Pakistani Christians Risk Lives for God

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HERAT, AFGHANISTAN - Supplies bound for Afghanistan are destroyed by Taliban militants not far from Peshawar, Pakistan. It's just another example of the Pakistani government's inability to control the country's lawless border region.

Pakistani children sing praise songs at a Christian school near the city of Lahore. Some want to grow up to be pastors and evangelists-- spreading the gospel and winning their countrymen to Christ.

What does the future hold for some of these aspiring evangelists, especially if they try to share their faith in the Taliban-controlled tribal regions?

Just ask Yaqub Masih. we've changed his name and hidden his identity to protect him. He aggressively distributed bibles and christian tracks in a tribal area of Pakistan until last october. That's when he was kidnapped and tortured by members of the Taliban.

"They removed my clothing and they beat me very badly with a leather strap.Two were holding me down while another one hit me and twice they sodomized me with a metal rod," he remembered. "They said if you accept Islam we will not continue to beat you. I said you have already tortured me. Do whatever more you want to do to me, but I will not become a Muslim."

Masih said he began to recite Psalm 23 in his heart. He prayed that God would deliver him from his persecutors. His prayer was answered early the next morning, when a Muslim friend helped him escape from the Taliban camp.

Not only have Pakistani converts to Christianity been terrorized by the Taliban, in neighboring Afghanistan, a Muslim background believer was nearly beheaded by members of al Qaeda. CBN News called him "Farid" to protect his identity.

"When they put a knife to my neck I thought God had appointed this as my time to die," Farid said, and he began to pray.

He says six terrorists armed with a knife and automatic weapons stormed into his pre-dawn prayer meeting several years ago. They were angry because he was leading Afghans to Christ. He says as he continued to pray, God spoke and told him to leave the room.

"When I stood up after praying and went to go out, two men were blocking the doorway and said you cannot leave. One of the men shot at me with his Kalashnikov. The gun jammed. He put another clip in and shot again, but it still did not shoot," he said.

Farid and the other Christians escaped unharmed. Police captured the terrorists and made an amazing discovery-- a duffle bag was found at the scene containing a video camera, an al Qaeda flag and two swords.

Farid said the police told him the terrorists were planning to behead him, and just like al Qaeda in Iraq, they planned to send a videotape of the execution to al Jazeera television.

"This is a Muslim country and they wanted missionaries to know if they come here and preach we are going to kill them," he said.

Unafraid, Farid quietly continues his evangelistic work among the Muslims of Afghanistan.

And what about Yaqub in Pakistan?

"I prayed and asked the Lord that he would lead my persecutors to someday come before me and accept Jesus Christ," he said. "God has strengthened me. He has made me bold... I cannot stop, I must continue this. I plan to go back to the Taliban area because I was chosen by God for this work."

*Originally aired on December 11, 2008.

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Gary Lane

Gary Lane

CBN News

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