Quetta’s Christians Remember Those Lost in Last Year’s Church Bombing
By ICC’s Pakistan Correspondent
12/17/2018 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – One year ago, the Christian community of Quetta was devastated by a terrorist attack. On Sunday, December 17, 2017, two militants carrying guns and wearing suicide vests attacked Bethel Memorial Methodist Church, killing 10 and injuring over 50 others gathered for worship.
As the militants attacked, they were met with resistance from security guards deployed to the church. One militant was shot and killed before he could enter the church compound. The other, however, was only wounded and detonated his deadly payload in the doorway of the church as more than 400 worshippers ran for cover.
Although a year has passed since the bombing, many Christians in Quetta are still filled with a sense of fear, depression, and anxiety.
“It was unforgettable day,” Pastor Simon, the pastor of Bethel Memorial Methodist Church, told International Christian Concern (ICC). “I can’t delete all the memories and associations with the people who we lost a year ago. May their souls rest in Jesus.”
“The Christians of Quetta are still scared and fearful while organizing Christmas events,” Pastor Simon explained. “The main memorial service [commemorating the attack] was held in the church on Sunday, December 16. It was attended by over 1,000 faithful.”
“The people have restored gradually, however, they are scared in the wake of the sad incident,” Pastor Simon continued. “Being in a sensitive part of the country, there are threats looming all the time.”
Describing the positive security efforts being made by local authorities, Pastor Simon said, “[Dozens] of professional security personnel belonging to Frontier Core Regiment have been deputed for 24/7 security in the church.”
“Most of the victims have recovered from their physical injuries, however, those that lost their dear ones are still struggling with their emotions.”
Pastor Simon concluded by saying, “Most of the victims have recovered from their physical injuries, however, those that lost their dear ones are still struggling with their emotions. They need time to come out of the trauma.”
Among those most deeply affected by last year’s attack is the family of Sultan Masih, the then gatekeeper of Bethel Memorial Methodist Church. Masih was one of the 10 people killed by the militants as he attempted to protect the church. His widow said, “It is God’s will for me to bring up these children in the Christian faith. I am struggling with it as I have no proper source of income. However, I have faith in God’s plans although we all miss our beloved one who sacrificed his life for others and Jesus.”
While speaking with ICC, Pastor Simon also shared that several individuals still have significant injuries following the attack. He believes that these individuals will have to live with disabilities for rest of their lives. This included Aleeza Ashiq, a young Christian girl who lost her foot as a result of a shrapnel wound from the bomb.
As Christians around the world prepare for the Christmas holiday, it is important to remember those deeply affected by persecution. This includes the Christians of Quetta, and specifically Bethel Memorial Methodist Church.
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