Friday, November 6, 2009

One of our partners in Lahore writes: Lahore is quiet at present (well, as quiet as it ever gets - it's a fairly 24/7 city) but today's sadness is the burning down of St Denys' Christian girls' school in Murree. It was said to be caused by a gas leak, and certainly wasn't a bomb; and by the grace of God all 150 girls were in the playground at the time so, although the main school building (wooden) is burnt to ashes, no-one was hurt. But it's a dreadful loss.

The atmosphere here and everywhere is tense and fearful. All schools have had to put in massive security precautions (8 foot walls, armed guards, walk-through metal gates, CCTV) and all pre-school nursery and kindergarten classes have been closed indefinitely. I am careful to avoid being in high-profile places such as the Punjab Assembly, High Court or central Police Station. Christians in the area are living in a of tension. Special prayer groups have been formed to pray for Pakistan, and I will join a group next Monday who have flown in from the States to pray with us here.

Christians are especially uneasy. Last Friday I went with some church leaders to distribute to the people of war affected area the money my church had collected in a special offering, after they were violently attacked and their houses burned. We could see the damage very clearly, although the houses (and two churches) are now being rebuilt by Government. But many of the residents are still living in tents, and in Korian village they have pitched their tents and tarpaulins on the graveyard, as the only open space. Another problem is that many of the Christians in Gojra worked in one of the big factories, and after the attacks they were all sacked, on the grounds that the owner "didn't want any trouble". They need our continuing prayers.
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