Pak-Christian asylum seekers in Bangkok celebrate Christ birth in secret for fear of arrest

British Pakistani Christian Association helped a small group of brave Pakistani Christian asylum seekers to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ
at a clandestine church service within their condominium tower roof space.

Though fearful that their gathering might trigger a police and immigration raid, Christian revellers held a celebration from 4 – 7pm on Christmas eve,
filled with carols and worship songs. Throughout the night corporate and private prayers plus a series of bible teachings, helped build a relationship
with God along with a sense of hope. Moreover, it maintained the strong camaraderie and fellowship that bolstered this beleaguered community.

A hearty meal was shared with all those that attended and later any food remaining was shared with other community members who could not make it to
the service. This included biryani rice with chicken a customary speciality dish served by Christians in Pakistan at Christmas, chicken curry,
keer (rice pudding) and a variety of drinks.

Bought produce was cooked by our volunteer team.

To help families who have blackmarket jobs under conditions of severe exploitation, we also provided food packages, including: chapati flour, oil,
sugar, milk, tea, dal (pulses) and noodles. During the Christmas period work often dries up and with the pittance they earn regular, living expenses
become even more difficult to manage.

Food parcels will support desperate families during a lean period.

While the adults held the church service, children were asked to complete the important task of colouring in images and the making of Christmas cards
to be delivered to detainees spending Christmas in the brutal Immigration Detention Centre of Bangkok. A visit will be made on 27th December during
which our officers will pray and provide biryani and lamb curry to all the Pak-Christian asylum seekers bringing some merriment to their celebrations.

Children were eager to create works of art to inspire the beleaguered members of the community detained in the IDC. 

As a reward children were treated with gifts of backpacks and T-shirts. Few have the opportunity to wear new clothes.

Many of those who were due to attend decided to stay away for fear of arrest after a recent immigration raid that led to the arrest of 28 people (click here)

hearings for those arrested will take place within four days of arrest. In the last raid arrests followed the day after and BACA rushed to help as
many as we could with your donations. We paid the court fines for all of those arrested along with our partner organisations. None of those arrested
suffered the ignominy of a period of incarceration in the brutal Central Jail in Bangkok, where they would have shared cells with murders and rapists. 

Not one food parcel or any cooked food was wasted.  Those who chose not to come or could not make it were visited at home and received prayer and their gift.

It is devastating for the community that children are still in IDCs. BACA continues to lobby for their release along with their mothers and for the
relaxing of the current Royal Thai immigration laws that only allow bail for those registered with the UNHCR or on an asylum sponsorship program. In
December 2016 we had submitted a copy of our 897 page report on Pak-Christian persecution (click here) to
the Royal Thai Interior Ministry and one to their foreign office, during a period when their officials were communicating directly with us 
(click here)

Just before the event we also provided the monthly living allowance for the two mothers we support, who are currently living without their support
of husbands who are also detained in Bangkok IDC.

Humaira still smiling despite her predicament.

Our work in Thailand would not continue without your necessary donations and we are grateful for those of you who generously enable us to complete this work.  If you have been moved to support the work of the British Asian Christian Association in Thailand, please (click here).

hundreds of images taken of our work but we only share a few more below:

Children showed of their T-shirts and bags