Pakistan (MNN) – Women in Pakistan are coming to know the Lord through sewing and literacy centers developed to help them learn to read the Bible and receive an income.
Nehemiah*, Ministry Liaison for FMI, explains thatFMI started the Women’s Discipleship Initiative to combat Christian persecution in Pakistan, .
FMI works in Bangladesh, Indonesia and Pakistan to support and partner with local Christians to spread God’s Word. Through the Women’s Discipleship Initiative, FMI founded 10 sewing and literacy centers to support Christian women.
Nehemiah says, “In Pakistan, Christian men are only allowed to work as sanitary workers, so they are limited to [working] in sewers. So, these women want to help their husbands because their wages are too low.
“In these centers, they are not only learning how to stitch maxi dresses, but they are learning how to read the Bible as well.”
Sewing Centers Bring Women to Christ
Pakistan is ranked number 5 on the Open Doors USA World Watch List 2019** for Christian persecution. The persecution type is classified as “Islamic oppression”.
Christian women in Pakistan have few opportunities receive an income or be open about their faith. These sewing centers open the door to creating new communities with those who share their faith.
They also have the chance to share God’s Word with others.
Nehemiah explains that the sewing center brought one woman, Asifa, to Christ. In Pakistan, women wear a black “abaya”, is a traditional robe-like dress. Asifa was wearing her abaya when she first began attending the sewing center.
When the center handed out Bibles she asked for one as well, though she was Muslim.
Nehemiah says, “She received the Bible and the next morning we saw the same girl. She was not wearing the black dress; she was in a red dress to rejoice in the Lord by wearing color. And that was the sign of salvation.”
Learning to Read God’s Word
The reported literacy rate in Pakistan is currently around 70 percent for men and 50 percent for women. Nehemiah explains that not everyone is able to read or write as fluently as this number suggests.
“If someone is able to read and write his own name, that is a literate person…. [For] Christians that [percentage] is below two-digits. If you talk about women it’s 1 or 2 percent,” he says.
Learning to read is opening up a new understanding of God’s Word and how to share it with others.
Nehemiah says, “All these women…are learning more about Christ. They are coming to these centers, they are giving their life to Christ.”
He explains that to help FMI and support these women, they need prayer.
“Please pray for the courage that this persecution situation doesn’t stop women [from reaching out] to other women or [sharing] the Word of God,” he says.
You can also donate to FMI and their Women’s Discipleship Initiative. Learning about the Word of God is bringing tangible changes to the lives of these women.
“Seeing these women serving God or running these centers… they become more brave or more courageous than the male pastors. And I’m still wondering where they got this courage because a couple of years ago these women were unable to even talk to other women. This is incredible,” Nehemiah says.*Name changed for security purposes.
**Open Doors USA World Watch List is a ranking of the countries in the world with the most persecution against Christians. Click here to see the World Watch List for 2019.
Header photo courtesy of FMI.