By Sam Gill—Guest Editorial
I grew up in the city of Lahore, Pakistan, that has more than 10 million people. Among those are more than 100,000 Christian women who do not have any skills or education. Women of all ages work for Muslim people. They have no choice but to clean their toilets, houses, streets, and cattle stables. They collect garbage from door to door and carry it on their heads. Their low-status jobs make them vulnerable to be abused, harassed, discriminated, abducted, and tortured in the custody of Muslim landlords. Sadly, if they are attractive enough to a Muslim man, they can even be forced to marry him.
Instead of just lamenting on the plight of our Christian sisters, our missions organization decided to start a Sewing Center in order to help them to be skilled. While we were praying and looking for someone who could help us start this Sewing Center, we happened to meet a missionary couple, Floyd and Gayle Dowell, at the International Conference on Missions in 2013. They told us that they would be more than happy to contribute to the Sewing Center project to uplift Christian women in Pakistan. What a great answer from God to be at ICOM!
We launched our Sewing Center, in March of this year with 8 women. After three months, we were up to 25 women who are learning sewing skills there. Even more are interested to come.
We are hoping for the best that this Sewing Center will not be the first and last drop, but a shower of rain. We do believe that, through this Sewing Center, many women will gain stronger self-esteem and be a vital part of this community.
Two Muslim women, who have also joined the Christians at the Sewing Center, have incredible testimonies to share. One said, “We are encouraging other Muslim women to join this Sewing Center, because we heard that this Christian institute treats poor women more respectfully than our own Muslim institutes.”
The other one said, “It is a great blessing for this colony to have this Sewing Center. Every parent wants their daughter to be skilled before they get married. We are praying for this institute and for the people who supported, financially and morally, to get it to happen.”
We also met other missionaries and individuals at ICOM who showed keen interest in our Pakistan mission. One of them has lately visited Pakistan and encouraged local Christians by his preaching and teaching. Indeed, ICOM is a great place to promote ministries, where people meet other people who have a heart for missions.
When people visit booths, they see what local and international missionaries are doing for the kingdom of God. Missionaries also get opportunities to share about their missions to the attendees. Missionaries can seek great, insightful advice from other missionaries and share their questions, experiences, and ministries.
This sharing and receiving encouragement help missionaries do God’s work with great enthusiasm. Being a part of ICOM, missionaries can see that they are not alone in missions and that they have tremendous support of believers.
Sam Gill is founder and director of New Hope Christian Ministries of Pakistan.
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