The early morning hours of September 2, 2016 dawned with a brutal attack on a Christian colony in Pakistan.
Samuel Masih, 55, a worker at the site of the Peshawar Development Authority, spent his last hours with his wife, discussing wedding plans for one of their children. And then he left for work. As he walked toward the gate around 5:30 a.m., four suicide bombers carrying automatic weapons were waiting at the gate to the colony, which is locked every night. When Samuel opened the gate, they shot him.
The security guard (a Muslim) at the gate received a call from Samuel. “He was screaming and saying ‘shut the gate immediately. I have been shot in the leg, I have seen the terrorists; they have crossed at the Kabul River and are attacking us. Shut the gates and call the military liaison for our area.’ The rest of the time Samuel called on his Lord and I could only hear bullets that sounded like they were firing in all directions,” reported the guard. Before he was killed, Samuel made it to the gate, was able to alert security and saved the lives of 10s of Christians in the 40-strong housing colony.
Two policemen were injured as they fought off the attackers, who were all killed. “We are thankful that the army quickly arrived at the scene; otherwise, there would have been great bloodshed that morning,” Samuel’s eldest son, Waqar, 27, told World Watch Monitor.
“Our Uncle was buried with full military honor wrapped in the Pakistani flag,” shared Samuel’s niece. We did not see his body but we were told by the military that the terrorists eventually hacked his body with knives before the suicide bomber blew himself up. We did not know my uncle was dead for a long time as the army had to cover it up to keep panic in the community down. For a long time, we thought no one was dead, that our uncle was on duty with the security forces. We will miss him dearly, but he saved our lives. For his prayerfulness and his courage, we give thanks.” She added the irony that preparations had been under way for a memorial service for the 2013 All Saints bombings. “Now this!” she added sadly. “Does it ever end?”
This community of Christians, the church there and Samuel’s family thank you for your prayers. “As a Church,” they say, “we have been through the well-trodden road of grief. It never gets easier. Each attack brings with it is a fresh assault of pain. However, knowing our brothers and sisters around the world are praying for us makes it so much easier to walk this journey. Please continue to pray for Samuel’s family and the Christians of Northwest Pakistan.
Father, thank You for the courage and faithfulness of Samuel Masih in protecting so many from harm even as he gave his own life. We pray for this community in their deep grief and we mourn that it is a grief that has been theirs in the past as well. Comfort and protect them, Father. Strengthen their faith to see Your presence in their midst in times like these and encourage them to continue to be salt and light to a people in great need of Christ. We pray against these acts of terrorism in Pakistan and pray for the government to make a clear stand for religious freedom, that the nation may one day lift high the banner of Christ. In the Name of Jesus who intercedes boldly on our behalf. Amen.