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Persecuted Christ follower in Pakistan ministers in the brick kilns

March 5, 2024 by James Jacob in Persecuted Christians in Pakistan

Through his mother’s encouragement, Phillip cut ties with his addict friends and opened his Bible. He was inspired by the words in Nehemiah 2:17: “Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.” He felt a calling on his life. He wanted to become a pastor and serve the youth in his neighborhood, those struggling with substance abuse.

Over time, Phillip was ordained as a pastor and began preaching in churches, emphasizing the importance of skills development and education to break the cycle of poverty. He established a church and community center. It was at this center where Pastor Xavier met Noman*.

Noman came from an especially underdeveloped village in rural Pakistan. But even though he couldn’t read, Noman was a top student, and he was hard-working and honest. It was through classes at the community center where Noman decided he would establish a tailor shop and make enough money to take care of his family.

Six months later, Pastor Xavier visited Noman and his family at their home, fully expecting to see Noman running his tailor shop. However, to his surprise, he found Noman and his family working as bonded slaves in one of Pakistan’s many brick kilns. Noman was toiling under the scorching sun, covered in mud and dressed in torn clothes. He was barely recognizable.

Like in Pastor Xavier’s life, the Bible gives hope. Help us get the Bible into the hands of persecuted believers all around the world.

Pastor Xavier sat down with Noman and heard his story: When Noman had returned home to open his tailor shop, he discovered his parents were burdened with a large debt they were unable to pay off, having taken out a loan from a brick kiln owner. With no other options, Noman took on the task of helping his family as they worked in a kiln to pay off their loan.

Many Christians find themselves trapped in a cycle of bonded labor within the brick kilns. Influential landlords, seeking cheap and readily available labor, target vulnerable Christian communities who are desperate for work. They extend loans to these families during times of need, such as weddings or funerals, knowing that they will struggle to repay the debts. As a result, many families are forced into bonded labor to work off their debts. This systematic manipulation perpetuates a cycle of poverty and bondage for these marginalized communities.

Disheartened at seeing Noman working in the kilns, Pastor Xavier took action; he gathered funds to pay off the family’s debt, which amounted to just over $140. However, when he arrived to pay off the debt, he had no idea at the persecution he would face.

The owner of the kiln took the money from Pastor Xavier and then assaulted him. The owner and other managers gathered a group of Christian laborers to witness. The intention was clear: to use Pastor Xavier as an example to instill fear in the laborers.

“They continuously assaulted me for two hours,” Pastor Xavier recounts. “They dragged me by my hair, stripped me of my clothes and then formed a circle around me in which they kicked and slapped me. Throughout the ordeal, I vividly recall how all the Christian laborers watched helplessly, crying as they witnessed my assault.”

A co-owner of the kiln eventually saw the assault and immediately went out to intercede. Pastor Xavier says, “His intervention spared my life.” And even after his assault, Pastor Xavier pleaded with the owner who was beating him to release Noman’s family, but his requests were dismissed.

From that moment onward, Pastor Xavier knew he had to help persecuted Christians working in the brick kilns. His new ministry is dedicated to raising support and aid for the kiln workers. He’s been at work forging relationships with kiln owners, so there will be an openness to facilitate the freedom of workers and their families.

God chooses us for fulfillment of His vision in our lives,” Pastor Xavier says. “I thank Him for choosing me, a sinner and former addict, to serve His people amid struggles and challenges.”

Like in Nehemiah 2:17, Pastor Xavier has been rebuilt. He is now a tool God can use to cultivate His land for His people. And he continues to be open to however God will use him. Pastor Xavier has passed along some prayer requests. Join us now in prayer.

Lord, we’re grateful for how You redeemed Pastor Xavier. We ask that You continue to provide opportunities for him to serve You, especially in the brick kilns. Encourage Christians that work in the kilns—may they find hope in You each day. And may kiln owners be full of compassion for those under them. Amen.

*Representative names and photo used to preserve security.

About the authors
James Jacob and Tim Dustin are journalists for Global Christian Relief where they share the stories of persecuted Christians with the worldwide Church. Read the latest Christian persecution stories on our website and learn more at

For Pastor Xavier, his life changed when he opened the Bible, but so many of our persecuted brothers and sisters around the globe do not have a Bible of their very own. However, for only $5 today, you can gift God’s Word—an act which can literally transform a life. Learn more by following the button below.

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