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Everything in my life was worthless

Kathreen Shabaz
Kathreen Shabaz

Kathreen Shabaz, a nurse and an Authorised Lay Minister at St Barnabas, Oldham, was brought up in a Catholic family in Pakistan.

I wouldnt count myself then as Christian. We are three brothers, three sisters and I am the youngest. My Dad wanted us to go to church but I used to look at my watch - to be honest I wasnt listening, just waiting for it to finish.

I became a nurse and also a dancer. I was in charge of an intensive care unit in Karachi aged 20 and teaching dance. I became selfish and proud. On 16 September 2001, a girl came to work with the bible and I said why do you have the Bible? as I was senior to her.

She invited me to come to her bible college. I was fun-loving, just enjoying my life, but I went. I saw the teacher at the front, students on the floor, he was teaching 1 Peter 4 - if it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will it be for the ungodly and the sinner? He said This is college for people who really love God if you are just playing at it, you can go, theres the door. So I went!

That night, I was sharing my room with my sister, and I couldnt sleep, lying awake thinking are you righteous, godly or a sinner? All of a sudden I realised everything in my life was worthless, it didnt matter. I rang the teacher and he said this is Gods calling to you.

My family tried to stop me going to the college. But I decided what God likes is what Im going to do. My teacher told me just love them; they dont know what they are doing.

I didnt want to come to England, but being a Christian was difficult and I was told there would be more opportunities here. In 2005 I came, and I was married four years later. I want to live for God and serve God. My husband and I have been blessed with two children, Jeremiah and Joshua.

I started education in Nazarene college in Didsbury in 2007-08, then I was ordained as a pastor serving the Asian Christian community. One day they told me I was not allowed to preach because Im a woman.

I discovered that the Church of England might be a home. I met Pastor Paul [the Revd Dr Paul Monk is team vicar responsible for St Barnabas] - such a nice man.

Pastor Paul put me forward for ALM training. I now preach and lead prayers and feel encouraged. I truly love what I am doing. I cannot be silent, I want to serve God, who never departs from me; Jesus who loves me more than anyone can. 

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