Pakistan (MNN) ― In response to a major catastrophe like the Haiti earthquake, most government aid is sent down immediately, but it ceases within a few months. Many relief agencies provide necessities right away which allow survivors of natural disasters to continue surviving, but they are left unable to sustain themselves.
Sustainability takes far more than a few months, and full restoration from such a blow indeed takes decades. The most recent concern in this area is for Haiti, but victims of a quake five years ago are still suffering. The 2005 earthquake that hit India and Pakistan has long been forgotten by many agencies, although at least one ministry has stuck it out for the long haul.
The Evangelical Alliance Mission (TEAM) already had a presence in Pakistan before the 2005 quake struck. After the disaster, though, TEAM increased their efforts in Pakistan by providing immediate relief. TEAM never considered the job finished and remains in Pakistan today, helping survivors to get back on their feet.
"We are trying to change from relief and aid to long-term, sustainable development types of projects," says TEAM's David Davis. "So we've done some agricultural advising in a number of villages. We're doing teacher training, health training, and water projects to try to meet the real needs of people."
TEAM's constant presence has helped them to build relationships with the mostly -Muslim population, allowing for opportunities to share the Gospel.
"The more we know them and help them with some of their felt needs, the more opportunity we have to share our faith with them," says Davis.
Although persecution is often high in Pakistan, Davis says, "generally speaking, people are very open to talking about faith issues." The Muslim population there recognizes the common ancestry of Christianity and Islam and is especially open to discussing common roots to various figures of the Bible, such as Abraham or David.
Pray that as TEAM continues their work in Pakistan, people would see their faithfulness and love. Pray that God would use this ministry to draw many to Himself as the people of Pakistan continue to rebuild their nation.