Younas and Martha Martin are from a small Christian community in Lahore, Pakistan. While looking for a school to send their daughter to, they researched the top U.S. universities to see which ones had the strongest family values. They ultimately decided upon Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. After their daughter married and settled down in early 2015, she learned about a type of family communication and parenting called, “Teaching Self-Government.” This began a chain of events that today 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’s just what Younas and Martha Martin did. They called me.
Through phone calls and emails, I learned about the work they were doing in Pakistan with a Catholic program called “Family Life.” This program helps women and children in their Christian community and around their area. It’s designed to strengthen family relationships, improve character and protect the sanctity of human life.
“What a small world!” I thought. Our family had also just been approached by the “Family Life” office for the Catholic Diocese in Kenya. They requested for us to come to Kenya for 3 weeks to train the leaders in the Catholic church 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’re requested to go 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.
Each month the Martins invited their community to gather in their home for lessons about being calm, strengthening couple relationships, and establishing loving but firm parenting skills. They have been helping many community members transform their family cultures so that their homes are more emotionally and spiritually safe, as well as empowering.
After a few months of teaching the group, it became too large for the Martin home to handle. They had to look for a larger location. With help from The Worldwide Organization for Women, a nonprofit charity, they located and rented a larger facility for their monthly meetings.
Monthly — 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 emailed me to tell me how her family has drastically changed. She said it was due to focusing on strengthening their family relationships by learning new skills for communication and understanding.
As part of their family outreach and healing, the Martins also prepare clothing and food packages for poor children and women in their community. Each year the Martin’s funds have decreased, 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. Families are our greatest influencers and learning environments for our lives. So, if family life is not feeling calm, loving and united, then the whole family struggles. In fact, our societies and the world also 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, visit wowinfo.org . Since WOW is a registered nonprofit, your donation is tax deductible.