Director’s Report – July 2019
A big thank you to all our donors, workers and teams, and especially our Freedom Heroes, who support us monthly and provide the infrastructure to make it all possible. You guys are awesome.
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Thank you to our sponsors who made for a busy month in July! We were rapt to set free ten different families–a total of 44 people. The length of time these families spent in slavery ranged from 3 years to a staggering 40 years in slavery. It’s hard to imagine that a person could have almost their whole life stolen from them. But that’s exactly what the Siddique family has endured, with the Boota family not far behind, spending 37 years in slavery.
All but one family were enslaved after taking money to pay for medical care of family. In two of those families the people in care ended up dying. This just compounds the tragedy. People sell themselves to save a life of a loved one, but the family member dies and the rest of the family is left in slavery. So what would you do? Would you choose a life of slavery to save your father or mother? Would you sell your children’s future in the hope of saving your wife? Or would you watch as someone you love dies? It’s a traumatic choice to make. But people are forced to make these choices all the time in Pakistan.
We see this tragedy repeated in the Janda family (currently on our waiting list). Janda took a loan 35 years ago to pay for the medical care of his diabetic wife, who died only two years later. He has since raised his children in slavery, and like so many others, they have lost their first three decades of life to slavery. It’s a heart-breaking reality that we encounter all the time, and we count it an incredible honor to be able to serve people who have endured such tragedy.
From the depths of our heart: Thank you to all our sponsors who helped to set free these families this month. You are forever treasured by these families.
“I’m so excited to give you this report for July. In addition to all the families we set free, we also did a lot of leadership training. For one week, we did leadership training in Murree with 35 pastors and leaders from different cities and different churches. It was awesome! We had a wonderful time in the presence of God. For the first time in their lives, these leaders heard from God! They got visions and dreams and their lives were touched and changed. They were filled with the Holy Ghost. During that time, most of the pastors told me how they have been in ministry for years, but during this time in prayer and studying and hearing God, they said they finally understand what real ministry is.
“The Lord also made it possible for me to visit the USA. We had a wonderful trip there. The Lord moved mightily in the churches in Philidelphia, Florida and New York. It was awesome. So many people were restored and filled again with the Holy Ghost. People started to move in the gifts. In many of these churches I shared about the freeslaves ministry, and I believe that in the future many of these churches will stand with us.
“In August, we have more seminars that we will do to equip leaders in Pakistan, as well as visiting areas in Singapore and Malaysia to also support the body of Christ there. We really appreciate all your support. Thank you very much and God bless you!”
This month we arranged work for people in lots of different areas. Below we have Ashraf working for a state life insurance company, Samina workign as a cleaner in the DHQ Hospital in Kasur, and both Younas and Parwaz working for a grain company. We we also progressed plans for a new business venture in Pakistan called the Freedom Kiln Project. It is still in its infancy, but from our business case, we believe that by building our own eco-friendly kiln, we can create work for 100 families and also generate profits to free more familiies.
Keep an eye out for our official launch of the Freedom Kiln Project over the next two months.
This month saw our Pakistani refugee community supported again. Most of these people are under death-threats should they ever return to Pakistan. They are not permitted to work while they go through the asylum process, and many are arrested and thrown into horrific detention centres. If you’d like to help, please donate here.
This month we were thrilled to install a water pump in a village near Hyderabad (not far from Karachi). Such a simple and affordable gift (only $250USD!) has made a massive difference to a whole village.
Because of the remoteness of these villages, most are unknown to the outside world, and $250 is an unimaginable sum, even for a whole village to save. On behalf of this village, we want to say THANK YOU!! to our kind supporters for showing such love and generosity. You are amazing!
Our small schools are all doing well thanks to our monthly sponsors! In this remote village near Hyderabad, we were able to provide seats for the children to get them off the dirt floors. These are the first generation within this village to receive an education and their parents are incredibly grateful. Even just the gift of reading is a privilege that most of the adults in this village lack, and to see their kids being educated brings incredible joy and hope for the future.
