Sooooo . . . been a bit quiet around here, eh? Well, don’t let appearances fool you. I’ve been busy doing very important things. Like resting. Recharging. Recuperating. I’m filling the bucket up so eventually I’ll have new stuff to dump here. Promise. I’m just working on God’s time and apparently the God who has all of eternity at his fingertips doesn’t rush anything. Go figure.
But in the meantime, he has given me little things to work on behind the scenes. One of which is working with and ministering to a rather remarkable man in Pakistan. Some of you may remember me telling you about meeting him a while back.
Since then I’ve had a long distance, front row seat to the life of a leader in the persecuted church in Pakistan. I’ve heard about the girls rescued from kidnappers and the kids who need warm clothing in winter. I’ve worried about the death threats Atif and his family receive from Muslims who oppose his work advocating for women and religious minorities. The stolen motorbike. The time two attackers broke his ankle with an iron bar after he began meeting with Muslim youth groups. I’ve written instructions on how to pray for peace and healing for people in severe crisis for him to share. I helped him cut through local religious discrimination and get a little girl’s cleft palette fixed through the Smile Foundation. Recently I found grants for his organization to apply for so they train lawyers to use the courts to enforce people’s civil rights. And, if you recall, last November y’all pitched in to pay for a little girl who had been injured in an earthquake get surgery.
Which all sounds very impressive, but really, I’ve done more listening than helping. And more praying than anything else. The physical needs of the Christian community in Pakistan are a bottomless pit. Sometimes praying is all you can do. I keep telling Atif that I wish God had sent him to a rich woman rather than a wise woman because money’s a much easier solution than wisdom. And quicker too. But you know – God.
Anyways, last Friday Atif was awoken in the middle of the night by several men carrying an obviously injured 14 year old boy asking for help. The boy had been kidnapped and tortured by a man who had a financial dispute with his father. He was left in terrible condition outside the family home, but when they took the child to the hospital, they refused to treat him. (Discrimination against Christians in accessing public services is a constant problem in Pakistan.) They took the boy to the police in order to obtain paperwork identifying the child as the victim of a crime which would force the hospital to provide treatment. The police refused to write out the paperwork unless a bribe was paid. They had no money, but they did know of a Christian lawyer who helps people in trouble. Which was how they wound up on Atif’s doorstep in the middle of the night with a severely injured child.
Atif went with them to the police station, paid the bribe and accompanied them to the hospital in order to insure that they would honor the police order and provide treatment. They were able to obtain emergency treatment – stitches and medication. And they determined the extent of his injuries and what further treatment he would need. Thankfully, the boy’s life is no longer in immediate danger, but he needs surgery to repair his shoulder as well as some rather gruesome internal injuries which will cause permanent pain and disability if they are not treated. The boy’s father is a poor day laborer and has no way of paying for surgery, so they have taken him home and are relying on prayer to fix things somehow.
Over the last year, I’ve heard many stories from him of desperate need and typically can’t do anything other than offer prayer and moral support. But when Atif shared this story with me, I felt like God was telling me that this was a case to bring to y’all for help. This boy has been through a truly horrific experience and is in desperate need of this surgery. The doctors have said that they will need $800 upfront to cover the surgery and aftercare. I kind of hate to be asking, given how little writing I’ve been doing around here. But you know – God. I have to assume that if he wants me to bring this to you, it’s because he’s entrusted some of you reading this with the funds this child needs.
So, if you are able and feel lead, I am hoping to be able to raise the funds needed as quickly as possible. You can use the link below to make a donation via paypal. I am not a not-for-profit, so your donation is not a charitable tax write off, but it should be covered as a gift for tax purposes, if that’s an issue for you. But any amount raised will go towards getting this poor kid back to good health and hopefully on the road to recovering. I will keep a running tally below of how much is still needed to reach the goal of $800 and I will de-activate the link once the full amount as been raised. If you are not able to provide financial support, please keep this boy and Atif in your prayers. And maybe pass on this post so that others will see it.
And I promise – you’ll be hearing again from me soon! – Rebecca
CURRENT NEED: $0! We did it!
BTW, if you are the understandably suspicious sort who wants to be doubly sure that I’m not just gullible and dealing with a scammer, you can see an old video of Atif explaining one of the projects his foundation’s been involved in here. And here’s a picture of his business card. And I’m pretty sure the Smile Foundation would have alerted to if he was actually a dude in an internet cafe preying on people. He probably wouldn’t have taken the time to write a 10 page grant application to the National Endowment for Democracy and copied me on it either. IJS