Message of Hope in the Time of Trouble
By Lubna Thomas Benjamin
Hubert H. Humphrey Fellow2011-12, Journalist
Sent: Mon 12/2/2013 1:38 PM
Amidst the trials and un-ending problems for the Christians living in Pakistan, certainly no words or actions can pacify or comfort those living there. Under constant threats and the fear of something might happen which will shatter their lives in the form of persecution, attack or blasphemy law, God’s hand is more powerful to strengthen the Christians of Pakistan in their faith.
Soon after twin suicide attacks inside the church of Peshawar, I relentlessly started to search how the Christians living in Pakistan can ever have even a modicum of hope. What they need to do among themselves to uplift and encourage others to keep up with the faith. A committed and dedicated spirit is needed to drive such motives to give the message of hope and peace. No one other but someone from them can only deliver that message.
I got success in my search after I found this young group of Christian worshippers who carry the message of peace, hope and love in their music. With the name of the Hallelujah Band, this musical group consisting of six-team members is not only blessed with the talent but also the power of faith and love for Jesus Christ.
“Hallelujah is not the name of our musical band rather the slogan that we carry and it’s the word that everyone can say and affiliate their faith with,” said Waqar Peter Gill, the band’s spokesman and guitarist.
“A voice is a human gift; it should be cherished and used, to utter fully human speech as possible. Powerlessness and silence go together.” Margaret Atwood.
The motivation behind the formation of this band is to give the message to the world and the Muslims, majority population of Pakistan about the love and forgiveness that the Christians carry having the name of Jesus Christ.
“We don’t have hope from the majority living here as they don’t have the name of Jesus, it’s we who have this name and we spread this to the Christians who are living in fear”, Waqar told.
Gifted with the talent to sing in more than one language, this band magnificently mixes Urdu, Pakistan’s national language with English to make it easy for the international listeners to understand. Their song “Mera Masih (My Jesus) is the vivid manifestation of this:
Mera Masih - Power Ballad - Urdu, Hindi, and English from Hallelujah The Band Pakistan on Vimeo.
Hallelujah The Band Performing "MERA MASIH" at Jesus Christ Television's Satellite Launching Ceremony @JCTV Lahore...
Vocals: Zahid Nazir & Zeeshan Rafiq
Keyboards : Anthony Soshil Shah (Moon)
Guitars : Adnan Peter Gill (Nono)
Guitars : Waqar Peter Gill (Bittoo)
Bass Guitar : Sunil Inayat (Sunny)
"HALLELUJAH" The Band Pakistan "Is A Project Of Alfa Productions ™ a non profit interdenominational ministry that has been commissioned to spread the Gospel through media productions.
Not only this, but this group’s one song “Rahber” (Guide) has become the first Christian video that has been played on different music channels of the country and was entitled as “the true message of peace”.
It’s only in recent years that there is a trend of Christian band singing like professional singers. Before that, mostly the Muslim singers would sing and made albums for psalms and singing Christian songs. As I talked to Waqar, I came to know that other purpose of forming this band is to show that the Christians have the talent to bring their own music and worship Jesus in true spirit. I could feel the passion and pain Waqar had for the Christian youth of Pakistan as I talked to him on Skype. “We need to inspire our youth towards the worship and to channelize their potential and services towards the productive work.”
As this band is a project of Alpha Productions run solely by the Christians, Waqar shared his experience of having the young Christians as interns and then after they learn the production, they can go out to explore the market and start jobs.
Being the media person myself and having worked in the Pakistani media for seven years and the leading news channel, I know the troubles that a new person has to face especially when you have to work in a leading news channel.
Hallelujah band’s story of bringing change in the lives of the Christians of Pakistan doesn’t end here but they are also running the Blood donation network, the need of which they felt after the Peshawar blasts in church. They are committed to help all the people irrespective of race, color and religion through this blood bank.
I know one fact very clearly that whenever you are in minority you either get strengthened in your faith or you give up with this in the presence of threats or persecution. For the Christians of Pakistan and being one of them, I know that they would never give up with their faith no matter how much problems and suffering they have to face. The more problems we have, the more we have voices like the Hallelujah Band to strengthen and uplift the faith of the people. As it’s just the voice that we all have.
Lubna Thomas Benjamin
Hubert H. Humphrey Fellow (2011-12)