Stories from the Field

In the Shadow of Bulldozers

Nazia* and her husband, Dameer, live in an urban slum. A 2011 census revealed that in this part of South Asia, about 64 million people, one in six city-dwellers, live in areas that are dilapidated, overcrowded, lacking in sanitation and, in some cases, lacking clean water. A third of the homes surveyed had no indoor toilets. More than half were not connected to sewage systems.

In November of 2011, Christar workers began visiting this area, praying that God would provide opportunities for ministry. By the beginning of the next year, doors began to open and Christar workers got a clearer view of the physical and spiritual suffering of Nazia’s community of least-reached Muslims.

Darkness and struggle

The bulldozers began their work in Nazia’s slum with little warning. This is one way the government deals with slums, sometimes relocating the residents, sometimes not. Many families have lost all or part of their homes. Many continue to live amid the ruins, and for the time being they are being permitted to rebuild, with some assurance that their homes will not be razed again.

Not only do slum dwellers live in difficult physical conditions; most live in spiritual darkness as well. Nazia’s world is clouded by fear and superstition. Instead of being flattered when a visitor admires her belongings and compliments her, Nazia is suspicious. Is her guest inviting the “evil eye” upon her home and inviting calamity to befall her?

If someone in Nazia’s family becomes ill, Nazia can’t be certain it is not the “evil eye” at work. Her remedy for the curse: taking hot peppers and some dirt from where a visitor’s shoes have stepped, she waves them around the sick person seven times before throwing the peppers and the dirt out. The sick person should recover and all should be well … for the moment.

Hope enters the slums

Christar workers have had the privilege of sharing with Nazia that whoever places their faith in Jesus will be delivered from darkness. Nazia listened carefully and commented on the peace she felt after Christar workers prayed with her. Although they have not yet placed their faith in Christ, Nazia and Dameer recently helped with a Christar outreach, coordinating the logistics for a gathering of people in their community.

At the gathering, about 75 children and adults heard not only a Bible story but also the reason that Jesus came to earth. Christar workers share, “We experienced freedom, favor and [God’s] protection in this Muslim area. We are so grateful for our Muslim friends, Nazia and Dameer, who handled all the logistics and kept us culturally wise … The door is open in [this] slum.”

New opportunities

God has opened doors for Christar workers to share truth in a number of slums like this one. Each week about 40 women from one community crowd into a small room to hear a Bible story, then retell it and act it out. In Nazia’s slum, one family has been consistently studying God’s Word.


How can I get involved?

Pray:

Praise God for these incredible opportunities! Please join us in asking Him to continue to open doors to share the gospel in Nazia and Dameer’s community and others like it.

Give:

Your gift will help us cultivate Christ-honoring transformation in communities where He is yet to be worshiped. By giving where it’s needed most, you will enable us to address the most pressing needs within the ministries of Christar around the world.