Rev. Wilson Augustine, 26, is recovering from burns after six young Muslim men beat him with clubs and belts and set him on fire last month. Christian elders of nearby villages told Compass News that Augustine was distributing pamphlets and proclaiming Christ door-to-door when the sons of a powerful local land owner saw one of the pamphlets. Aamir Masih, a Christian elder, said that the young Muslim men mistakenly regarded verses in the pamphlet describing the resurrection of Jesus as derogatory to Muhammad, the prophet of Islam. “This angered the Muslim men, and they ordered Augustine to leave the village at once and stop preaching the gospel immediately or face the consequences,” Masih said.
Augustine told Compass that he then left the village. “I went to other villages to preach the gospel, but those Muslim men kept pursuing me everywhere I went, as they harbored a grudge against me for imparting the good news of the Holy Bible,” he said. The last stop that day was to preach in a small church building. When he finished his evangelistic work at about 10 p.m. he left on foot walking to the bus stop when riders on three motorcycles approached him. They began beating him with clubs and belts and threw a cold liquid on him; then they lit a match setting him ablaze. “After setting me on fire, they started thrashing me again,” Augustine said. “Because they were beating me with clubs the fire was extinguished. Later they dragged me into the bushes and left me for dead.
Since the assault Augustine has identified his attackers and filed a complaint. A police representative however told Compass that officers declined to register the case against the named men because it was dark and the Christian could be mistaken in their identity; but the evangelist’s father said police were bribed.
Father, it is a privilege to come to You each week and pray for those who are suffering for their faith in You. Together we are one body, and when one part suffers, every part suffers with it. Today we ask that you keep brothers like Rev. Augustine in Pakistan strong, heal their wounds and give them the divine grace to forgive those who persecute them. Give them hope in the midst of their present suffering and help them to focus on the glory to come.
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