Can God Use Women?
David’s 1st Blog from Nepal
During the second half of our 12-day trip, first to Northern India and now Nepal, our Heaven’s Family team has spent a lot of our time meeting with indigenous church planters who are making disciples in unreached areas, some of whom are supported through Heaven’s Family’s National Missionary Ministry. One of them is “Fatima,” pictured above. She was born and raised in Balochistan, the largest and least populated of Pakistan’s five provinces, that shares its borders with Iran and Afghanistan. Fatima traveled all the way from Pakistan to meet us in Nepal.
Fatima was born into the Sikh religion, which comprises a very small minority of the people in Muslim-dominated Pakistan. Fatima’s father died when she was four years old, and her four uncles slowly confiscated all the family’s property, impoverishing them. Fatima herself was eventually removed from her mother’s home and became the property of one of her uncles, a Sikh priest. In her late teens, he made her a virtual slave in a Sikh temple where she served eight families that regularly abused her.
Balochistan is uber-patriarchal, and women have no rights. Some women never step outside their family’s large walled compounds from birth to death. All marriages are arranged, and Balochistan is one of those places where old men marry child brides. There are few places in the world that are as unreached for the gospel, and there are many remote tribal people. In past years, I have spent time in Fatima’s home town, Quetta, Balochistan’s capital. It is another world.
Fatima told me that, as a teen, she hated Jesus, because her older brother had become a believer, and he was subsequently killed by the Taliban. Her mother’s conversion to Christ also helped justify her uncle’s confiscation of all the family property. Fatima blamed Jesus for her brother’s death.
As a Sikh temple slave, her life was miserable. She eventually decided to commit suicide by taking some pills she stole from her captors and hanging herself. She waited until dark when everyone was asleep to swallow the pills. But, to her surprise, Jesus appeared to her in a bright light, silently shaking His head in disapproval. She canceled her plans.
The Lord appeared to her again some time later, and this time she told Him, “If you are the true God, please deliver me from this place.” Her uncle had been trying to arrange her marriage, at age 21, to a 50-year-old Sikh man. Soon after, she requested her freedom from her uncle, and to her utter shock, he let her go, and she eventually became a follower of Jesus (which is a story for another time).
Fatima was discipled by a South African man named Joe who eventually “adopted” her (at her request) to become the father she never had. Joe spent four days at my home in January to participate in our Disciple-Making Movements training, and he has definitely done a great job discipling Fatima. She has launched a disciple-making movement that extends all over Pakistan. There are now eighty simple churches that have attained to seven generations. That is, churches that Fatima planted have planted other churches, and those churches have planted other churches, now to seven church generations. The reason is because every Christian is taught how to share the gospel and make disciples from the first day they believe in Jesus. So these are not Christians who have prayed a prayer to “accept Jesus” and who go on living the same life. They are people who have become followers of Christ because they genuinely believe that He is the Son of God.
Fatima told me that she always says to every baptismal candidate, “I am about to baptize you, which could cost me my life. Are you willing to die for Jesus?” If they say “No,” she doesn’t baptize them, because Jesus said that no one can become His disciple unless they hate their own life (Luke 14:26).
Fatima currently has two “fatwas” issued against her by two Muslim Imams, calling for her death. So, any Muslim who kills her will be handsomely rewarded. For that reason, Fatima no longer lives in Quetta, but in a safe-house in an undisclosed location. But she is not afraid to die, and she regularly risks her life to take the gospel to people who have never heard it. Incredibly, she often targets mosques and madrasas (Muslim schools), where she engages with Muslim leaders and teachers.
Although Fatima is an excellent apologist who can lead a Muslim to Christ using the Quran (as Jesus is mentioned in the Quran as the Creator, as having been born of a virgin, as being sinless, as working miracles, and as coming back again), she told me that her most effective method to win Muslims and Sihks to Jesus has proven to be through healings and deliverances.
I listened with rapt attention to one amazing story she told us of a violent, demon-tormented Muslim woman whose family had taken her to Imams and witch doctors to no avail. Her family members had reached the place of deciding the only solution was to inject her with some poison to take her life, but her husband heard that Fatima had successfully cast out demons, and he persuaded his very-reluctant family members to bring his wife to her. Fatima said that in just a few minutes, the woman was completely delivered and crying in her arms with tears of thankfulness. Fatima then led her to the Lord Jesus Christ. The next day that delivered woman returned with other demon-oppressed women, and all were set free. All of them, as well as many of their family members, became believers, and they are now making disciples who are making disciples.
For the few folks who may be troubled by the fact that this report is about God using a woman, there is nothing in the Bible that forbids women from making disciples. Jesus, in fact, told His disciples to make disciples, teaching those disciples to obey all that He had commanded them. So, Jesus expects His female disciples to make disciples. More than half of the many indigenous missionaries with whom our team has met on this trip have been women who are making huge sacrifices to take the gospel to people who have never heard it.
Now here is the best part for anyone who is still reading. Heaven’s Family has been financially supporting Fatima through our National Missionary Ministry for several years. So the people who sponsor Fatima each month have a part in her ministry. But Fatima told me that some of her strongest disciples are ready to relocate to unreached places in Balochistan that are ripe for harvest, but if they do relocate, it will be impossible for them to find work to support themselves as they are now doing. All they need to live, however, is $200 per month (hard to believe, I know, but it is true, and you can’t imagine the standard of living in remote places in Pakistan).
I told Fatima that Heaven’s Family could facilitate that monthly support (as we do it for her and others), and all we need are sponsors. That being said, if you would like to sponsor a disciple-making, church-planting, Spirit-empowered missionary in Pakistan (or North India) for any amount per month, please email Jerry Jefferson, who directs Heaven’s Family’s National Missionary Ministry. Sponsors receive regular reports from the missionaries whom they support. Can you imagine meeting people in heaven who will thank you for being part of the reason that they are there? That is what sponsors of fruitful indigenous missionaries can expect! It is irresistible!
Thanks for joining me on this trip!
Founder, Heaven’s Family