One week after a deadly attack on their church in Islamabad on March 17, the members of the Protestant International Church (PIC) gathered to comfort and pray for each other. There are many mental and physical wounds to be healed, but even if the church is hurt, it is not broken.
About 80 people attended the Sunday, March 24, service held at the St. Thomas church a couple of miles away from the PIC. Windows at the church are broken, and the inside has not been cleaned up. Survivors cannot use their church for the time being, but they will move back as soon as possible. The grenade attack killed five (including an American mother and her daughter) and injured about 40 people. The attacker may have died in the assault.
Church member Ian McClelland, who works for the British nongovernmental organization Tearfund, is volunteering for the church as much as he can. Yesterday he was an usher.
"If anything came out of last Sunday's service, it is that God is faithful and his purpose is complete. He is still leading, even if I cannot explain why people have died, but they have gone to be with Christ," McClelland says. He is convinced that the church will grow stronger through the hardship.
As the service began, church members quietly sang hymns accompanied by a pianist. Some members were unable to attend because of their severe injuries. Others arrived with clearly visible signs of their wounds from the attacks. One man had burn injuries on his face. A woman had many bandages on her arm, and another arrived on crutches. While not all of the church members have physical injuries, all those who spoke to Christianity Today said their emotional traumas also are difficult to bear.
Some people at the service came from far away to mourn the ...1
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