A Life-Changing Skill
Let's follow along as Pastor Peter from Reach the Nations makes a visit to the literacy class underway at a church in Islamabad.
Peter, accompanied by Rashid, RTN's colleague in Islamabad, passed through the streets of the city to this area. The church where the class meets is just around the corner.
Pastor Babar meets the two men at the front door, welcoming them to the church.
The class is already in session. This group is RTN's first step into teaching reading, writing, and basic math to Pakistani adults who have had no opportunity to learn. These 17 women began their studies in December and none has dropped out. They all are eager to learn and proud of what they have accomplished already.
Peter and Rashid are welcomed by the women. One woman after another came to Peter to show him, with pride and excitement, their notebooks in their own handwriting. Peter says, "These students need to be congratulated for how far they have come in their learning and for their persistent efforts."
Lives are changing for these women, both young and old, as they study three evenings a week, sometimes with babies or young children in tow. In their community lives, most of them speak Punjabi, a language with very few printed materials. Now they are studying in Urdu, the national language of Pakistan, and they will be able to have access to a wide range of reading materials.
But, for most of them, their passionate desire is to be able to read the Bible. Two women said their husbands could read and they want to be able to read the Bible together with them.
Peter reports that several women gave testimonies sharing the excitement they feel at being able to learn these basic skills. One older woman said, "I am so happy that, for the first time in my life, I can write my name!"
Another said, "My children read and write. I want to do that, too."
Then Peter was invited to speak. The women listened intently as this pastor from the U.S. told them his own story of illiteracy and, finally, learning to read as an adult. He, too wanted to be able to read the Bible, and says, "It was my redemption in the Lord that gave me the opportunity to read and write."
When he concluded his message to them, the students broke out in applause. They were astounded at his story and felt encouraged to persist in their studies.
Please pray for Zarish, a warm and amazing teacher. And pray for these women that they will not get discouraged, that they will continue on the path to greater understanding. We are praising God for what he is doing in their lives.
" . . . if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. - 1 Corinthians 12:26