Here's an update from Shakeel about villages he and Rustam have visited recently and about an interesting problem they encountered.
In Bhagodharo, Shakeel preached about the love of God, the blessings he gives, and his mercy on mankind. He also shared why we should worship God. There were both Christian believers and Hindu people in the audience and they all listened as Shakeel shared with them the message of salvation and forgiveness of sins through Jesus.
Having heard that in the village of Karokhay homes had been demolished by the government, Shakeel felt that the Holy Spirit was calling him to visit the people in need there. He held a worship service with them and, in his teaching, tried to show them that their hope is in Christ.
Chundko (no picture available)
In the village of Chundko, located in the region of Khaipur, Shakeel and Rustam faced a challenge. They heard that some pastors had come from Lahore and paid 1000 Pakistani rupees (about $6.50 US) to each person who would allow themselves to be baptized and photographed. Then they proceeded to "baptize" 23 people, some of whom had already been baptized.
Although Chundko is not in the area normally visited by the RTN team, Shakeel felt it was important to go to teach them the truth of the meaning of baptism and that once they are baptized with an understanding of that meaning, they do not have to be baptized again. He is preaching a similar message in other outreach areas to protect people from the false teaching of those who are using them and their photographs deceitfully to raise money from trusting supporters.
Please keep praying for the Reach the Nations teams as they face these kinds of situations. Our goal is to teach truth and to correct teaching that contradicts clear biblical instruction.
". . .contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints." - Jude 1:3b
Shakeel reports that the ministry area in Sindh Province is experiencing a third wave of the Coronavirus as much of Pakistan is, but he says, "By the grace of God . . .He is faithful and has given His favor to do His work."
It is harvest time in Pakistan when many of the people in the Hindu villages Shakeel and Rustam visit are living temporarily away from home so they can be near the fields for the harvest work available to them. The men were able to visit several areas, though, where there were people eager to hear the Word of God.
There are two men who are believers in Theri and, Shakeel says, "For many months they were asking us to come and visit and start preaching The Word of God in their community." So in March he and Rustam visited for the first time and met with men in the village. They worshiped and prayed together and then agreed that when Shakeel and Rustam return for another visit, the women will be invited, too. Shakeel believes that, although there are only two believers now in this village, over time many more will come to know Jesus as Savior and Lord.
From Shakeel: "I want to request that all the Pakistan team and others pray for this area so we can preach the Gospel and people come to Christ to be saved."
Mirwa has heard the truth of the Gospel for some time now and they listen, they are hospitable, and they ask the men to pray for them. Shakeel challenged them to realize that just listening and asking for prayer is not enough. They need to make a decision for themselves to follow Jesus Christ as their Savior. We are praying that, over time, many will respond to that challenge.
In Korki, Shakeel preached from Hebrews 10, which includes this text (Jesus speaking),
“Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased. Then I said, ‘Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll— I have come to do your will, my God.’
Shakeel commented that the people had trouble thinking that God would not be happy with their sacrifices and offerings. But he preached the text with boldness explaining that Jesus is the only sacrifice that is acceptable to God. We have to trust him for our salvation, not what we do for ourselves.
In Kumb, at the Reach the Nations church building, Shakeel used a question and answer technique, asking a series of questions of the congregation and inviting their response. He said it was a time of blessing for all. The meeting closed with a communion service based on teaching Shakeel gave from 1 Corinthian 11:23-26.
"If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully." - Romans 12:6b-8
Water is one of the basic human needs. We can survive only a short time without it. Rustam, a Reach the Nations minister, working in the Hindu villages of Sindh Province, has observed the difficulties many have in obtaining drinkable water.
Over the past couple of months, Rustam obtained water pumps from a charitable organization working in areas around Khairpur and installed them in three villages. Here is a picture of the one in Korki (Rustam is the man in blue):
Having an available supply of pure water helps with both cleanliness and health. The people are grateful for this boost to their quality of life.
We also have been able to supply mosquito nets for more secure rest and safety from disease during this season and a battery for use in the RTN building in Khairpur.
The RTN team goes out to these areas to preach the Gospel and to encourage a walk as disciples of Jesus, but when they find other needs, they try to find ways to meet them. We are thankful for Rustam and Shakeel as they minister to both spiritual and physical needs of the people in these villages.
"Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me."- Matthew 25:40b