A Message from National Director Mr Bernard Toutounji

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Dear friends,

Greetings to you in Holy Week. Thank you to many of you who have (and still are) supporting our Easter catalogue that came out with Mirror 2. The sale of religious and devotional items is something that ACN Australia has been doing for decades and I am so grateful at the response to the current catalogue; this avenue is another way we are able to raise funds for those who share the same faith but have vastly different challenges in practicing it.

In Pakistan Asia Bibi is finally free after being acquitted of blasphemy – we are overjoyed that justice has been done. Thanks for all your prayers and solidarity. At the time of writing, Asia is still under protective custody and we pray that she can start a new life with her family in a safe environment very soon. Sadly, Asia Bibi has suffered enormously for her faith in Christ. She has endured nearly 10 painful years in solitary confinement following a false accusation of blasphemy. Aid to the Church in Need – with your help – supported her and her family who were forced to live in hiding during her imprisonment. We appealed on the family’s behalf, both in the media and with government ministers. We did all we could to ensure a favourable outcome for her case. 

Now that the spotlight is firmly on Pakistan’s notorious blasphemy laws – we cannot turn our backs on those who are currently enduring the same anguish as Asia. This is the time to lend them our support and speak up for the voiceless. Father Mani Yousaf, Director of the National Commission for Justice and Peace in Pakistan (NCJP), which helps persecuted Christians told us: “The decision of the Supreme Court means that the lower courts should have the courage now to think twice about handing down the death sentence...”
There are 25 live cases of blasphemy against Christians in the country, who desperately need our help. An accusation of blasphemy is so damaging that the whole family of the accused is suddenly plunged into a life of misery and they risk being lynched. Will you help them by offering a Lenten Gift of Faith?

In the report ‘Breaking the chains of suffering’, you will read about how ACN is working with Church partners such as Father Mani to provide vital assistance to victims of blasphemy. This includes legal aid, jail visits, devotional items and practical help such as food, medicine, schooling and safe houses for their family. Expressing his heartfelt gratitude to you, the benefactors of ACN, Father Mani said: “Many thanks to those of you who support us with your prayers and gifts…”
Once again, thank you so much for all you do for those who walk their Way of the Cross. Please join us in prayer for them this Lent.

Yours in Christ,

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Bernard Toutounji
National Director ACN Australia

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