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A friend who is working with missions in Asia told me the other day about a Pakistani Christian girl, Samariya Nadeem, from Punjab in Pakistan, who was abducted by a Muslim landowner and forced to marry him after conversion to Islam. There is a petition directed to the Chief Minister of Punjab that asks him to free Samariya and make sure that freedom of religion and the freedom to marry volontarily is protected in Pakistan.
So far, police have failed to pursue any legal action against the local wealthy Muslim landowner who abducted the girl because of the influence he wields. Police investigators were also unable to talk to the bruised and terrified victim. Anonymous police sources confirmed that the girl was “abducted” and forced to marry. However, an Islamic cleric involved in the affair said that it was “not illegal to abduct and convert non-Muslims”.
Civil society groups and human rights activists have appealed to Punjab’s chief minister to take action and return Samariya to her parents and bring her abductor to justice. Kidnappings and forced marriages are a major issue in Pakistan, especially in Southern Punjab and in the interior of Sindh province. It is common in the region that young, religious minority, women and girls are forcefully converted and married away to influential landlords who keep them as slaves.
I’ve written about my friend Simon Adahl previously, a Swedish musician who is passionate about Jesus and who has an amazing prophetic gift. Not only is he using this gift to lead people to Christ, but he has also used it to promote human rights and fair trade. Here’s how it happened:
On August 15, 2011, the Lord woke Simon up and told him to write a song about the reunification of North and South Korea. “Never!” Simon replied, “Do I look like a Korean to you?” “Write the song” “No, nobody will listen to an unknown Swede anyway.”
Then the Lord started to sing: “The one who walks with God can change nations. The one who walks with God can impact millions.” A song Simon himself had written.
Simon gave up, wrote the song “I’m gonna pray for Korea”, recorded it with his brother Frank and sent it to some South Korean publishing companies. They all said “thank you but no thank you”. It was too controversial.
But then things started to change. A friend of Simon’s said that she got an email from the International Prayer Center requesting prayer for North Korea, since one of their prophets said that Kim Jong Il was about to die (he did die in december 2011). Simon asked them if they wanted to use his song for their prayer meetings, and they said yes.
Shortly after, activist organizations promoting human rights in North Korea, like Stop Genocide in North Korea, wanted to use Simon’s song on events and demonstrations. Suddenly, it was played during a massive global manifestation in New York, London, Berlin, Tokyo and Seoul – at the same time! And finally, a South Korean publishing company published the song.
In 2012, Christians from Indonesia contacted Simon and invited him and Frank to come to World Prayer Assembly 2012 – the biggest prayer meeting in world history – not only to play that song but to write the theme song for the whole event. Simon said yes. And suddenly they were leading worship in front of 200 000 people, as well as millions that watched it through God TV.
And this is where the really cool things began to happen.
Although I don’t agree with everything Samuel Lee writes in his book “A New Kind of Pentecostalism”, I think this part of a review by the author himself is pretty awesome:
As a Pentecostal pastor, I have been in this movement long enough to say with assurance that I have seen many Pentecostals who pray in tongues and who experience and perform miracles and manifestations and yet are full of arrogance, racism, ethnocentrism, or denomi-centrism. They exclude others; they are overflowing with prejudices, yet they claim they are “filled” with the Holy Spirit. I wonder to which Holy Spirit they are referring.
The Pentecostalism that I promote is about humility and is not a commercialized, Hollywood-esque Christianity, where the hairstyle of the preacher and his/her wealth attracts the attention or where leadership becomes a pyramid system in which the superstar preachers become the new living icons and idols of the Pentecostal believers. I would love to see a Pentecostalism in which people learn to depend on God and on each other through love. I desire to see a Pentecostalism in which the leaders are servants and preachers of humility and grace. (more…)