“Thanks be to God who, wherever he goes, makes us, in Christ, partners of his triumph, and through us is spreading the knowledge of himself like a sweet smell everywhere.” (2Cor. 2:14)
a bath, sat into it and baptized herself. She was quite aware that this was completely unorthodox, but, she felt God’s presence guiding her. The next day she mentioned nothing to her friends, but when they baptized her by simply sprinkling her with water, she felt very happy about what she had done herself. Once her extended family and her Muslim friends learned that Bilquis had become Christian, there was a period, first of all, of silence and isolation, then anger, and gradually, later on, acceptance. In the local community, threats began to be made, and there was fear her life and that of her little grandson might be in danger. An attempt to burn her house confirmed that the fear was well founded. Added to this there was also political upheaval in the country, and the rulers of that time were of an opposing party to the one to which Bilquis belonged. 6
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Soon, it became clear that she would have to leave Wah and possibly her country. She felt deeply the sacrifice this would entail but as usual,she let herself be guided by her sense of God’s presence. To give up her house, her garden, her wealth, her comforts, the proximity of her family and even her country, would be beyond her own capacity, but guided by God, she felt enough courage to take the step. Thus with the help of her prayers, her dreams, and the advice of family and friends, in 1973 she set out for the United States of America with her grandson. Since becoming a Christian in 1967, she had been invited to participate in various Christian assemblies and to tell about her journey with God her Father. In these meetings she had become friends with people who encouraged her to let her story reach a wider audience, but she didn’t feel ready at that time. Now, six years later, after all that had happened to her, she was prepared to do whatever would keep her in God’s Presence. As a result, she came to address many congregations and assemblies, and, in 1973, she published her autobiography, titled I Dared to Call Him Father. Bilquis lived in the United States until 1987. Then she suffered a severe heart attack and was persuaded by her immediate family
to return to Pakistan. She lived at first with her grandson Mahmud, who had also returned, and then she moved in with her daughter Tooni in Rawalpindi, in whose arms she died peacefully on April 9, 1997. She now rests in a Christian graveyard in Murree, a hill station in the beautiful foothills of the Himalayas. Her tombstone bears the simple inscription: Bilquis Born 12-12-12 Died loving the Lord 9-4-97. It is through what Bilquis wrote that I came to know and admire her so much. Her sensitivity to the presence of God in her life, her openness to God’s word in the Bible, her courage to follow where she felt God was leading her, and her willingness to put her relationship with God her Father before all else have been an enduring source of inspiration and strength for me. In my estimation, she truly made her own the mind of Christ Jesus (See Phil.2:5-11), and now, I’m sure, enjoys the fullness of life and joy with Him forever. CM Columban Fr. Joe Joyce lives and works in Pakistan.
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