Mr. Chapman, a humanitarian photographer, and his wife Vivian Chapman, a writer and editor; are a wonderful Christian couple who travel the world working on assignments working with NGOs, Non-Profits and Corporations that want to share their vision. Their photography has been used in advertising and picked up by many huge news agencies like CNN.
I wanted to re-post some of his best pictures from Pakistan, along with some stories about the people in them. In many of the pictures the faces of the people are hidden to keep them safe and prevent any undue backlash from their Muslim neighbours. As always all of Mr. Chapman's photographs are copyright and I would ask that if any of you would like to use them in any gatherings or for your publications to please contact Mr. Chapman at the email linked here; the main reason for posting them is to show you - my Pakistani Christian brothers and sisters a reminder of where we come from - the beauty of faith in Christ, the horror of persecution, and the eternal hope that keeps us going.
Some of these pictures and the stories behind them are also in his book called "Persecuted... in Pakistan", which I bought - only about $6 for the epub download located here on www.blurb.com and about $60 for the hardcopy; I fully encourage all of you to purchase this book not only to support our dear brother in Christ but also because it's a beautiful reminder to us, and others that we meet to show them what it's like for a Christian in Pakistan. Feel free to also check out his blog and more of his photographs at www.garyschapman.com.
|A Christian Pastor hold his young sons hand.|
|A brick maker tending to her baby while working.|
|A matriarch (grandmother) prays.|
|A matriarch holds her granddaughter's hand during a time of prayer/worship.|
|Sanitation work is one of the few jobs that are available to Christians in Pakistan.|
|The man far left, uses his motorcycle to visit Christians in rural areas where he teaches the Bible.|
"While the women were meeting in another part of the town, male pastors, elders and church leaders were also together for prayer and teaching. Some traveled great distances to attend."
|Christians often hire armed guards for protection at large gatherings.|
|A Christian in Pakistan voiced her fear that the group of believers she was with was singing too loudly and might be heard by Islamic students in the madrassa next door.|
|Shortly after this photo was made, this young Christian man in hiding was caught and imprisoned on a false charge of blasphemy. He was released after a year and a half.|
|A resident of Gojra stands in the doorway of what was once his home.|
|Charred remains of household goods in Korian.|
|Elderly woman holds her grandchild as she walks among the ruins of her former home razed by mob violence.|
|A Muslim woman refuses to open the door to a negotiator that was trying to gain possession of the house for the original Christian owner.|
"Fearing retribution when their two sons were imprisoned on a 295(c) blasphemy charge, the Christian family fled. This Muslim woman's family moved in. The Christian family has been unable to reclaim their home."
|Family photos are displayed as a memorial to the ones who died in the violence in Gojra.|
|A note written in Urdu covertly passed from one Christian to another, 'God our Savior help you all. Amen.'|
|A Muslim neighbor in Gojra saved a stack of Bibles from a church building that was torched by a mob.|
|The 25-year-old father of four young children is a hero to dozens of woman and children whose lives he saved by warding off violent mobs in Gojra.|
"He stood on his balcony for almost four hours fending off angry, violent mobs bent on destroying a Christian colony in Gojra city. There, Muslim extremists led thousands in a rampage of violence, looting, and torching that left nine dead and hundreds of people homeless.
Like mice chased by alley cats, young girls and women toting their children began to race into his three-story house. As the mob appeared on their street, he knew he had only a few minutes to do something. Pleading with his father to give him a shotgun and 88 shells that were in storage, his father relented.
He ran up the stairs to the third-floor balcony firing twice in the air. The rabble stopped in their tracks momentarily surprised by the show of resistance. Then a few brazenly moved forward. Having once served in the army, the experienced shooter began discharging rounds over their heads, just close enough to hold them back. For almost four hours he stood as a sentinel blasting towards any threat. When the mob finally left, only two rounds remained. He said his heart was racing, but he knew he had done what was right.
While he saved his home and the houses on the rest of the street, the violent rabble had torched his employer’s business just blocks away, completely destroying the building along with all equipment. He was out of a job, but he had saved his family and many others. For that, he was so grateful.
This young man was arrested along with his brothers. Their location and well-being is unknown."
|Despite the threats of danger from Islamic extremists, this young man moved to the north of Pakistan to share his faith.|
In his book, Gary S. Chapman writes about this man (pictured above) --
"Amidst the perils and burdens he shoulders, he still manages to share his Christian faith, overjoyed when he speaks of a Muslim that is now his brother."
|This 75-year-old brick maker produces 1,000 bricks per day for $2.60.|
"The backbreaking work of a brick-maker is one of the few jobs available to Christians in Pakistan. The majority have limited educational opportunities. Their high illiteracy rate leaves them restricted mostly to menial jobs. To meet his quota, a brick-maker is often forced to have his entire family working with him. 'Being a Christian is not an easy way to go. It is a hard, challenging life. Sometimes the owner is not giving us full wages. But Jesus is keeping us in His safe hands. Jesus told the downtrodden to come and He will give them rest.'"
|A brick maker family prays with a local pastor.|
|This brick maker mixes mud early in the morning to fulfill his daily quota of bricks.|
|This sixteen-year-old brick maker is a student and designated Bible reader for his village.|
"He was 10 years old when he started working in the brickyards. He starts making bricks at 4:30 a.m. (along with his family of seven). From 7:30 a.m. until 2:00 p.m., he is among the few afforded an opportunity to go to school. He then returns to the brickyard and works until dark. In the evenings, he reads the Bible to his family. His pastor trained and equipped him to be the designated Bible reader for his village as well."
|Two men sift through the debris of their demolished homes in Gojra.|
|This street sweeper spends 10 to 12 hours a day bent over his broom making less than three dollars a day.|
"Male, 34 years old, street sweeper and sanitation worker. He has been a street sweeper and sanitation worker for 15 years. As a Christian, it is one of the few jobs he can get. Even though they work jobs no one else wants, their joy was apparent as they joked and laughed with one another amid the clouds of stirred up dust."
|A believer holds his bible.|
|Unlike in most of Pakistan, at this school, Christian and Muslim students freely drink water from the same cup.|
"Just a short distance from the school, Muslim fundamentalists tortured and killed a Christian after they saw him drink water from a spigot reserved for Muslims."
Mr. Chapman writes a Christian school teacher and pastor's witness: "I started going to a Muslim school when I was five. As a Christian, we had to sit in the back of the class. Everyone looked at us with hate, even the teachers. We were beaten if we did not show enough respect for the Qur'an. We couldn't use the same water glass as the Muslim students."
|A young Pakistani girl lifts her hands in worship. For her protection, her identity is hidden by the blurring of the photo. She was orphaned by the 2005 earthquake in Pakistan and taken in by a Christian woman living in the north.|