Director’s Report – Sept/Oct 2019
Most of September was spent preparing for our big October Freedom events in Pakistan. Read on to find out more..!
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Thank you to all our sponsors for their help in redeeming families over September and October.
Families set free: 8
Number of people: 33
Years enslaved: 2-20 years
Average length enslaved: 10 years
Families set free: 18
Number of people: 90
Years enslaved: 3-35 years
Average length enslaved: 10 years
Check out October’s Families with our NZ Freeslaves Team!
October Freedom Fortnight!
A team of four people and I were incredibly privileged in October to travel to Pakistan for our “Freedom Fortnight” event. Here is a raw honest report, with no exaggeration or embellishment.
We started our trip in Thailand together to help with a foundation there and enable our team to spend some time together and get our motives right. We determined that there was only one agenda for Pakistan: Love. Every person on the team had this one goal of love. If we were faithful to love, we would never fail, because love never fails.
Our Pakistan trip started with an evening church meeting and it was like stepping into a wave of God’s love and power. There were lots of miraculous healings. People were being powerfully touched by the Holy Spirit. It was nothing about us–we felt like bystanders watching as God healed people. A tumour on a baby’s neck completely disappeared after being prayed for. All kinds of sicknesses/injuries were healed and people were left in tears. It was really exciting and an encouraging sign of things to come.
The next day was the Freedom Banquet celebration! We gathered around 400 people who we had set free from slavery and put on a big celebration. Different families shared their experiences, we shared and then prayed for families. Again we saw people get healed before our eyes. But not everyone. One man asked me to pray for his son’s foot. It had a deep infection that was starting to poison his blood supply. I don’t think the father was aware of how dangerous the situation was. He had no money for medical care, so when the foot was not instantly healed with prayer, we gave him money to take his son to the doctor. We got feedback some days later with photos showing the son was receiving treatment and doing well. It made me realise the critical need for education. We discussed the possibility of employing a person to share basic keys to health–how to disinfect wounds and the importance of clean water. Water is a massive problem for poor people in Pakistan, which has the fourth worst water in the world. We prayed for so many people who had water-borne disease that it became a blur. We prayed for one young man whose gut felt like a kicking baby. Seriously. I got Miles (one of the team) to feel it as well because I didn’t think anyone would believe it. We prayed and the young man was healed. But it left me reflecting more on what we could do to ensure safe water for the people.
After the banquet meeting, everyone had a meal. For some people it was their first celebration ever. It was amazing to see the beautiful children, now free, knowing that it was not long ago that they were human machines, working 14 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Another big focus for us was the two-day seminars. We gathered together different leaders from churches in Pakistan for seven sessions. Our goal was to share God’s design of love and invite people to become a part of the freeslaves network so we can extend our capacity for freeing and supporting enslaved families.
Healings became so normal that we started not really even praying for them. Instead we invited people to raise their hand if they were healed during the seminar. During the seminar people raised their hand, with one young man sharing how God had completely healed his knee which he had injured in a motorbike accident. All the pain was gone. He shares his testimony below.
In Sialkot, I prayed for an 11 year-old boy. I then got him to pray for the people who wanted healing. Every person that this boy prayed for was healed. It was an incredible release of the love of God to meet the needs of His people.
After Sialkot we went to Islamabad which is a more affluent area in Pakistan. It also felt someone more religious. Interestingly there were far less healings there, and less people were receiving encounters with Jesus. In the poorer areas of Lahore and Kasur, there were too many healings to count. There is something powerful about being completely dependent on God, Or maybe it is that God has chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith.
Life, Death and Slavery
We were deeply blessed to have met Timothy from Karachi, a 17 year-old that traveled 24 hours by train to meet us and attend the seminars with his pastor (Bashir) and two friends. They had all been working through the One with Christ series of Bible studies in Karachi and were keen to hear more. We spent the whole first day and banquet day togehter. However, on the evening of the banquet, tragedy struck.
At the evening meeting, Timothy collapsed in agony. He was taken to hospital and diagnosed with a brain bleed. We went to the hospital and heard that the doctors had given him no chance. He was in the public hospital where all the beds were shared. He was in a semi-conscious state, moving in the bed, with a fluid drip hanging disconnected next to the bed. They could not keep the drip connected because of his movements, and they could not restrict him because the bed was shared. We prayed fervently for him and gave what we could to help with the medical costs.
Bashir then found that Timothy could go to a private hospital, so we transferred him. They found that a tumor had burst in Timothy’s brain and felt they could operate with a 60% chance of success for $3000USD. I knew that Timothy’s parents and Bashir would take a loan from the kiln and enslave themselves to give him a chance at life. We were incredibly blessed that a donor gave the money. The operation was done and the doctors said it was successful! They removed the tumor. Timothy was then to be kept in an induced coma for a few days. Early in the morning on the third day, Timothy passed away.
The team was pretty broken by the experience. We realised that we had lived through the exact scenario that puts so many people into slavery–unaffordable, emergency medical costs. It was one thing to hear story after story, but something else entirely to be in the story and experience the tragedy. It created a resonance in the team for all the families we would later set free. We felt the pain of their tragedy, and shared the joy of their redemption. Every one of us came back changed.
It was great to be able to visit one of our schools. We immediately saw that the school was far too small for the number of students. So we arranged a budget increase so they could move to a new premise with three classrooms. Again, it was so special seeing children at school instead of working at a kiln. Kendra put together some of the footage of the children at the banquet and the schools (and around the villages etc) in the video below.
It was humbling to visit a kiln and see the conditions that people live and work in. Kendra took some footage so we can explain to people exactly what life is like at the kilns.
We praise the Lord what he has done In October. We were blessed to have the Freeslaves team from New Zealand come. It was an awesome 3 weeks and we saw great move of God. In the banquet more than 400 people came who had been set free from slavery. They said, “This was the first time in our lives that someone invited us to such beautiful place with such wonderful food. We saw the love of God that we have never seen before.”
During this trip, many people got healed. Pakistani church leadership learned about the greatest commands: to love God and one another other. In one of those churches, there was a sick lady. After hearing the teaching about love, the believers in that church raised money to help that lady. Pastor Timothy told me this never happened before. People are putting into practice what they learned, and the love of God is flowing.
Our goal is now to create our own kiln (owned mainly by the workers), develop some agricultural land, training facilities, a school, and build a village around it all where people can live, work and raise their families in peace. More on this soon!
Thanks for your amazing support. It’s awesome and appreciated beyond words.
Geoff Woodcock – Freeslaves.org