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Thankful that My Girls Are Safe


This is going to sound like a sad thankful Thursday, but I am just overwhelmed with gratitude for living in Canada instead of some of the hellholes in the world today. Especially as a Christian. Here we have the freedom to pray, worship, evangelize, speak, raise our kids the way we want to, and meet with who we want to. We can have dreams for our kids which will, in all likelihood, be fulfilled. And all of that is because of the rich Christian heritage that our continent has had.

I read this story recently out of Pakistan, and last night I couldn't sleep praying for these two girls. Listen to this:

Saba Younas, aged 13, and her sister Anila were kidnapped last June 26 in the village of Chowk Munda, in the province of Punjab, where they had gone to visit their uncle, Khalid Raheel. This is the same uncle who in recent days reported their kidnapping, asking for help from news organisations and human rights groups.

According to Raheel's account, a Muslim fruit vendor named Muhammad Arif Bajwa kidnapped the girls, and then handed them over to a friend, Falak Sher Gill, who then organised the marriage between his own son and the older of the Christian sisters, Saba. In court, moreover, father and son both stressed the "complete willingness of the girl to contract marriage". The girls' uncle does not conceal his preoccupation, and denounces to AsiaNews that the Muslims involved in the kidnapping are acting as a "gang", recruiting the girls in order to "make them work in a bordello". This alarm has also been heard by the Catholic commission for justice and peace (NCJP) in the country, which confirms the words of Khalid Raheel: the kidnappers are believed to be human traffickers linked to prostitution, known to the police and under the protection of some local politicians. "For these unscrupulous people", charges Naeem Asghar, local coordinator of the NCJP, marriage is a pretence in order to control the girls, run their lives and exploit them for their own business purposes".

Basically, the father and the uncle took the Muslims to court, where the Muslim "husband" of the 13-year-old argued that the two had converted to Islam and had no wish to return to their parents. The judge, a prominent Muslim, took their word for it.

Imagine being in their parents' shoes: you know your daughters are going to be repeatedly raped and told to renounce their religion, and there's nothing you can do.

My daughters are 13 and 10. They are innocent. They are fun-loving. They are wonderful. I cannot imagine such horrors being perpetrated on them.

And yet, for so many girls around the world, that is life. Increasingly the Coptic Christians are being persecuted in the same way. Kidnapping pre-teen Christian girls, forcing them to convert, and then marrying them off is quite common.

All I can think of is the Bible verse: "and if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to be thrown into th sea with a large millstone tied around his neck." (Luke 9:42). I guess that's not entirely true, because I don't believe these two little girls have sinned if they were coerced into anything. But they have been horribly hurt, and so I pray that God will fulfill His promise here.

And I feel so blessed that my daughters are free from that. Why did God choose us to live here, and not there? That must give us a profound sense of calling to use the resources we do have to make this world a better place, rather than spend our resources on ourselves. We are blessed, but we aren't to hoard the blessing, not when we have so much more than so many do. If I could think of any way to help poor Saba and Anila, I would do it. Any suggestions?

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11 Comments:

At 9:58 AM , Blogger Lauren said…

How disturbing and sad. Thank you for sharing this story, though.

 

At 10:11 AM , Blogger Charity said…

We are indeed blessed. We have some friends that have started a ministry to help bring an end to such things. You can find out about them at forthesilent.org. They truly have a tender heart for these children.

 

At 10:32 AM , Blogger lori said…

Sheila...
You know I think of it often...how blessed we are to be raising girls HERE, free...It makes me just soooo sad...
thank you for bringing this up today..we just don't think about it enough, do we....

On a completely DIFFERENT note...I'm just finishing To Love, Honor and Vacuum....I'm the devo host for Heart of the Matter! What a blessing it's going to be! :) Thank YOU for this!! When I saw your name on the Thankful Thursday list...I just had to come by and say THANK YoooooU!

Peace Sheila!
lori

 

At 12:11 PM , Blogger Laurie Ann said…

The blessings of living in freedom are something we should never take for granted. The story you shared broke my heart. Aside from praying and donating money to organizations that stop things like this, I don't know what we could do to help.

 

At 2:07 PM , Blogger IRENE said…

You are so right...Be blessed.

 

At 5:42 PM , Anonymous sharon said…

Oh how sad! Thanks for sharing this.

 

At 6:08 PM , Blogger Denise said…

Bless you for sharing this, I appreciate your caring heart.

 

At 8:42 PM , Blogger Peculiar said…

WOW! The same reasons you're thankful you live in Canada are the same reasons I'm thankful I live in the USA. We both are so blessed by our freedoms aren't we? I hate the sins that run so rampant in certain places on a daily basis. Of course we have sin and a need for Jesus too, right here in our own country, but these things give us a reason to pray for our country, other's countries, certain people's mindsets and character, sins of certain people's customs, etc. It makes me grateful for my salvation and have the desire to keep myself, my thoughts, and my ways pure before God so that I won't think to do things like the things mentioned. The sins these people commit against children and others could be any of us without Jesus. People need the Lord. I think you're right, if God gives you the desire and heart to help in the area you mentioned with the girls, we should see how He wants us to do it. Bless you in your endeavor to see where He would have you help out. You'll always look at your girls and have a grateful heart.

 

At 2:09 AM , Blogger the sweetest thing said…

My heart breaks for those two little girls and others like them. I will be giving Sweetpea an extra hug tonight. Thanks for sharing.

 

At 12:55 PM , Anonymous Carol said…

How about visible and vociferous group protests, rallies, marches, media blitzes, phone/fax/ e-mail /blog/ letterwriting campaigns, encouraging politicians, celebrities, and international organizations to make a stand against these child abuse practices?

 

At 4:27 PM , Anonymous James said…

I think our resources obligate us to get in touch with our local ministers of parliament and pressure them to not support countries that in any way persecute Christians or look the other way while their Christian citizens are treated as second class or inhuman. We must pressure our politicians to not give any aid financial or otherwise to countries like Pakistan or Saudi Arabia, etc. who persecute their Christian populations while muslims immigrate hear and are treated with respect and dignity accorded to human persons.

 
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About Me

Name: Sheila

Home: Belleville, Ontario, Canada

About Me: I'm a Christian author of a bunch of books, and a frequent speaker to women's groups and marriage conferences. Best of all, I love homeschooling my daughters, Rebecca and Katie. And I love to knit. Preferably simultaneously.

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