By CBF field personnel Suzie
Hope is what motivated most of our ancestors to leave their countries of origin and seek a better life in the United States. That impulse to find a haven continues for people of faith in many parts of the world. Over the past several years, we have experienced this personally. We have had the opportunity to get to know persecuted believers from Pakistan who are now urban refugees in Southeast Asia, living under difficult situations, waiting for resettlement in a western country.
Our friends Rebecca and Moshema are such a family. As the owner and manager of a family shop, Moshema had good relations with his Muslim neighbors until about 2009, when one of his childhood friends became radicalized and invited Moshema to leave Catholicism. The invitations became threats, and the threats turned into action in 2013 when two radicals beat Moshema senselessly, breaking his leg in two parts. After a lengthy hospitalization, Rebecca, Moshema and their girls moved to several other places in Pakistan, but the radicals always found them.
Moshema tried working in the Middle East—perhaps you saw the stories of the millions of migrant workers who built the stadium and hotels for last month’s World Cup—but within a month the radicals had found him and threatened to kill him. The family fled to Bangkok in 2015 and received UN refugee status in 2016. Then they waited—finding technically illegal work wherever they could, for about one-third the minimum wage. But like about 10,000 Pakistani Christians, they could find no country to take them.
The doors to the U.S. have been tightly closed since 2015—even to Christians like Moshema with three fatwahas calling for his death and a price on his head, and his wife Rakkhal –a high school science teacher with a master’s degree. They faced the daily insecurity of arbitrary arrest by corrupt policemen. In fact, another Pakistani friend of ours was imprisoned without trial for four years and four days, creating much trauma for his young family as the prison guards refused to interfere when Muslim prisoners beat him before their eyes.
But hope remains—in summer 2021 we connected Rebecca and Moshin with a Canadian organization that seeks sponsor churches for asylum seekers. In late November 2022, 18 months later, a church in a small mountain town in British Columbia agreed to sponsor them—what a great early Christmas present! We spent three Saturdays helping them fill out Canadian immigration forms, and they will probably have to wait another two years before everything is final. Please pray that they can maintain their hope during this time—and that they will be protected from arrest and that their young daughters—who are attending a small English-medium school thanks to donations from CBF churches—can truly thrive and be ready for the move to Canada.