I am Mrs Azra Imran, 50 years old and mother of four boys. I have been working with the Shine Society (Sharing Hope in Needs/Emergencies), a Christian relief and development organisation, since January 2012 as Programme Manager of its Community Development Programme. The months of March and April 2021 were very busy for me as we were simultaneously working on three community development and relief projects. During this period I had to interact with many people in the community of Islamabad and Rawalpindi. I observed all the required Covid-19 procedures, but on 14 April 2021 I became the victim of Covid-19 virus as my test result was positive.
I quarantined myself at home and that period was very tough for me. In my 50 years’ life this was the first time I suffered from a disease for such a long period. I surrendered my situation into Almighty God’s hands and started reflecting upon the book of Jeremiah that proved so encouraging for me. I learned that a number of times God let the people of Israel become the captives of pagan regimes due to their sins, but in the end He restored them by His everlasting love and exalted them among the nations. Along with that I was singing all the time the worship song written by Dr Patrick Sookhdeo Walk with me, Jesus 1 (Urdu translation “Yessu chal mere saath, andhairy hey raat, Yessu chal mere saath”2) particularly when at night I woke up and then started singing that worship song.
I am thankful to God from the depths of my heart that He blessed me with the rich experience of His Grace and love in my sufferings that strengthened my faith more. I am also thankful to my husband and children who provided all necessary support and never let me feel any isolation or despair. I am also thankful to my fellow team members and friends for their intercessory prayers and love. By the Grace of God my Covid-19 test is now negative and I have started taking part in the daily chores of life.
In the sufferings of a believer the Word of God, praise and prayer cause the miraculous power of God to move and our sufferings turn into opportunities to strengthen our faith and be His witnesses that draw us closer to God and bless us with the lovely feelings and experience of the amazing fellowship of our fellow believers.
Barnabas Fund supports the work of Shine, which runs Christian schools for Christian children in the slums of Islamabad and arranges apprenticeship opportunities for Christian young people.
1 Patrick Sookhdeo, With the Eye of Faith: Meditations and Prayers, p.51 (Isaac Publishing, 2020).
2 The Urdu version of the song (with English subtitles) was sung at the Barnabas Fund Supporters’ Event broadcast on 27 March 2021. www.barnabasfund.org/supporters-event-march-2021/
Project References: 41-1318 (Schools), PR1531 (Apprenticeships)