Pakistan (MNN) – Potential for furthering the Gospel may soon be opening up in Pakistan in an unusual way. As the government seeks to eradicate terrorism from its land, it’s looking at merging the nation with surrounding territories.
“[On] Thursday, March 2nd, Pakistan’s federal cabinet approved, in principle, recommendations of the federally administered tribal area reforms committee. It’s known by the acronym FATA. It is not a province of Pakistan, but it is land that is held by Pakistan.,” FMI’s Bruce Allen explains.
“The recommendations, the merger that the cabinet approved included the merger of these tribal areas with the province that already exists. That borders that region called, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.”
Currently, the people living within FATA are not under Pakistan’s laws. However, this merger would change that. Previously, the merger had been on the table for cabinet discussions both last December and January of this year, but it was not discussed. Yet, after the string of terrorist attacks that came in February, Pakistan is pushing harder to make this merger a reality.
The merger would essentially tie Pakistan and FATA together as one nation over the course of five years. Yet, even as soon as 2018, the FATA people could have the right to vote and even elect their own representatives as Pakistan amends its constitution.
“In some ways, it’s very good news for the people living in that area because they’ll finally have access to federal services. Right now there aren’t even police departments in the area. It’s a very impoverished area. Education is not very highly valued. Life is difficult there,” Allen shares.
Why It Matters
However, these facts don’t necessarily mean it will be easy for the merger to take place. Allen expects there will be some degree of resistance. The FATA people are used to their own rules and way of life, not Pakistan’s. The change in law and judicial system may not be well received.
Furthermore, the FATA region is easily a hotbed for terrorism. The living standards are low and the people would rather spend their money on ammunitions than food.
These things combined give Pakistan’s government more reason to want the merge to take place in its efforts to eliminate terrorism from the country.
“Children are taught how to use weapons from a very early age, even before school year age, if they would even go to school,” Allen shares.
Yet, once merged, Pakistan will have the power to police the FATA people and potentially pluck out budding extremists.
However, despite the reasons for why the merger is taking place, it does have the potential to open doors for the Gospel.
“Now our ministry partners, who have previously not been allowed to enter that region, can get in with the Gospel. So we’re looking for good things to happen in the years ahead for the residents there who have never heard about Jesus Christ,” Allen says.
FMI’s ministry partners would be able to come into the area with the Gospel, while also meeting peoples’ needs. For example, by establishing literacy programs. Allen says that’d be a great way for ministry partners to build relationships, help, and share the Gospel.
As you might know, FMI isn’t a sending agency, but instead and empowering agency. The ministry helps support Christian leaders who are already living inside of countries like Pakistan. FMI’s support helps train pastors and church planter’s in God’s word and to equip them for evangelism.
Recently, FMI developed a tool called, Snapshot. The tool allows pastors and church planters to connect with others through establishing relationships and using images to help explain what is going on in each persons’ lives.
Through these relationships, pastors and church planters are able to share the Gospel. One of the great things about this tool, though, is it doesn’t require the ability to read, and in areas where the literacy rate is low, this feature is important.
How To Help
However, it costs about $100 a month to support a church planter or pastor in Pakistan. And if more workers are heading into FATA, that’s going to require more resources than what FMI currently is giving. Would you consider helping?
Furthermore, donations also help FMI supply pastors and church planters with the Snapshot tool. Currently, the ministry is out of stock of this tool and needs financial help to continue putting the tool in the hands of pastors.
Donations for this tool can be made to FMI’s “Tangible Resources” account. A gift of $50 can provide 10 snapshot tools to individuals. A gift of $100 can provide 10 snapshot tools along with ministry training. Will you help equip these Christians with the Snapshot tool?
But if being a financial partner or donating isn’t a possibility right now, will you be a prayer partner?
- Pray for the merger, that both sides will have cool heads about the issues, and that it will move forward peacefully and quickly.
- For the Gospel to be able to move throughout this area.
- Pray for Christian leaders to have the vision to move throughout this area with the Gospel.
- For the protection of Christians who’d be serving in this area at high personal risk.
To donate to FMI, click here!
To sign up as a prayer partner, click here!