– by Barnabas Fund
“Whenever I remember Psalm 146:9, ‘The Lord watches over the sojourners, he upholds the widow and the fatherless… ‘ I feel comfort from our Lord Jesus Christ and I strongly believe that He will help me and provide for me and also take care of my children.”
Christians in Pakistan face daily discrimination and sometimes violence from the country’s Muslim majority. For Christian widows, the situation is doubly difficult as, left without the protection of a husband, they are particularly vulnerable to abuse and exploitation.
Like thousands of other widows in Pakistan, Naila struggles with little or no income to meet even the most basic needs of her children. She supports her son, daughter, and also her widowed mother, whom she lives with. She works as a maid in a private house, a low-paid and dangerous job in Pakistan where Naila would be vulnerable to mistreatment, exploitation, and sexual abuse. She earns just 13R a day – not enough to pay her children’s school fees or for electricity, which has already been cut off twice.
Such is Naila’s misery and shame that she has tried to hang herself four times, but she is now determined to live for the sake of her children. “It is very difficult to meet all the expenses of my family by myself,” she says. “My Lord gives me strength to take care of my family.”
Barnabas Fund is helping Naila and other widows facing the same daily struggle. We are supporting a locally-run church project providing crucial help to 300 destitute widows.
Barnabas is helping
The widows receive monthly food parcels from Barnabas Fund, costing just 350R. We are also planning to meet other needs as they arise, such as health care if there is sickness in the family or rent if they cannot pay it. The project will also help widows recover their possessions if seized by their landlord in lieu of unpaid rent; these would be basic items like quilts, clothes, chairs, and fans that the family need for daily living.
Naila told Barnabas, “In our society no one helps poor people, especially young widows. Rather they pass abusive comments.”
The project teaches widows about Christianity and gives them a sound understanding of the Bible. It also gives practical advice on home economics, hygiene, and health care to enable them to run their homes well and give their children a good start in life.
Mother-of-six, Balqees is another widow thankful for Barnabas’ help. She used to work as a hospital cleaner, but one day a male nurse asked her to sleep with him. When she refused, he banned her from the maternity ward where cleaners would often be given tips by the patients. This had a serious impact on Balqees’ already meagre income.
Giving all she has
One day, Balqees had just 3R. She put 1R in the church offering, leaving herself with only 2R to survive on. “On that day a man of the Lord was distributing money to all cleaning staff. He gave me money and I bought flour for bread. That day I was very thankful to my Lord for providing money since I was left with no food,” recalls Balqees.
“We do not even have enough money to live, but we have a strong belief in our Lord Jesus Christ that He will provide for us.” – Naila, a Pakistani Christian widow
The Bible also brings great comfort to Mona, who was left to bring up her two infant children alone when her husband died six years ago. She is training as a beautician, a safe and respected profession for women in Pakistan, because she wants to provide a better life for her daughter Saira, now six, and son Dawood, five. But Mona does not get paid because she has no qualifications yet. She hasn’t been able to pay her rent for two months and has health problems, but she draws comfort from her faith and Scripture, especially the Psalms.
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Article source: JOY! Magazine