Friday, December 31, 2010
Christmas Cheer for Poor Brick Kiln Workers in Pakistan
They Received Food from a Christian Ministry
By Ashfaq Fateh
Special to ASSIST News Service
TOBA TEK SINGH, PUNJAB, PAKISTAN (ANS) -- Following the shocking news that hundreds of poor Christian brick kiln workers were denied their wages before Christmas in Toba Tek Singh, a district in the Pakistani province of Punjab, has come the good news that some 30 of them received a Christmas boost when a Christian ministry distributed special food packages to them.
Each ration pack contained twenty kilogram of wheat flour (staple food of Pakistan), sugar, cooking oil, lentils, rice, noodles, soaps for bath and for washing clothes, as well as crockery, tea and milk etc.
Pastor Victor Samuel of God’s Grace Ministries welcomed the poor workers and shared the work of his ministry with the workers and church members who were also attending.
He told the gathering that when he came to know these workers had not been paid their wages despite the heavy work they were doing, he could not "sleep well and prayed day and night" and shared the situation with his church and friends outside Pakistan.
“Today, God’s Grace Ministries is pleased to share the love of Jesus Christ at this difficult time with our poor brothers and sisters.”
He went on to say, “I believe that God takes care of His people. You, my brothers and sisters, have worked day and night and have been struggling for fixed wages and for your other social and economic rights and many of you have not even been paid you wages and the owners are violating the law of having to pay fixed wages.
“Our gathering today is a message to all those who exploit faithful people of God like yourselves. He never leaves His people alone. He opens new horizons for His people. A man can deprive the other man, but the Heavenly Father would never do this. Today, we all the brothers and sisters are happy and thanking God with one spirit.”
Munir Gill, President of the Brick Kiln Workers Union, thanked God’s Grace Ministries for the “generous help for the starving kiln workers” and for "praying for them."
Buta Masih, a kiln worker told ANS that “God’s Grace Ministries is a hope for poor. I pray that God will bless their work and their team.”
Bashir Misah, another kiln worked said, “My children did not eat anything sweet at Christmas, but now this evening we will have nice meal.”
Another worker, Anwar Masih told ANS, “Every Christmas my family likes to cook rice and make special a Christmas cake and despite our financial problems, this year, this will again be made possible with the help of God’s Grace Ministries. Thanks to all those who provide these things!”
As an ANS special correspondent in Pakistan, I have also been able to witness the work done by this committed Christian group for the flood affected people in Khabar Pakhtoon Khawa (KPK) and Punjab Provinces. This ministry has distributed ration packs, conducted free medical camps and has shared the Word of God among the hundreds and thousands in Pakistan.
The ministry has been running a school for the poor children where the children are provided free quality education, Christian formation. Free meal is also served every day which is rare in a country like Pakistan.
It has also set up a women’s skill transformation center where women are taught skills of sewing which enable them to earn her livelihood once they have completed the course.
What made this special event so special was that ANS has learned there are hundreds of Christian families working as kiln workers who have not been paid the legally fixed wages and they are living below the poverty line. And, at least a few of them, received some wonderful Christmas cheer at the time of their greatest need.
To see the event where the brick kiln workers were fed, please go to: www.youtube.com/watch?v=AGn-P6bOuVE
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