On the evening of November 18, 2016, I stepped off the plane in Lahore, Pakistan. The Lord had burdened me to make this third visit to spend time in more personal study with one of the ministers. I was greeted by Bro. S and two brothers who escorted me to a nearby family home in the middle of a large Christian community within the city. I was greeted in the traditional Pakistani way with the children of the home throwing rose pedals all over me as I walked into the house.
The Islamic Republic of Pakistan is the second most populous Muslim country in the world and Islam influences daily life. The Muslim call to prayer can be heard all over the city and even in the rural villages. The minority Christian population is evenly split between Catholics and protestants. Any type of criticism of Islam is punished and there is a need for carefulness. It was uncertain if the government would give me a visa, for I was very upfront about the purpose of my missionary visit. An official from the Pakistan Embassy required a visit with me on the phone and also with my host in Pakistan. God’s will was accomplished and they issued me a visa.
While there are sincere people in Pakistan wanting to serve the Lord, many of the minority Christians are Christian in name only. They have no experience or concept of salvation and live in deep sin. Christianity is a traditional background, and many of the people do not attend services or pray. This is true of many nominal Muslims as well. It is true that there is danger and persecution in Pakistan, but it is also true that the international community and even Christians within Pakistan have inflated this danger. There are many corrupt ministries within Pakistan seeking funds from around the world, and using stories of persecution as a means to garner sympathy and support. This in no way should take away from the true persecution and suffering that has been caused to people of faith in this country—some of whom I know and fellowship with there.
After sharing the Word of God with the family the next morning, I was touched when two of the ladies presented me with an offering. On multiple times after a worship service, I was presented with the collected offering. People would share their donations valued as little as five or ten cents, but it was from the heart. As we waited in the city to have a house meeting the next night, a young minster came and washed my feet—thoroughly. When he was finished, I told him to sit down and I would wash his feet. He protested and said “No. You are my spiritual teacher, my elder.” I reminded him of the words of our Lord Jesus to Peter. After this moving experience and spiritual lesson, I felt that if all else was in vain, the trip had been worth it.
Most of my nights were spent at the home of Bro. S who lives in a rural village. The homes are built of brick and the roads are very dusty. Sewer runs openly outside of the houses. Bro. S. pastors a small congregation and oversees a Christian school of about 120 children. There are more girls in attendance than boys as Christian girls face greater opposition in the Muslim-run schools. Many of the families are very poor and have little academic opportunity. The school is providing a wonderful service to the community. There are a few Muslim children in attendance.
Bible Teaching & Prayers for the Sick
We had services and Bible Studies for a number of days in the local chapel. While we could have invited many people to the studies, we were burdened to keep it small and study with just a few local people and a few select ministers. There has been some persecution and opposition there in the past, and we did not want to cause a problem for them. God blessed in the studies and the people testified of understanding. The false doctrine of “tongues” is very prevalent and time was spent studying the subject. God anointed His Word everywhere we went. In every preaching service, the message was kept very simple and plain for ease of translation. There were many sick people who wanted prayer for healing. At one place, we once again encountered devil possession in more than one person. We are thankful for the spiritual victories and for those who sought the Lord in prayer.
Project Christmas Blessing
It took a few days of shopping to prepare for Project Christmas Blessing. I was free to travel in the city and enjoyed my liberty. On one particular trip to the city, I had no translator so I was using google translate in Urdu to try to communicate with my driver and the Muslim shop owners to try to get better deals.
Bro. S. and his wife gave me their room in which to sleep while I was there. It was wonderful to have a clean place to sleep at night and facilities, albeit extremely cold water. We ate chicken about every meal with chapatti. The food is very tasty and I did not get sick until about a week into the trip. God helped me to be able to travel and minister for which I am thankful. The Project Christmas Blessing service was a blessing to many poor children. We paid a Muslim cook to come and prepare chicken and rice for the children and adults after a special service. It was rewarding to see some of the brick kiln people whom I had met in past years.
Traveling within Pakistan
We traveled for about three hours to spend two nights in the largest Christian village in Pakistan. It was the home village of Bro. S and his wife. This village was founded by the Salvation Army in the 1940s when Pakistan became a country.
On one Sunday morning, we had service in the upper room of the home where we stayed. We expected just a few, but 120 people came to the service. That night, we ministered in a family compound. Outside the walls of the village, there is beautiful farmland. We were invited to come preach at a farm the following day. It was a wonderful experience to share the gospel in that setting—the buffalo, crops, people sitting on blankets, neighbors coming in to listen…. There were two boys, ages 6-8, who were completely paralyzed in this village for whom we are praying God’s divine healing. Many couples asked for prayer with a desire to have children.
God looked down with favor upon on us on this trip. I am thankful for the love, hospitality, and desire for God that I found. There are many false spirits at work, but it was such an encouragement to see the zeal and thirst for learning from God’s Word in some of the village young people. Please pray for the gospel work and efforts in Pakistan.