The greatest blessing on earth is to be a blessing to someone else. And that is our goal—to serve “the least of these” among Jesus’ family (and serve you as you serve them).
Because of your sincere faith, in this update you’ll read how we’re loving orphans in Pakistan, helping poor believers in Laos and Vietnam, assisting widows in Sierra Leone and Kenya, and serving persecuted pastors in Eritrea. This is what we were born again to do. We’ve been created in Christ to walk in good works that He has prepared from the foundation of the world (see Eph. 2:10). May the Lord help us all to fulfill His destiny for our lives! — David
Waiting for a Dream
When an earthquake rocked northern Pakistan in October of 2005 leaving 80,000 people dead and three million homeless, Nasir Awan rushed there to offer relief. With help from Heaven’s Family, Nasir was able to provide tents, food, water, medicine and hospital expenses for hundreds of Christians who were being neglected by Muslim relief agencies (Pakistan is 97% Muslim).
Nasir discovered that many children from Christian villages had lost their parents, and he did not want to leave them to the mercy of child traffickers. So he took 66 newly-orphaned children into his already-crowded and very underfunded orphanage. It was a huge step of love and faith.
Through our Orphan’s Tear division and with God’s help, we gradually found sponsors for all of Nasir’s 115 children. Nasir liquidated almost all of his and his wife’s assets (including her wedding jewelry), bought a little land, hired an architect, borrowed as much money as he could, and started building an orphanage by faith. Because of you, Heaven’s Family has provided $40,000 so far for construction costs, and the remaining need of $34,000 will soon be provided. For this we praise God. Below is the architect’s rendering and a photo of the unfinished building as it looked a few weeks ago.
Most of the orphans have been temporarily taken in by Christian families, but thirty-one have indicated a preference to live together at the unfinished orphanage. They share 17 beds, which are actually bed frames with a web netting. Those 17 beds are all borrowed, so Christ’s Family Orphanage will ultimately need 115 beds. They cost only $26 each.
|One of the 17 borrowed beds shared by 31 children.||School is already in session at the orphanage.|
Christians are not only a persecuted minority in Pakistan, but they are generally from the lowest caste, thus the poorest. An education is out of reach for most Christian children. Nasir wants to change that for his 115 children, and so he has already started a school. Eventually the entire third floor of the orphanage will be school rooms for all the children. Thank you for helping dreams come true for 115 children who have suffered so much.
Lao Bibles and Vietnamese TDMMs
The Bibles for Believers and Books for Pastors Funds at work
There are only five communist nations remaining in the world: China, North Korea, Cuba, Vietnam and Laos. All five are nations where Christians sometimes encounter brutal persecution. Heaven’s Family is now working in all of them. According to Assist News Service, “The Laos government, still one of the world’s most severe abusers of religious liberty, has explicitly declared its intention to ‘eliminate Christianity’. The government….severely persecutes Christians.” With contributions to the Bibles for Believers Fund, we’ve recently begun funding the printing of Laotian Bibles.
We’ve also just received permission from Vietnam’s Ministry of Culture and Information to print legally the Vietnamese version of our 500-page equipping manual for pastors, The Disciple-Making Minister. (We’ve previously printed and distributed it illegally in Vietnam.) This is perhaps a first for Vietnam. Praise God! Thank you for helping us equip thousands of pastors in Vietnam.
The Widows Fund at work in Sierra Leone
Just about every believer knows that Scripture has a lot to say about helping widows. But where can you find widows who are desperately poor—the kind scripture says we should be helping?
We’ve found them all over the developing world, which is why we created the Christian Widows Fund. Because of gifts to that fund, we recently purchased treadle sewing machines for eight young widows in Sierra Leone (a West African country where I’ve ministered twice), who all lost their husbands during the 1991-2002 civil war. All eight widows learned to sew at a Christian vocational training center where the sewing machines were supplied by Heaven’s Family a few years ago. Now they have a means to make a living and support their children.
Out of 176 countries, Sierra Leone is second-to-last on 2006’s United Nations Human Development Report. The Bible says, “This is pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father, to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world” (Jas. 1:27). Thanks for being religious!
A Letter from Eritrea
Each month we receive visits at Shepherd Serve from people in over one hundred nations. Earlier this year, we received an email from a web-visitor who lives in Eritrea, a small North African nation that has been gaining a reputation for brutal repression of evangelical Christians. He wrote:
In our country all the churches are closed except the main religions. I was fellowshipping in the Full Gospel Church. The church is now closed. It is also prohibited to worship in homes. If you are found secretly holding a meeting, you are imprisoned and harrased and asked to renounce your faith via different methods. Therefore, now it is hard to have a meeting in your home or anywhere. We do meet in five persons per group in secret carefully in order to hide. As a result honestly we are living hard life. The persecution is testing….But thanks to God he is always beside us.
On September 5, Eritrean authorities tortured to death 33-year-old Nigsti Haile for refusing to recant her Christian faith. Currently, more than 2,000 evangelical Christians have been imprisoned for more than two years under harsh conditions. They need our prayers.
Through correspondence, we’ve been making more friends in Eritrea and have been carefully mailing single copies of The Disciple-Making Minister for English-reading pastors. Now a translation project is about to begin, and I hope to visit Eritrea early next year to encourage, in practical ways, members of our spiritual family there.
Things Present and Future
More of our video teaching series through the Sermon on the Mount, filmed last summer in Israel, is available at our website to view. Thirteen thirty-minute programs have been produced. Just visit the video page of Shepherd Serve.
Heaven’s Family U.K. is now a registered charity in the United Kingdom! This means that the British government will add about 28% to every U.K. gift, paying to Heaven’s Family U.K. what U.K. donors paid in taxes on their gifts. All of our websites have been redesigned to accommodate U.K. donors. There has never been a better time for our friends in Great Britain to start investing in the Heaven’s Family Mutual Fund!
As you are reading this, I’m in Sri Lanka, an island nation off the southern coast of India, ministering to church-planting pastors and serving the poor among our family. Chuck King is in Ghana doing the same. Please keep us in your prayers. Next month we will have some good reports to share with you.
Thanks for your partnership and compassion. Together, we’re making a difference in the world and for eternity.
David and HF Team