do not, we will only undermine our own work and reduce our image before others a folly in itself.

Another comment that was made by our new administrator gave me a new perspective on things.  She said;

"Wilson I have observed two things:
1. Group A wants you to work exclusively for the welfare of the Pakistani persecuted church.
2. Group B wants you to work for  the welfare of all Pakistani people whose rights are violated.
Both groups are right in their own way. 

Wilson, I fully support you. I would choose to be in Group B because I believe when people's rights are violated, they are God's rights that are violated. Did he not make man in His own image?"

Those of you who do not agree with the multi-faith approach to our protest are just as right as those who do.  Christian Social Link run a regular protest that is made up entirely of Pakistani Christians and I attend every one of their events.  Our events are more ecumenical but have a 1 hour worship service devoted to the Christian faith.  Why not join us for a portion of the event i.e the worship service and leave before the wider faith contributions should you feel that their input is invalid or inappropriate.  As you can see, the design of our event has been fashioned in response to our perceived needs for all sectors of our community and wider diversities.

I have already applied for a protest to on Saturday 3rd March 2012.  This is the day after the annual anniversary of Shahbaz Bhatti's assassination. The date is fortuitous as it will avoid any Olympic period logistical problems.  Please commend this event to your churches and leaders and pray that it will be a success, whether you can make it yourselves or not.

I would also like the church to pray for my family and I and the BPCA.  Pray for finance for our group as our events and programmes have been stifled by a lack of money, pray for protection for Juliet's family who had had several visits from the ISI.  

Significant BPCA workload has affected my business, and personal life.  I do not see my wife and children as much as I or they would like, the work has become burdensome.  Pray for volunteers  Pray for guidance from God in my life and those that advise the BPCA and please pray for the suffering Christians of Pakistan.

I encourage groups and individuals that feel that the work of the BPCA has been valuable to set aside Wednesday 11th July as a day for prayer and fasting for all the above.

On closing I would like to share the following Bible passage taken from James 4 v 1 - 12;

Obey God

1 Why do you fight and argue among yourselves? Isn't it because of your sinful longings? They fight inside you. 2 You want something, but you can't get it. You kill and want what others have. But you can't have what you want. You argue and fight. You don't have what you want, because you don't ask God. 3 When you do ask for something, you don't receive it. Why? Because you ask for the wrong reason. You want to spend your money on your sinful pleasures. 4 You are not faithful to God. Don't you know that to be a friend of the world is to hate God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5 Don't you know what Scripture says? The spirit that God caused to live in us wants us to belong only to God. Don't you think Scripture has a reason for saying that? 6 God continues to give us more grace. That's why Scripture says, "God opposes those who are proud. But he gives grace to those who are not." #1(Proverbs 3:34)#2 7 So obey God. Stand up to the devil. He will run away from you. 8 Come near to God, and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners. Make your hearts pure, you who can't make up your minds. 9 Be full of sorrow. Cry and sob. Change your laughter to crying. Change your joy to sadness. 10 Bow down to the Lord. He will lift you up. 11 My brothers and sisters, don't speak against one another. Anyone who speaks against another believer speaks against the law. And anyone who judges another believer judges the law. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it. Instead, you are acting as if you were its judge. 12 There is only one Lawgiver and Judge. He is the One who is able to save life or destroy it. But who are you to judge your neighbor?

New International Version.


  1. love is the only way!

  2. Agape Divine Ministries8 July 2011 at 11:37

    Don't Rush - Just Trust

    When our day is filled with plans...we must remember to stay in His hands. We must remember that only He can our day will really go. We must not yield to our own way...but abandon our will to Him and pray. He alone is who we must trust when we feel the urge to rush. When we're tired and feel alone...we must take refuge at His throne. So often things tell us to rush...while there's a gentle voice saying..."just trust" His love in us yet abounds...through all our ups and all our downs. So when you leave your house today remember to ask yourself "Did I pray?" Remember when life presses you to rush...Take a coin from your pocket and read the words that say "In God We Trust" Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; But we will remember the name of the LORD our God. Psalm 20:7 (New King James Version). David knew what kings and their people usually trusted in – human strength and the ways it is often expressed (in chariots and in horses). In 21 century human can say something like, “Some trust in nuclear weapons and some trust in tanks or bank balance.” It is part of human nature to put our trust in such things. But David put his trust in God almighty. He didn’t carry the name of the Lord as a magical incantation; rather the name speaks of the comprehensive character of God and is an expression of His faithfulness to His covenant with His children.

  3. Morning Will
    My Prayers are with you always, don't worry about these foolish people with nothing better to do but to morn about petty issues; Why should so called Glory TV get involved in political issues, they didn't get involved when our people suffered that ordeal in Gogra; they should just concentrate on getting funds as that's their main objective. Any way Keep at it Bro and God will do the rest!

  4. James Swapan Peris8 July 2011 at 12:10

    Dear Wilson,
    Don't worry brother, you are doing great. We all are with you. Today Pakistani Christian brothers and sisters are in grave danger and just few handful people are trying their best to help them and you are on the top of the list. This is why you are facing such kind of problem.
    Don 't forget that you are facing the most notorious intelligence agency in the world and that ISI. When Bangladesh was with Pakistan there was a secret agency called NSF and the charecter was similar.
    The person who wrote you letter not to bring Baluchistani Christian I think they are influenced by ISI or related with them.
    Right now you need support from everywhere. You have to count every every drop for your power. The more you earn the more you are powerful.
    Remember you are facing the whole Pakistan.
    We are remembering you in our prayer. We are with you. Any help give us call.

    Take care.

    God bless you.

    James Swapan Peris

  5. Shakeel Inayat8 July 2011 at 12:24

    Hi Wilson,
    I did not understand the matter whole but I appreciate your efforts and love for our christian community in Pakistan. You just keep up the good work brother. May God bless and guide you.

  6. Wilson, you are doing a great job. Keep it up! It's a learning process for all involved in which we mature and become more effective as time goes by, but not always accepted. Never give up and love even those who hate you.
    May God bless and protect you and your family.