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While looking for a school to send their daughter to, Younas and Martha Martin- from a small Christian community in Lahore, Pakistan, researched highly respected universities in the United States to see which one embraced the most family values. They ultimately decided upon Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. After their daughter married and settled down, she found out about a type of family communication and parenting called “Teaching Self-Government”. This was in the beginning of 2015. This began a chain of events that is transforming whole communities of families in Pakistan.
How It All Began
It’s not every day I get Facebook calls from Pakistan, but that is just what Younas and Martha Martin did. They called me.
After a few phone calls and emails about the work they were doing in Pakistan to help women and children in their Christian community and around their area, I learned that the Martins were part of a Catholic program called “Family Life”. “Family Life” is a program designed to strengthen family relationships, improve character and protect the sanctity of human life.
“What a small world!” I thoughtfully exclaimed. Our family had just been approached by the “Family Life” office for the Catholic Diocese in Kenya to come for 3 weeks to train the leaders in the Catholic church in Kenya who are over family programs. I mentioned this coincidence to the Martins and they said they would love to have our family do a similar training in Pakistan.
Sadly, we just can’t go everywhere we are requested to, for multiple reasons- so I had to tell the Martins I wouldn’t be able to come to Pakistan to train their families. However, helping the families in the Christian communities in Pakistan is a perfect match for the mission of Teaching Self-Government, so I suggested that we donate an online training course to them to use for the “Family Life” group there.
The Martins began by inviting their community to gather in their home each month for lessons about being calm, strengthening couple relationships, and lovingly but firmly parenting children. They have been helping the people transform their family cultures so that their homes are more emotionally and spiritually safe and empowering.
After a few months of teaching, the group was getting to be too large for the Martin home to handle, so they started looking for somewhere larger. With help from The Worldwide Organization for Women, a non-profit charity, they were able to rent a facility for their monthly meetings.
Now, each month, and sometimes more often, the Martins open the doors of their Family Life center in Lahore to teach the self-government principles that are bringing needed peace and understanding in their homes and community.
One recent attendee to the Teaching Self-Government classes reached out to me via email to tell me how her family has so drastically changed, due to their recent focus on strengthening their family relationships and learning new skills for communication and understanding.
As part of their family outreach and healing, the Martins prepare clothing and food packages for poor children and women in their community. Each year the Martins’ funds have gotten smaller, but they still do what they can and try to get others to help too.
No matter where we are around the world, the human family shares one thing in common; the love and need of family. We all have families. They are our greatest influencers and learning environments for our lives. So, if family life is not feeling calm, loving, and united the whole family struggles, and our societies and the entire world struggle. It’s inspiring to see people dedicate the golden years of their lives to making the world a better place and sacrificing so much to bring families closer together.
To donate to the Pakistan Family Life Project go wowinfo.org . Since WOW is a registered non-profit your donation will be tax deductible.