Appearing by video for the International Religious Freedom Summit in Washington, D.C., Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian who spent eight years on death row in her home country, speaks passionately about God's care and comfort as well as her continuing concern for the persecuted church.
Bibi, a wife and mother of two, was convicted of blasphemy in 2009 after a quarrel with two fellow farm workers, who refused to drink from the same water container as a Christian. Five days later, the women said Bibi had insulted Islam, a crime punishable by death, and she was charged with blasphemy despite repeatedly denying the accusation. She remained in protective custody after the Supreme Court overturned her conviction and now lives with her family in Canada. d she had been in protective custody since then.
"From the bottom of my heart I am very thankful to the Lord, who has rescued me from my sufferings and difficulties," she says in the video presentation. "He has given me a fresh start and the opportunity to start a new life with my family."
"I want to be a voice for my Christian brothers and sisters," Bibi says, acknowledging the suffering of many of her fellow Pakistani Christians and others across the globe. "When I was in prison I was very worried about my children and husband. I was not aware where they were and whether they were safe or not. ... I always prayed for them day and night, that the Lord would be with them. Because of me my whole family was in difficulty. At the same time I had a hope in the Lord."
But God brought comfort her way in the form of a small brown bird, as she previously shared with a contact from Voice of the Martyrs:
There is a beautiful thing that happens every day in my cell. Two days after they announced my death penalty, I was brought into [death row]. Every morning around 3:30 or 4, a brown bird with a long beak appears and sits on the boundary wall. This bird also comes every evening around 5. He sits there for 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes in the evening. Later on he became my friend. I talk to him and he also talks to me.
As I watched this bird every day, I tried to understand the meaning of him coming day after day. I think this is a messenger from God giving me His message. When the bird comes, I feel encouraged and peaceful. I feel comforted after his visit. I think this is a very significant sign from God.
Watch the full IRF Summit at this link; Bibi's presentation begin at 8:22:40. And please continue your prayers for the persecuted church and for international religious freedom.
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