For several weeks now members of the Reach the Nations (RTN) team in Pakistan and members of the RTN team in the U. S. have been studying the Bible together. Thankfully, this study is enabled by an online platform that many businesses and ministries have turned to during this time of restricted travel and cautions about in-person meetings.
Not to be hindered in RTN’s goal to train leaders in Pakistan even with many restrictions in place, Gary Finkbeiner, RTN founder, has been leading the virtual study on the book of Romans.
Participants include Mehboob, Irfan, and Adnan in the Sialkot area, Shakeel in Hyderabad, Warren in Colorado, and Peter in Chicago. Other team members will join as they are able.
Gary comments on the significance of this online study, “One of the positive things that emerged from the COVID-19 virus was that it made way for us to challenge ourselves to get a media and online dimension to RTN up and running. This has produced an important development."...
Mehboob reports that COVID-19 continues to decline in Punjab and they are feeling free to visit villages on a regular rotation as they had done in past, less-worrisome days.
He and Adnan visited eight villages in August. They prepare several sermons and preach them as they go, sometimes repeating sermons in different villages. Always, though, they point their listeners to the teaching of the Bible and to our dependence on God for salvation and for daily living.
This month's topics included overcoming fear, having faith, defending the faith, prayer, and planning life in relationship to God.
Mehboob asks for prayer for himself and Adnan as well as their families as they continue this ministry of evangelism and discipleship.
"For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." - Hebrews 4:12
Seasonal monsoons have caused severe flooding in Sindh province where Shakeel and Rustam live and work. Overtaxed water/sewer systems have caused tremendous problems in Karachi and Hyderabad. The villages fare no better.
Please pray for the people of Pakistan as our teams serve both physical and spiritual needs of those who are affected.
Pacca Chang was a village in Sindh that Rustam and Shakeel had never visited before. The people who came to hear the message are Hindu for the most part and were curious about what these men would have to say. So, Shakeel began at the beginning with Adam and Eve and their fall into sin. Then he fast-forwarded to Jesus who came to earth to die and rise again to atone for the sin of mankind and to offer eternal life to all who believed in him.
Rustam and Shakeel also preached in Kumb, Korki and Mirwa this past month and ministered to various needs.
The great news is that they are continuing to see people accepting the invitation of Jesus Christ to follow him. In In July they had five baptisms of new believers. In August, there were eight more.
Six men and two women, who have placed their faith in Christ, made that decision public this month by being baptized. Many seeds of truth have been planted in these villages over months of time and the fruit of those seeds is beginning to show.
In recent visits to the villages of Korki and Kumb, as Shakeel preached and taught, he sensed the Spirit of God moving in the hearts of several who heard the word. As he returned to Hyderabad, he asked Rustam, who lives in the area, to make some follow-up visits to these people.
We are praising God that, after further conversations with Rustam, five from these two villages prayed with Rustam, giving their lives to Jesus Christ, committing to following him as Lord. This past weekend, when Shakeel returned to minister in these villages, he and Rustam had the privilege of baptizing these five individuals as a public testimony of their new faith in Christ.
Please pray for these new believers as they are from Hindu backgrounds and public profession of Christian commitment can open them to criticism and/or antagonism from those still following the family faith. We pray they will have confidence in Christ, hunger for the Word of God, and courage if conflict comes.
Since April we have been engaged in emergency food distribution in Pakistan. Jobs are reopening and people are going back to work, so for now, we are concluding this aid. We are providing this summary report for those of you who have been following the story and who have contributed financially or supported the work in prayer. So much depended on you and we thank you, the recipients of food thank you, and our Pakistani teams thank you for your help. The report follows:
Late in March of 2020, the Pakistan government mandated a lockdown/quarantine in most of the country due to COVID-19. This resulted in many jobs being lost, especially for day laborers who were paid at the end of each day they worked. After a few weeks, many people in villages served by the Reach the Nations (RTN) team were desperate for food as they had no resources with which to purchase what was available in local markets. The issue was compounded by the fact that some organizations were distributing food, but only to...
The virus spread has slowed enough in the Province of Sindh that Shakeel and Rustam have been able to hold meetings for preaching, teaching, and ministering to the people there.
Shakeel says, "The world is under lockdown for COVID-19, but The Word of God is still open for preaching and teaching, and God is using his servants for the Kingdom of God." So they go. He also commented that, in addition to the virus, swarms of locusts have destroyed many crops in Pakistan, particiularly affecting the Khairpur area where he and Rustam minister. There is much to pray about as we think of the people of Pakistan.
Rustam and Shakeel visited four areas around Khairpur as well as Mirpurkhas and Shah G Machine in June.
Shakeel comments that worshiping idols is common in the Hindu communities they visit so they are helping them understand, with clear teaching from the Bible, how these idols displease God.
He also is teaching that only God, through Jesus and his death o...
This Pakistani man from Hyderabad was managing his resources well before brain cancer struck. For several months now, he has been off work, receiving treatments, and the medical bills are mounting. Then a few months ago, businesses were shut down because of COVID-19 and his children, who were working as day-laborers, lost their jobs.
Shakeel heard about the problems this family was experiencing and the despair they felt so he included them in a food delivery last week. They still have big problems, but for the next month food isn't one of them. The family will be able to eat while they wait for jobs to open up again for the children.
Shakeel has asked us to pray for this man, for his cancer treatment, and for the financial needs they face. Thanks for joining us in asking God to make a way for them to support themselves.
"Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ." - Galatians 6:6
The appreciation for the food packages that Reach the Nations has delivered to 163 families in the past month (and more than 100 the month before) is expressed over and over again by those who have accepted a gift they'd never dreamed they would be offered: food to feed their families for a month.
One man served by Manzoor's team, lives in Rawalpindi, a huge city adjoining Islamabad. He works in the local school canteen, but with school closures due to COVID-19, he has been out of work for several weeks. His food supplies ran out and he and his family were able to eat only because a neighbor was willing to lend them some rice. He recognized the gift of food from Reach the Nations as a gift from the hand of God. And, now, he and his wife pray for the ministry of RTN, including the Islamabad team of Manzoor, Rashid, and other volunteers.
Now that schools have opened again, our Rawalpindi friend is able to go back to work. Others, though, have more long-term problems includin...