On Easter weekend in Lahore, Pakistan, a suicide bomb worn by a local Taliban-affiliated man went off in the middle of a crowd of Christian brothers and sisters who were celebrating together in a park.
Over 75 people were killed. More than 300 men, women, and children sustained injuries, many of which now require ongoing treatment and maintenance. The majority of Christian families in Pakistan, which make up only 2% of the country's population, are extremely poor. Although the country has improved its poverty rates tremendously in the last decade, there are still thousands of families who are very poor, Christian, Muslim, and otherwise. These families, especially those affected by the attack, cannot afford long-term medical care.
Here's where you enter the story.
Thanks to your generous support, IDES provided the supplies and medicines for our mission partners in Pakistan to host a medical camp for both the victims of the bombing and other poor community members.
"At our medical and eye camps poor people were treated freely with care, love, compassion and mercy," our partner reported.
People from all different faith backgrounds with a wide variety of medical needs attended the medical camp to receive much needed treatment and medication. Many of those who attended the camp were practicing Muslims, and the generosity of the Christian workers made a significant impact on the way Christians were perceived in the community.
"When the poor patients got free treatment and free medicines at their doors, they were very thankful and happy," our partner said. "At the camp we had Muslim patients who [are] starting to know who the Good Shepherd is."
When Jesus was in the Synagogue during his visit to his hometown of Nazareth, he stood up and read from the prophet Isaiah (cited from Luke 4:16-19):
"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."
IDES and our mission partners strive to continue these ministries of Christ, putting the Gospel of Jesus at the center of all the projects we complete for those in desperate need of assistance. When God's people are willing to meet the physical needs of those in need, the door is opened and the message is more accepted when the Gospel is shared, based upon the physical proof of God's love through His people's actions.
The medical camp in Pakistan also attracted the attention from other local medical professionals. One prominent medical Muslim doctor said, "We are thankful to our Christian friends who serve suffering humanity selflessly like Messiah, who healed lepers, blinds, and untouchable people without discrimination." This is the testimony that your partnership with IDES makes possible.
At the medical camps a total of 375 men, 267 women, and 134 children were treated and cared for in their individual needs.
"We are thankful to IDES organization which is always ready to help us," our partner in Pakistan said. "Through the help of IDES we will reach many unreached patients."
Let us continue to care for the poor, both medically and otherwise, long into the future together!