Hope comes in Pakistan amid post-quake frustration

By October 15, 2007

Pakistan (MNN) — Two years after a major quake rocked the northeast region of
and left 3 million people homeless, less than 25% of survivors have permanent
housing. Irritated by the lack of money supplied by the government, the people
have started rebuilding on their own. While shabby and poorly-constructed
"houses" are formed out of rock, some people still live in tents or metal

Because the area lies on an earthquake fault,
earthquake-resilient housing is crucial.

The houses of stone are not approved by the government, and
some types of construction have been banned. The government also has withheld payments
to some families because they couldn't show that the money was being put
towards reconstruction.

"The people are frustrated
as they wait for assistance from the government to rebuild their homes," reports Southern
representative Ellie Arnold. "They are determined to rebuild
what they have and move forward."

The Pakistani government handed out between $400 and $3,000
to survivors for reconstruction.

"Most of them received the
first payment, the 25,000 rupees [about $420], and that was all," said a
Christian worker in Pakistan,
Mercedes Teofila. "Very few of them have received all [three

Worth Ballinger, a Southern Baptist representative, noted
that reconstruction of school buildings has also been delayed, with less than
10% meeting in formal buildings. The majority of schools are meeting in damaged

"Two weeks ago, a school
had an incident where 20 students were seriously injured from a tent that fell
on their heads," Arnold*

Sufficient shelter is needed, and fast. The past two winters
Christians have prayed for mild weather and lighter snow for those living in
temporary refuge. They have seen answers to their petitions. This year, excessive
rain has already brought flooding to the area.

"I think the winter is
going to be very hard because it's getting cold already," Teofila said.
"Last winter wasn't that bad. They had snow but very little. The
people who have these little shelters will be in trouble this

In the midst of all the
frustration and slow efforts to rebuild, there is hope. Southern Baptist Ministries provided for a wide range of needs by supplying food, quilts, and
medicines for earthquake victims. Health education programs were also provided,
and reading, writing, and vocational skills were taught to women.

Although the Southern Baptist
earthquake relief officially ended in July 2006, their ministries are being
carried on by native Pakistani Christians. Trained by the Southern Baptists,
the nationals will continue to carry out relief and development efforts.

"Two nationals in different
villages have come to Christ and have learned that it is their duty to share
with their families and friends," Southern Baptist representative Yvonne
Outland said. "Please pray for these two nationals as they share with
their villages."

Many Pakistanis are hearing the truth of the Gospel for the
first time and are very open to the stories of the Bible. Pakistanis are ready
to hear the Word of God, as recounted by Southern Baptist workers.

"We have endless
opportunities to share: in the bazaar, the park and the local hospital,"
Outland said. "The only limit is the amount of Christians we have here to
share with others."

Much prayer is needed for the Pakistani Christians who
continue to carry on the work of relief efforts as well as sharing the Gospel. "Pray that more national
believers, who are the minority in Pakistan, would rise up for Christ
and reach out to their lost neighbors," said Outland.


Leave a Reply