And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me." - Matthew 11:4-6
Throughout history, God has been looking out for the poor and marginalized. His heart is not only clearly demonstrated in Jesus' actions to love and serve the destitute as recorded in the Gospels, but also expressed in small-but-meaningful ways such as His instruction to the Israelites to leave the edges and leftovers of their harvest fields "for the poor and for the sojourners" to gather and eat (Leviticus 23:21).
We could easily create a mile-long list of all the examples in Scripture that express God's heart for the lowly, but others have already done so before us. (Find some of those lists here: God's Heart for the Poor). The lesson to be learned is that we should have a heart of compassion for the poor and marginalized, too. Jesus is our example. We are to follow Him in obedience - much like IDES' mission partners in Pakistan are doing.
"Thousand families are still there looking for medical facilities and relief. They have no electricity and no clean drinking water, medical center is 50 km far from that place but people of that place are open hearted," our partner said. "Our vision and purpose for this project is to reach the ignored Hindu and Muslim people...for their physical and spiritual growth. [Medical Clinics] are one of our best ways to reach them with the Word of God."
In a country distraught by recent terror-attacks and ongoing religious/political violence, those who are suffering from disease and/or hunger and malnutrition are pushed to the rural outskirts of society and ignored. Coincidentally, those who are relegated to low-income positions are much more likely to suffer from disease and/or hunger and malnutrition. This connection results in the often-witnessed instance of extremely impoverished communities of people living in rural areas far from basic necessities like food and medicine.
Since 1973, IDES has practiced the evangelism model that Jesus and his disciples laid out for us: meet the physical needs first, then step through the now-open door to meet their spiritual need of the Gospel.
For example, a hungry or hurting person will neither understand the message nor trust the messenger unless physical assistance is lovingly offered first. Time and time again, this model has proven effective in building God's Kingdom and adopting more brothers and sisters into the body of Christ, including our recent Hunger Relief and Medical Care project in Pakistan.
"We were able to help out 200 families with medical facility and rations ( Food Bags ) where the Word of God was shared at the start of the program keeping Christ at first place," our partner reported. Of those 200 families, three Hindu individuals and one Muslim converted to faith in Jesus Christ and were baptized. Many more expressed a never-before-seen "openness of heart" as our partner described to us.
By the grace of God, you are making these stories a reality. We are living in an extraordinarily opportune time in history to make an eternal difference in the lives of nonbelievers. Together, we can and will continue to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ by meeting the physical needs of suffering families throughout the world.
One of the pastors in Pakistan shared the following story (please pardon the broken English):
"Zeenab Bibi , an old Muslim lady of 60 years is struggling for her life , she is working at is her own home , as well as she is working at the rich one's houses (cleaning and washing) for her needs She is too old to do so even than she is doing. I had tears in my eyes when the lady said "I've four sons and all of them left me and kicked me out of their houses." The wrinkles, week eyesight and the old age is the sign that she should sit at her home and take rest but she needs food and medicines to live, she is working and struggling for rest of her life. She is very glad to hear about Jesus Christ who send us , we share word of God with her and give her small tape recorder ( of New testament ). She accept the Lord Jesus Christ and baptized. She is thankful for IDES for this food bags and medical treatment!"