April 7, 2004 (Voice of the Martyrs) -- The pastor of a small church in Pakistan was shot and killed last Friday in the village of Manawala, near Lahore, Pakistan.
George Masih, aged 42, was the leader of a small village church which met in his home. He and his wife, Aniata, were active in reaching out to other villagers in the primarily Muslim village in order to share the gospel with them.
Masih became a Christian seven years ago, and had worked previously as an elder in a Church of Pakistan congregation in Lahore. He and his wife relocated the family two years ago to Manawala and were working to plant a church there. They were known in the village for the worship songs that could be heard coming from their house, and for ministering house to house reaching out to neighbors and praying for those who were sick—even if they were Muslims. There is only one other Christian family in the village.
The Christian work of George Masih and his family drew the anger of a Muslim neighbor named Shokat Ali. Ali was irritated by the Christian meetings in Masih’s home, and urged the landlord to kick the family out. On more than one occasion Ali threatened to kill Masih if he continued preaching, according to VOM sources in Pakistan.
Last Friday around noon, Masih, his wife and four children were watching the JESUS film in their home. When the movie finished, Aniata got up to go out of the house. When she opened the door, two masked attackers burst in. One grabbed Aniata and covered her mouth, threatening her with death if she tried to cry out for help.
The other attacker fired a shotgun point blank at George Masih’s face. As the Christian man lay dying, the assailant hit him in the head with the butt of the gun. Then both men fled.
Hearing the cries of Aniata, many neighbors gathered. One neighbor who did not show up was Shokat Ali.
About 300 people gathered in the home of George’s brother for the funeral, including many Muslims who had been blessed by his ministry. Pastor Mukhtar, the pastor who led George to Christ, called the martyred Christian “a true and passionate believer” and said, “he always tried to win the souls with his preaching.”
The Voice of the Martyrs’ contacts who visited the family offered prayers and encouragement to the widow and her three sons (ages 8, 4 and 2) and daughter (age 1).
“At present we are helpless,” Aniata told VOM. “I need the prayers of my brothers and sisters that I may be strengthened by the Lord our God to bear this loss.”
The Voice of the Martyrs urges Christians around the world to pray for this young family, and for other Christians in Pakistan.