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Easter Bombing, Easter Hope

Christians in Pakistan grieve, yet retain faith in Christ following bombing.

Easter celebrations were in full swing at Gulshan Iqbal Park in Lahore, Pakistan, on March 27 when a suicide bomb blasted through the crowds.

A huge Christian community was present at the Easter celebration. Of the 74 dead, 30 are believed to have been Christians and 29 were children.

Approximately 50 of 240 among the wounded are also part of the Christian community. Four family members of a Pakistani Assemblies of God leader are hospitalized. One AG believer is among those killed in the attack.

The Taliban has reportedly claimed responsibility for the bombing, Pakistan’s deadliest terrorist attack since a 2014 school massacre that also was claimed by the Taliban and killed 134 students. Several radical groups actively trying to establish the Islamic State in Pakistan have also carried out various other attacks.

Lahore is the capital city of the province of Punjab and, with a population of over five million, is Pakistan’s second largest metropolitan area. Its rich history dates back more than a millennium. It is the largest Punjabi city in the world and an important economic, political, and cultural hub for Pakistan.

The Pakistan Army is organizing search operations in the Punjab province to seek out the terrorists and their supporters. Army and law enforcement agencies have apprehended 216 suspects.

Christian Pakistani leaders ask for prayer for families affected by the attack, the quick recovery of the injured, for the protection of Pakistan, and especially of Pakistani Christians.

A leader in the Pakistan Assemblies of God states that while many Christians are experiencing great grief and insecurity following the bombing, they are looking to God for the healing of their wounds. They also realize that many others are also being targeted.

“Sometimes Christians are particularly attacked,” he says. “Other times Christians suffer equally with Muslims, as on Easter.”

“It is, sadly, not uncommon for Christians to be targeted,” adds the AGWM Central Eurasia area director. “During times of crisis like these, it is important for these believers to know that they are not alone and that the worldwide community of believers is praying for them and concerned about them.” 

“Our hearts grieve with our brothers and sisters in Pakistan who lost loved ones in this attack,” says AGWM Executive Director Greg Mundis. “I’m praying that this tragedy will prove to be an open door for the gospel to be shared, and that God will move powerfully to rescue the lost across Pakistan.”

In the wake of this tragedy, the gospel does continue to be proclaimed. The upcoming launch of the Fire Bible in Urdu—the official and common language of Pakistan—will create a valuable tool for local pastors, church leaders, and believers.

“Since Christians are such a small minority in Pakistan, most believers and church leaders there are unable to receive ongoing education or find study materials in a language that they can readily understand,” the Central Eurasia area director says. “This Urdu Fire Bible is the first major study Bible in Urdu and will allow these believers to have a tool in their own language which exposits the Scriptures from a Pentecostal perspective.” 

The Fire Bible launch, which comes after many years of work and partnership between the Pakistan Assemblies of God and the Pakistan Bible Society, will make the Fire Bible available to the entire Pakistani Christian community.

One Pakistani pastor states that pending launch of the Fire Bible signals the meeting of a great need. “Our people are hungry and thirsty for the Word of God,” he says. “Pastors and teachers find it difficult to go abroad to study theology due to their limited finances and knowledge of the English language. Therefore this Bible will be a great help. On behalf of Pakistani Christians I would like to express my appreciation.”

“The launch is a great opportunity for Pakistan’s Christian community to stand together around the Word of God,” the Central Eurasia area director says. “It’s a project that brings together all the believers in Pakistan, as well as those who do not yet believe.”

Kristel Zelaya

Kristel Zelaya is a freelance writer and editor with global experience. She served as marketing manager for Assemblies of God U.S. Missions and as a writer and editor for Assemblies of God World Missions. These experiences have led her to numerous countries and cultures — far from beaten paths — on behalf of many who did not know how deeply their stories matter. Zelaya is also a licensed Assemblies of God minister.