UPDATE! The school pictured below has just been destroyed by a flood. See more on facebook. We are supplying emergency tents and food for this village. Thankfully, the water pump we installed is still providing clean water. Please donate here to help this village.
If anyone in the USA or NZ has good quality laptops or phones they no longer need, please consider donating them to our team in Pakistan. They can be sent internally in the US or NZ for our team to take over in October.
Transport is a real key to growing the ministry. Currently our team are renting vehicles or taking buses to get to kiln sites and carry out the redemption work. A dedicated vehicle is now a priority to get the team rolling!
Please contact us if you can help with any of these immediate needs. Thanks!
Overall, the Pakistan team is doing well in July. Kashif and Dilbar had this to say:
“Since I became a part of the freeslaves team, I have seen the favor of God in my life. This year we platned three churches and many of the people families we set free are now coming to those churches. The schools we run are really impacting the community. Many ministiries have come to this area and made promises but done nothing for the people. We are so blessed to be a blessing here.”
“It is a great blessing for us to be a part of this work. We don’t feel like we deserve the blessing of being a part of this ministry. We’ve seen great change in the lives of those who have been set free from slavery. They are enjoying their new lives. Their generation and future generations have been changed. It is wonderful to be a part of this.”
In October we are taking a small international team to Pakistan. During 11 days in Pakistan, we are going to:
- Bring together as many of our freed families as possible and hold two big banquets to celebrate their freedom
- Interview different families as part of our video production work
- Visit schools and do some development work with our teachers
- Put on a number of leadership seminars, freeslaves network meetings, and large-scale events
- Visit some of the remote villages where we have installed water pumps
Some of our team could really use your support to get to Pakistan. If you would like to help contribute to their costs, please make a donation at freeslaves.org/donate
Behind every project is a story that reveals our mindset and motivation for doing what we do. For us, a big part of our story is discovering what we call the Design of Life. I can explain it like this. If you made a clock and gave it just one instruction it would simply: Tell the time. Within that one command you would express the whole purpose and design of the clock. Jesus does exactly this in the Bible. When a lawyer asks Him “what is the most important command?” Jesus responds: Love God with your entire being and love others. Within those commands, Jesus reveals our whole purpose and design. We were created all created for a life of love.
Everything finds its greatest pleasure and fulfilment in living according to its design. My dog, Sasha, loves to chase rabbits because it is a part of her design. When she is on the hunt, you can literally see her come alive with joy and energy and focus. Why? Because she is doing what she is designed to do.
It is the same for us. We get our greatest pleasure and sense of fulfillment when we love God and love people. When the love of God flows through us to meet the needs of enslaved and in-need people, it makes us feel alive. There is a serious buzz to changing lives. A public health doctor once explained to me the brain scans below of two three-year-old children. She said that the bright and colourful brain-scan belonged to a child who had been loved. The dark one was that of a child who had not been loved. The difference on the brain is profound. The science shows us that we are made for love. And we all know it through experience. When we do something selfish, we experience a short-lived high, but it leaves us with a slightly increased sense of stress, fear, insecurity, isolation and depression. But when we love, or someone does something loving for us, our brains come to life and we feel a sense of pleasure and fulfillment that can last for days. We don’t need the Bible to tell us what we all know is true: we were created for love.
This understanding of love is a massive motivation for us. Those people in slavery aren’t really aware of their design of love. They are treated more like brick-making machines than creations of love. That’s why they are so poorly valued. We redeem them for around $200 a life. Our goal is not just to set these people free to live, but set them free to love! We aim to teach our redeemed families about their design of love and how they can experience the greatest pleasure in life by loving God and loving others. Our heart is also for our donors to experience the same joy and pleasure! To this end, we have done some reflective Bible studies, and would love to share them with you. Please go onewithchrist.org and download a free copy of First Love or simply contact me ([email protected]) and I can email you a copy.
Thanks for your ongoing support! I hope that you find some real joy in seeing families set free and that you are growing more in the pleasure of your design of love.
Geoff Woodcock – Freeslaves.org