Pakistan boasts around 20,000 brick kilns—and many of the kiln workers are believers. Christians in Pakistan comprise less than 2% of the country’s population and many of them who live and work in the brick kilns are shackled by crippling debts passed down through generations.
“We had a prosperous life,” Arham recalls, casting his mind back. “But a dispute with a Muslim family led us to court.”
In Pakistan, Muslims can often threaten to turn Christians in for blasphemy to steal their land, home or livestock. Some Christians give in, having little choice, and give up their assets to avoid long legal battles and the potential of blasphemy allegations.
Originating from colonial-era codes but augmented in the 1980s, these blasphemy laws were put in place to protect the sanctity of the Prophet Muhammad and the Quran, with heavy penalties for perceived transgressions. For the Christian minority and other non-Muslim communities, these laws often cast a long, uncertain shadow. In situations like Arham’s, these laws can also be used as leverage for personal vendettas.
Unable to afford the legal fees to fight for his property, Arham was forced to find a way to support his family.
“To pay our fees, we took out a loan. That was 25 years ago. The debt, instead of dwindling, has only ballooned since.”
Brick kiln owners often offer believers loans to help them pay for urgent medical bills, their daughters’ weddings, food, rent or legal fees in hard times. With no other forms of income or support, these offers are challenging to pass up. But these loans are snares to keep families—many of them Christians—trapped. Their daily wages are garnished for interest, and the meager wages will likely keep them in slavery for decades, unless something breaks the cycle—some form of grace.
Until then, they’re owned by the brick kiln.
But because of your support, believers like Arham and his family are being freed from bonded slavery. We recently traveled to meet him at his home to deliver the check to the brick kiln owner and to break the news to Arham.
“When we heard our debts were to be settled, words failed us. We’d never imagined escaping this vicious cycle. My children would have inherited this burden.”
To the supporters like you who have made such liberation possible, Arham’s gratitude is profound: “Your prayers and support have been our lifeline. By standing with persecuted Christians like us, you’re not just offering financial relief but restoring faith, hope and dignity.”
With palpable fervor, Arham articulates his faith’s significance: “The Lord Jesus Christ is my anchor. He sustains me in every moment. Through your support, you’ve rekindled that faith.”
As we part ways with Arham, his plea extends to all who are ensnared by bondage, both of debt and of faith. “Pray for their protection and liberation,” he urges.
In one last statement, Arham continues to overflow with gratitude, “Your unwavering support has been our beacon. May God bless you tenfold, allowing you to continue this transformative work.”
Arham’s journey underscores the profound systems of suppression prevalent in parts of the world like Pakistan, but also the indomitable spirit of those oppressed, sustained by faith and the promise of a brighter tomorrow. To each donor who reads this: Thank you for standing steadfast with persecuted Christians, for your prayers and generous support have illuminated countless lives.
Pictured: Arham and his family meet with Global Christian Relief
About the author
Brian O. writes for Global Christian Relief and makes it his mission to share the stories of the persecuted with the global Church. Get the latest stories and prayer requests at GlobalChristianRelief.org.