The POWER of The Gospel: Releasing Captives and Ministering to Flood Victims In Pakistan
MORE THAN A JOB, IT'S A COMMISSION.
Following the lead of Bishop Alan, our ministers in Pakistan are fulfilling the Great Commission. They never take a break from the work God has called them to and are actively seeking those who will open their hearts and lives to the call of Christ.
|For more than 15 years, we have been working with our churches in Pakistan to bring help to families in need. Many of these families are Christians, and other non-Muslims, who live in brick kiln villages.|
These families usually begin working at the kilns (also called brick factories) in order to pay back loans borrowed from kiln owners. Other workers in these villages are known as “daily wagers” and are migrant workers who travel from kiln to kiln picking up work where they can. To put it simply, brick kiln factories are relied on by millions for their survival. Our pastors work hard to bring food, medical supplies and the Gospel of Christ to these families, with your prayers and financial help, we can reach more than ever.
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The third-largest producer of bricks in South Asia, Pakistan has 20,000 brick kilns. There are 4.5 million employees, most of whom are trapped in debt bondage. There are at least 3.1 million documented workers trapped in debt bondage and nearly a million of them are children under the age of 16. At the brick kilns, they are supposed to be paid 1036 Pakistani Rupees, per 1000 bricks (as set by the Pakistan government), the equivalent of $4.61. If they produce fewer bricks, they get less money.
Work is 12 hours a day, 6 days a week, 365 days a year, doing back-breaking labor in poor working conditions.
During the rainy season, work comes to a halt due to kiln operation being entirely outside. When the kiln areas flood (like they did this year) work is typically shutdown for months. Many families have taken out new loans this year just to survive until the kilns can be repaired and refired.
Borrowing money from kiln owners to help get through hard times is a common practice. Across the nation, loans are often used for emergency medical care, money for a daughter’s wedding or basic food supplies. Christians and non-Muslims frequently have no other option but to seek financial assistance from kiln work because they are refused jobs or loans from traditional lending sources, due to religious discrimination. Some have been forced to enter brick kiln work after being fired from better paying jobs, just for being Christian.
Brick kiln workers that classify as bonded laborers are usually paid after the lender has taken a portion of the wages. Sometimes an entire family may only be paid one lump amount, not counting the individual work of each member. While women and children do not earn the same amount as an unskilled or semi-skilled male laborer, a family of 5 can still produce around 1200 bricks a day, if each person was counted, they should earn around $4.50. When kiln owners lump the family together, they may only get $1.50 a day, the same amount as 1 unskilled male laborer.
|Women at the brick kilns can earn approximately $1 per day which is two-thirds of an unskilled or semi-skilled male laborer's daily wage. Children can earn half, approximately $.75 per day.|
Once the lending cycle begins, many families simply accept that this is their life forever. It is not unusual for a kiln to have multiple families in one area, and on average have around 100 people working, with ages ranging from 5 to 80 years old. Because the loans are tied to the entire household the money is still due even when the borrower dies. Requiring the wife, children, or even grandchildren to be forever trapped as bonded laborers. Because they earn so little, a child inheriting a debt at 6 years of age would be forced to work their entire life to pay back the debt of their parents. Should they marry, their spouse must assume responsibility for the debt also and work alongside them.
|With partners like you, we can reach out with the hope of the Gospel and offer families liberation from a life of bondage.|
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OPEN DOORS LEADING TO RIPE FIELDS.
Our Pastors in Pakistan regularly visit the brick kilns to preach the Gospel, establish churches, and offer assistance. Over the years we have been able to meet many wonderful families and pay the debt to release them from this bondage. Our kiln churches have many members from nearby villages who were previously indebted to the kiln or have family still in bondage. The loans that keep families bound are not large. A family could enter into a lifetime of servitude for as little as $500.
This month we have actively begun searching for new brick kilns in need of a Pastor. Recently, our lead Encounter Pakistan Pastor visited a village, comprised of 17 different families, to share the Word of God and encourage them in their Faith. It is very difficult to travel to each village and some villages reject the Gospel, but a seed is sown. Following the leading of the Holy Ghost in our giving, opens the door for God to move. When family debts are paid off, a door is opened for the Gospel to be ministered and whole villages to be truly set free.
|Pray with us that God would use you, and others like you, to liberate our brothers and sisters from this bondage. We also need your agreement that God gives strength to our Pastors to share His word, and that His word will enlighten the hearts of the villagers who seek Him.|
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MINISTERING TO PHYSICAL NEEDS AND BRINGING SUPERNATURAL HOPE.
|This year Pakistan experienced historical flooding. One third of the country was covered in water, to such an extent that many areas are still under water even now, 4 months later.|
Our team of pastors recognized that there are people outside of our usual villages that were not receiving help. The government and other assistance organizations have not brought help to some areas because they are Christian, Hindu or Marwawi Tribe. Because the flood waters have not receded, water sources are becoming infested with bacteria and carrying diseases.
Driving over 11 hours to reach the Sindh Province, our team worked with a doctor (who provided free medical services) to distribute medical supplies, worship with the believers and hold prayer meetings. At each village they went door to door and listened to the needs of the people, prayed with their families, donated Bibles and encouraged them to stand strong in their faith. They were told by many that no one had shared a message of hope through the Gospel and offered help to the people the way our team did. Prayer groups were organized, and our lead pastor charged one of the local men to visit the groups each week until our team is able to return in December.
|Agree with us in prayer that these believers and their families will walk in health and continue to grow in their faith.|
Thank you for partnering with us to make a difference across the globe!
Donations to Encounter Missions, from brothers and sisters like you, make it possible to send ministers of the Gospel to the hurting and the lost, to provide life-changing aide, and to liberate the captives.