Shakaib and his team members told Dhia and her husband Partab stories from God’s Word from our WGS Storytelling Program. Dhia intently listened as joy filled her heart. Shakaib and his co-workers had to leave but returned six months later after Dhia somehow found a way to call and asked them to come back to the village. She told him "I'm blessed with these stories."
Seeing the ministry need in this region, Shakaib began traveling there regularly. As Dhia heard about Jesus' unconditional love she was awakened and greatly excited. She was growing in spirit, listening to the stories, and learning songs and prayers. She said, "I want to give my life to Christ" and Dhia and her husband were baptized. Her ministry began!
In the region where Dhia lives in Pakistan, she is an extremely brave pioneer, sharing her testimony and Jesus' love to others. She also does something that women normally do not do – she speaks in front of both men and women and sometimes without wearing a veil. A woman speaking in public to men was unheard of, especially without a face-covering! Dhia was stepping out of both custom and culture, as she boldly shared Jesus with everyone. People in her village and 8-10 surrounding villages responded with mixed emotions from ridicule to thankfulness and admiration for her love for the Lord. From her testimony and the stories that she has learned (and she must memorize them because she cannot read or write), people have accepted Christ. Dia says, "I am a
Christian, I know Christ, and I will speak about
Christ to others."
Dhia's boldness brings persecution but filled with the Holy Spirit, she has remained focused on speaking truth to lost people. She has courageously baptized women. After one baptism, she and her husband were jailed for approximately 15 days. But when released, she continued to preach the gospel and share stories of Jesus. Dhia's belief was that "God will provide." She and her husband were thrown into jail a second time. However, not even a second imprisonment would keep her from sharing the love of Christ, and Dhia has continued to go into villages spreading the good news of Jesus.
Shakaib described the region where Dhia lives as "one of the most dangerous places to live. Few dare go there because it is so dangerous." Yet, Dhia always smiles, doesn't complain, is filled with joy, and continues to share Jesus with everyone she meets despite the challenges. She is courageous, bold, and strong. May we be as bold as Dhia!
Dhia and her family live in the poorest of circumstances often eating only one meal a day, which is all that they can afford. Shakaib described their meal as "eating like the prodigal son." Their water is so bitter that chemicals are needed to make it drinkable. Dhia and her husband must travel long distances for work picking cotton and harvesting wheat in season. This provides money to purchase food, which is limited. They struggle with resources: food, water, medicine, and medical treatment. In the above picture, you can see two goats that we purchased to provide milk for their family.
The entire village is desperately poor with little or no supplies. I am looking into how to provide food through livestock and other resources. We can preach the gospel, but we also need to care for basic needs. Please pray as we seek a way to bless this village, particularly Dhia and her family with something that most of us take for granted – food!
1 John 3:17-18 – If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.