81-martyr-photo-9-22-13-633x950Christians in Pakistan are no stranger to persecution. Perhaps few people understand this better than Dr. Muqaddam Zia, a pastor in Faisalabad who leads Pakistan Baptist Fellowship, an association of churches in growing friendship with Regular Baptist International.

On Sunday, Sept. 22, two Taliban suicide bombers entered the courtyard of the historic All Saints’ Church in Peshawar, aiming to kill non-Muslims. As worshipers exited the building to receive a free meal, the bombs exploded. Eighty-five people died, and about 145 were injured; 34 women and seven children were among the dead. News agencies are calling it the worst attack on Christians in that country.

In Pakistan, Christians are a minority, making up about 2 percent of the population. Persecution is common. “However, believers are strong in faith,” says Dr. Zia.

Pakistan Baptist Fellowship has been ministering in this Islamic country since 1955. The association, then called Karachi Baptist Fellowship, initially worked only in Karachi and nearby cities. But in 2012 its leaders expanded their vision, desiring to reach all of Pakistan with the saving grace of Jesus Christ, and renamed the association Pakistan Baptist Fellowship. It is a potential new partner for Regular Baptist International, which networks with independent Baptist ministries around the world “to carry the gospel to all people everywhere.”

Dr. Zia says, “Please join us in prayer for the families of the martyrs as well as the believers facing fear and grief around the country.”

Melissa Meyer is associate editor for Regular Baptist Press.