Monthly Archives: November 2015


Pity or Friendship? A Pastor’s Dilemma

pity or friendship? a pastor's dilemmaA leader of a disability ministry in India was approached by an Indian pastor to speak at a program his church wanted to host. The church decided they would have a special lunch program to feed the many leprosy-affected people who sat outside the entrance of the church grounds Sunday after Sunday begging for money and food.

The pastor thought it would be a great idea to get his congregation involved in a practical form of ministry that served these pitifully poor and destitute people in ways that resembled Christ’s service to the poor. He wanted the disability ministry leader to provide a word of special encouragement to them because they were all badly disfigured and disabled as a result of this horrible disease.

Upon hearing the pastor’s proposal, the disability ministry leader asked, “Are you planning on having the leprosy affected people join your congregation and sit with your people in the pews after this program?” The pastor was noticeably caught off guard by the question. He hadn’t thought about that. The disability ministry leader then said, “If you and your congregation aren’t willing to see these people sitting in your church worshiping with you on Sundays and becoming a part of your congregation why are you having a special lunch for them? They don’t need your pity. They need your friendship and a sense of belonging to something that brings them closer to God and others.”

This was obviously more than the pastor had bargained for and he went away claiming his congregation wasn’t quite ready for that kind of commitment. The disability ministry leader realized their proposed lunch program was more about themselves than the leprosy affected people they saw every Sunday sitting outside the entrance of their church grounds.


How Handicrafts Empower


Begum using her sewing machine

Twenty-six-year old Begum is a creative and ambitious young woman, who did an 8-month vocational tailoring course and a three-month internship training at Equip Asia’s training center in South Asia in 2010. She lives with her parents, brothers and sisters, some of whom are married now.  

Born into an extremely poor family, Begum was affected by polio when she was nine months old. This has caused her left leg to be weak and now she walks with difficulty taking the support of her knee. She went to the village school and studied till the 10th grade but discontinued because her  family did not want her to study further and asked her to take care of her younger siblings instead.

After her vocational training she began fulfilling order for Equip Asia and worked from home. Along with the work she does for Equip Asia she also takes orders from people in her community. Home-based work is very convenient for her since since the community is not handicapped accessible and most jobs in the village are labor intensive. 

Currently, she has started a  tailoring class in her home with four girls and she earns a decent income and supports her family. The financial condition of Begum’s family has improved ever since she started her own tailoring class.

During her stay at Equip Asia’s center, Begum attended all the spiritual activities regularly; she became a disciple of Christ and was baptized. She also attended Equip Asia’s leadership training program. Because of these spiritual and capacity building activities she has the confidence and skills to lead Equip Asia’s tailoring training in her village. Now, Equip Asia is planning to help her set-up a small tailoring unit there.

She said, “Before I was a very shy girl, I was nothing in past days, people looked down on me. Many times I wanted  to die, but now Jesus has given me His strength to lead my community with Christ’s love. Now, I am the main income earner for my family.”

Begum’s faith is strong and she has started witnessing to her family members. Now her parents are also showing interest in knowing Jesus.