First let me say that our four schools and Midwifery College are all safe at the present time, for which we thank our Lord. It is hard to comprehend the violence that is the daily life of many people living in Pakistan, of which very little is reported through the western media. The terrible massacre that took place at the “Peshawar School” a few weeks ago, which in this case, reached the world press where 133 children were shot and 8 staff killed, some burnt alive, brings a terrible end to a year of violence. In the past twelve months many Christians have been attacked and killed in Pakistan; persecution is a reality of life here. If you are a Christian or involved in education you seem to be a target.
Some church communities have been attacked with bombs, some Christian families burnt alive in their homes, the elderly and children as young as four years. Not all of the violence is the result of Taliban terrorists; sometimes it is angry crowds incited without evidence who perpetrate theses atrocities upon the minority Christian community. Schools that would educate the young are target for the Taliban, particularly those who dare to educate girls.
It was two years ago that our Administrator was killed execution style, a deacon killed while guarding the Church, and just over twelve months ago two young girls (9 and 12 year old) from the village where our Grace School is, were raped and left for dead, the 12 year old survived. Even our IMS worker who heads the project had the experience of a gun held to the head, but faith prevailed.
We Praise God for His protection over the IMS work which is some 500 kilometers from the Peshawar massacre. This project continues to grow and we now have over 400 children and young people being trained and educated in a Christian environment. There is a request to expand the “Grace School” to enable the teenage boys and girls to be taught separately, which is an absolute requirement in this culture. This will necessitate more land and buildings at a cost of approximately US$20,000; a large cost, but this is an area God seems to have his hand of protection over, which we have to consider. During 2014, the local government tried to seize one of the new school properties through legal action. This was fought in court in Lahore and we won the case, which cannot be contested again. The school property is safe, even though it is the heart of Taliban territory. God’s protection is on this work; this is not the area a Western Christian mission would normally win.
This has been a roller-coaster of a journey since our first contact on July 5th, 2014, some 6 months ago. IMS took on the abandoned orphanage and some 200 children after discovering they were about to be evicted for non-payment of rent for nearly 12 months, staff had not been paid, and there was no food for the children. Within five days of IMS involvement, the action was stopped, children fed, staff paid and from then forward, rent was paid. As this was not in the planned budget and not expected it presented many challenges, practically, financially as well as legally. There where further unexpected financial challenges in the first three months, but in October we were suddenly faced with a real problem.
The local bank was moving to foreclose on the property owner whom the orphanage rents from, as there was a back-debt of US$5,000 on the land from before IMS became involved. The bank was planning to auction the premises and property, but IMS was able to negotiate with the bank, and had the immediate action stopped, but then had to raise the outstanding funds within three weeks. We thank the faithful servants of the King who stepped in to meet this debt, and provide financial gifts which covered operational costs to the end of 2014.
With the immediate action having been taken to stop the eviction, and survive the next 6 months, the survival phase is now behind us, enabling us to plan for the longer term future of this project. IMS was able to raise the monthly costs up to the end of the year with the support of faithful individuals. We will use the next twelve months to assess how the orphanage will be run, its management, long term goals, and review the suitability of the existing infrastructure.
We were hoping to have the project on a more settled basis by this time so we could invite people to sponsor orphans for food and education, but the various immediate problems which surfaced over the past six months made this more of a survival period. While we are grateful to all who helped us survive these challenges, we will be looking at on-going funding challenges through sponsors and other programs.
We look to the Lord for the vital next twelve months for the annual budget of US$24,000. (The Orphanage takes just over US$2,000. per month to run at present costs; or some 200 kids to be sponsored at the rate ofUS$12.00 each a month)
If you can help us in this project as a Church organization or an individual in any way, please contact us through the address at the head of letter. You may also reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.