Pakistan (MNN) — Pakistan is closing its doors to foreign aid groups.
“Time is ticking,” officials announced last week after closing offices of international NGO Save the Children and shutting down operations.
Foreign aid groups operating in Pakistan will have until September to register with the government. In addition, the Interior Ministry will now oversee all monitoring and authorizing procedures.
“We should know funding sources of the groups and the purpose for which the money is being given,” Pakistan’s Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan told reporters.
Developments like these make the work of Pakistani Christians, like those helped by Forgotten Missionaries International (FMI), even more important.
“That’s the beauty of what FMI does; it doesn’t rely on Western missionaries coming in to Pakistan,” says FMI’s Bruce Allen.
“We’re partnering and empowering — propelling — the indigenous believers.”
Foreign aid vs. locally-grown
Foreign aid groups have been under pressure since 2012, when Save the Children was linked to U.S. intelligence agents hunting for Osama bin Laden. Though leaders deny the connection, the group is still held in high suspicion by government officials.
Save the Children isn’t the only foreign aid group affected by Pakistan’s crack-down.
Many international Christian groups find opportunities to share the Gospel by helping meet physical needs, whether through refugee aid or disaster relief.
As believers lose opportunities to connect with people groups in need, doors close on evangelism, too. But not all hope is lost.
How you can help
Even if you can’t go on a mission trip to Pakistan, you can still help its citizens hear the Gospel. Unlike most Western mission agencies which recruit, train, and send missionaries, all of FMI’s Gospel workers are indigenous to the countries where they serve.
“They already live there,” explains Allen. “They eat the food; they know the language; they understand the culture.”
Why do they need FMI’s help? Just because they don’t have overseas travel expenses doesn’t mean indigenous missionaries are monetarily secure.
“[Congregations] cannot financially support their pastor, because the people themselves have been discriminated against in terms of employment,” Allen says.
By making sure a pastor can feed and shelter himself and his family, you can help him focus on Kingdom work. Sponsor a pastor through FMI here.
“We do need partners here in the U.S. who will say, ‘We stand with our brothers and sisters. We want to make sure that in difficult circumstances, this pastor stays at his work with the church, doing outreach in his community’,” says Allen.
Allen says your messages will be translated into Urdu and shared with congregations by FMI-supported pastors.