“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” ~ Psalm 139:13-14
For Women’s History Month, we are sharing wisdom from our sisters in Christ on a very common and natural part of their lives and ministries – the tragedy of abortion and crisis pregnancy. Today, we share Rina’s* experience. Read from Jandi* in Nepal and Priya* in India.
Rina* and her husband Darpan*, our Bangladesh coordinator, work together as a couple to address abortion and unplanned pregnancy. While pastoring together, and overseeing the ministries of over 50 other men and women, this work fits into their daily life and Gospel vision. Much of Rina’s ministry is evangelism, discipleship, and Bible studies in the slum areas of her city. Her ministry is predominately to Muslims.
“Women and families are completely in the dark about family planning. They aren’t able to care for the children they keep having, and they are dying.
When I went to the slums in the beginning, I faced problems because Muslims keep me out and treat me uneasily. But when I became familiar with them, I became close to them. I saw their problems close up. I began to see unplanned pregnancy and abortion was a huge problem for them. Many Muslims are getting secret abortions. Now I am able to talk to them about this problem and about their health. I purchased items they needed for family planning on my own and began teaching women about this. They now have made a habit of it and are buying it themselves. When I pray with them – I say ‘Close your eyes in prayer so you can open you heart.’ After prayer, we talk about family planning. Sometimes they feel shame talking about condoms. They are afraid to tell their husbands to use them. In Muslim communities – men aren’t willing to use contraceptives, but the women want to. They see the need.
One of the biggest issues the women face in the slums is that the men do not respond well to family planning. Because they believe Allah is sending everything, and so doing this is bad. They need counseling and more counseling. People are so hard. We have to talk a lot, a lot, a lot.”
Pastor Darpan says, “Rina is doing hard work with counseling. She has done this with 15 families in the slum areas. Families are beginning to take responsibility on their own.
Rina’s plan is that she wants to implement a family planning program. There are a lot of needs on the village level too, not just slums. When we share the Gospel, we would also conduct education on family planning. Rina, Napti*, Drishti*, Rosni*, and other women in our ministry – they think this kind of project would be very helpful. Also, having a mother and child care program – teaching breastfeeding and other topics. And when a new mother becomes pregnant, we can take care of her first trimester, with advice on how to take care of herself and her baby. The male missionaries would like to have a group meeting to talk about it in the villages they do ministry. If the Tribal leader is in agreement, then the whole village will go along with it.”
Read from Jandi in Nepal and Priya in India.
*Names changed for safety