Thanks be to God for His inexpressible gift!

Barnabas frees total of 2,023 Pakistani Christian brick-kiln families from debt bondage

 

“I never thought I would pay off my loan in its entirety, but now that Barnabas Aid has done so, I literally bow down to my Saviour God for thanking Him.”

These are the grateful words of husband and father Ibrahim, from just one of the 219 Christian families newly released by Barnabas Aid from bonded labour in Pakistan’s brick kilns.

It brings to 2,023 the total number of brick-kiln families whose lives have been transformed since Barnabas stepped in to begin freeing them from their debts in 2017.

This is a “miracle”

Ibrahim, who lives in a one-room house with his wife and son, gives thanks to Barnabas supporters for meeting his total accrued debt of £424 ($509; €467).

“Having someone completely unknown come to me and pay off my loan is a miracle for my family and myself,” he explains. “We will always be grateful.”

Brick-kiln workers are low paid, and their work is subject to weather disruptions, making it hard for them to meet their families’ basic needs during the rainy season.

If someone falls sick or another family crisis occurs, they have to take a loan from their employer, the brick-kiln owner.

Interest on the loan is then deducted from their wages and repayment can go on for years, even generations. The families have to subsist on reduced wages for as long as the debt remains. While they have the debt, they are bonded to the brick kiln, unable to leave and get another job. It is almost like slavery.

Couple doubly blessed

“God has answered me and my family’s prayers that He sent Barnabas Aid to our village and pulls me out from the curse of loan from my brick kiln,” says Rashid.

He took out a loan to pay for medical treatment for his wife Rafiya. Thanks to the success of the lengthy treatment, Rafiya was able to conceive and learned she was expecting their first child just as Rashid heard that Barnabas was going to repay his debt of £863 ($1,036; €949).

“I have no words to thank my Lord Jesus Christ who not only blessed me with a child but also freed us from the heavy burden of the loan,” says Rashid.

“Thanks be to God for His inexpressible gift!” he adds, referencing 2 Corinthians 9:15.

Rashid now receives his wages in full and is able to save a little money for the family’s future. Moreover, he has money to pay for milk to feed his son Adan.

“I pray every day for Barnabas Aid and its team that God use them abundantly for the glory of His name and that thay can reach the unreached,” he says.

Rashid and Rafiya with their son Adan

Freed from repayments worry

Sanwal had to take out a loan after he had an accident at work and had to take time off from his labours in the brick kiln.

Even when earning again, he struggled to meet the daily needs of his wife Razia and daughter Kajal while maintaining the loan repayments. “I was so worried because I couldn’t repay my loan amount back regularly. Therefore my loan amount increased every passing day,” he explains.

Sanwal was overjoyed when Barnabas paid off his debt.

He is also thankful to Barnabas for building a Christian school nearby where his daughter receives a free education.

“I want to express my gratitude to Barnabas,” says Sanwal, “and my sincere prayers are being sent to the entire team.”

Sanwal and Razia with their daughter Kajal