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One year after quake, compassion speaks in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (BP)–Volunteers as old as 78 and as young as 17 ministered in Pakistan after the devastating October 2005 earthquake, and God has used each one to His glory, Southern Baptist representatives report from the region.

Believers can continue to offer their support through ongoing prayers, the workers added.

“It’s just a lot of good will that the volunteers have brought, and because of that, people are listening to hope for the first time,” Southern Baptist representative Isaiah Gabdon* said.

When a landslide prevented two volunteers from reaching their planned destination, they ended up in the home of a Muslim man they had met, Gabdon said. The man allowed them to show his family the “JESUS” film.

“The family was just enraptured,” Gabdon said. They asked the Muslim-background believer who was traveling with the volunteers so many questions, and he explained things. His family stayed up until 2 a.m. processing that. The guy was just moved by their compassion and concern.”

Volunteer Bennett Landreth* of South Carolina said the earthquake survivors he met during his trip to Pakistan were “incredibly friendly and open to hear our stories about faith and spiritual things.”

“They responded especially to the story of the Good Samaritan,” he said. “We were the stranger who was able to help in their time of need because of Isa’s [Jesus’] teachings of loving our neighbors. The people of Pakistan are our neighbors. It is our given responsibility to respond to their need. We must do all we can to meet their physical and spiritual needs while the door is open.”

Believers who have ministered among earthquake survivors say they hope the door will stay open. They ask Southern Baptists to pray:

— “Pray that people would not get back to normal hardened hearts, that the softening of hearts there last year would stay and that God would continue to reveal Himself in whatever way He chooses,” said Southern Baptist representative Doris Austen*.

— Pray also for the discipleship of new Christian believers and for follow-up among the many people who only recently have heard about Jesus for the first time, said Southern Baptist representative Worth Ballinger*.

— Continue to lift up the physical needs of earthquake survivors in Pakistan and India. “Pray especially for the family members who stay up in the high altitudes to watch over property, that they will survive the winter,” said Thad Crisler*, the disaster relief coordinator for the IMB’s South Asia region.

— Pray for all those who are still without permanent homes, businesses and school buildings.

— Many of the schools are still in tents, Southern Baptist representative Kelvin Peart* said in requesting prayer. “That can be years before the government can rebuild all of those.”

— Finally, Southern Baptist representatives ask Christians to give thanks for all God has done and to pray that the relationships that have begun will lead earthquake survivors to enter into personal, eternal relationships with Him.
*Names changed for security reasons. To learn more about ongoing work in South Asia, and to find up-to-date prayer requests, visit go2southasia.org. Also: “mPak Pakistan” invites churches to adopt specific districts in Pakistan to share the love of God with Pakistanis, through various levels of involvement, even without ever traveling to the country. Churches interested in knowing more about how to get involved should e-mail ImpactP[email protected]

    About the Author

  • Goldie Frances*