Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A Final Word about Mission Pakistan 2013

The journey for this trip was surely a walk of faith and a test........God had spoken to us that we were supposed to go, worked out many of the details for us in advance, but there were still some things - BIG things- left undone that would cause us to question. For some reason, this time, the total funds never came in. This is the first time that has happened. Then originally there were 5 men planning to go, but only 3 of us actually made the trip. Then the visa obstacle, which has also never happened, took us by surprise. Normally a tourist visa is granted within 5 business days. We had submitted our applications and passports back on February 21. We were to have left originally on April 1, but then through God's protection, we did not receive our visas until April 4. And did not know why until we arrived and heard of the news of the fight which broke out on April 3 which would have been in the place of our first crusade.

To have the privilege of seeing with our own eyes what God is doing in the Muslim world.......I realize that many will never get to experience that first hand. This door may close before we know it, so we are thankful to have been able to walk through the open door while we can. It is truly unbelievable that we would be allowed by the Pakistan government to hold these large meetings and share the Gospel without harm......I'm sure the Commander of Heaven's Army has something to do with that. None of us ever once felt fear or danger, even though we sensed the fragile atmosphere all around us.

Our last evening we met with a group of pastors, actually the last morning after the last service at 1:30 am. We met in the dark, no electricity so we had a battery operated flourescent light, with about 12 pastors and evangelists in a small room in the town of Pattoki. They were hungry for some time with us; due to security, we come in at the last minute for a crusade and then are ushered out as soon as it is over. We spent an hour or so listening to their concerns and needs for how to continue with such a response of over 30,000 people making decisions for Christ. How could they ever begin to follow up with such an overwhelming number of new Christians. David, our evangelist, pointed them to the first church......the same problem when thousands came to Christ on one day; what did the disciples do? They just kept doing what they were doing and God would build His church. There has already been 5 new church starts out of these crusades and more will come. We committed to pray with them and ask the Lord to help in this incredible work. So many of these new converts are illiterate, so you can't tell them to read the Bible or any discipleship material; they are so very poor and also have to now deal with the possibility of threats or trying to hide their conversion. There is an underground church for many of those who come to Christ and are afraid for their safety. But God knows.......He gives special graces and protection to these precious saints. One of the young men whom we prayed over last year was clearly demon possessed; he is now the keeper of the keys to one of the new churches!

And how thankful to have had the great blessing of visiting the Christian colony of St. Joseph only a month after their homes were burned by the Muslim people around them........would we ever have the fellowship of this kind of suffering in Christ? Things are changing here in the US, but in my lifetime, I will more than likely not have this privilege.

So I leave with you the picture that ultimately sums up the purpose for our trip. On one side of this lecturn is a Bible in English & then one in Urdu......with a cloth covering of a Cross, facing the masses. God's Word does not return void. This is what breathed life into every ear and soul that heard. Over 50.000 people heard the Good News. Thank you for lifting us up & praising God with us...HALLELUJAH!

Sunday, April 14, 2013


Well due to a crazy schedule the last couple of days while in Pakistan I was unable to post any updates. But we did arrive home safely Friday morning and actually shared some of our trip with our Sunday School this morning here in Granbury.
The last couple of days were such a blur but full of things we will never forget. I am able to upload videos now, thankfully so will do that periodically this week. On Wednesday, our last day in Pakistan, we were to attend an awards ceremony (that we missed due to late visas) at St. Thomas High School in Lahore. The school met for our benefit re-presenting the program just for us. Mainly because my friend Scott Dix was to present awards named for his daughter, called the Alyssa Award for Best Performance to students and teachers this year. This is an award the administration felt led to give after hearing the story of Alyssa Dix. They presented 3 students and 3 teachers with this award and Scott was able to personally give to each one. Here are the actual awards and then one student and one teacher that was honored in memory of Alyssa Dix.

Right after the award ceremony which was a bit emotional for all of us, we were to visit the area where just last month, over 170 Christian homes were burned by Muslims over a charge of blasphemy, supposedly made by a young boy.  It is against the law in Pakistan now to blaspheme the Koran or the Prophet. After the burning of the homes there was a protest against this law where the doors of St. Thomas school were targeted with teargas bombs from the police. Our coordinators and brothers in Lahore, Azeem & Shehrazer were targeted and have received phone threats since then. This is all so foreign to us......will we ever know this kind of persecution.
So we took what was about a 10 kilometer drive to St. Joseph's Colony. We arrived and the rebuilding was almost completed due to the government's help--since political elections are coming up in May. We met some of the most beautiful people and quickly began to draw a crowd, which was not a good thing, so we were not able to stay long. We did get to pray with a group of them, see their church (below) and encourage these brothers and sisters just with our presence. We would have given anything to have been able to stay and help with the repairs, but the climate is so very fragile still and the police were monitoring all who entered. God Bless the people of St. Joseph's Colony in Lahore.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

2nd Service at Pattoki!

Thank God for what He is doing in this place. We had over 12,000 people cram into the stadium tonight and tomorrow promises to be more....not sure where they will put them. This is so massive....what an opportunity for evangelism! I wish I was able to upload videos for you this year, but due to Pakistan banning Youtube after the Bengazi event, I have no options. What a privilege to be here and to actually sing tonight for the first time & God was with me. Thank you for praying for that to happen. The song I shared was Jesus Messiah. And as you can see in some of the pics we all wore our kameez, the traditional men's clothes. So many raised their hands, stood to their feet and then prayed outloud to receive Christ, but we are not able to count any longer!

Monday, April 8, 2013

1st service in Pattoki!

Receiving the rose lei from a Pakistani pastor.

Scott receiving the rose lei from head of security.

One of the Prayer Warriors leading worship. 
Last night is hard to describe in English....Scott and I sat at breakfast this morning trying to just express to each other what we saw & experienced. And even our cameras can't capture the scene. We arrived after a 2 hour drive in the worst traffic in the world, I promise. People go wherever they want, when they want at whatever speed on whatever kind of transportation they can find; donkey, toyota, foot, bicycle, motorcycle, tractor, bus, rickshaw, 18 wheeler...and it doesn't matter if it's a road or not, they make one or even turn around and go against the traffic. It is truly every man (no woman drivers) for himself!

We arrived in Pattoki and entered through a crowd of over 10,000 people showering us with rose petals. The most humbling thing to to be welcomed in such a way. Scott began to weep as we finally sat down on the platform. Then the pastors from these precious churches honored us with leis made of real rose petals; that was even more humbling, when we really should be the ones honoring them for the persecution they endure on a daily basis. Then they began to sing and shout & even dance on top of each other during the worship, because they are so packed in. Every American Christian should & would be blessed to worship with these brothers and sisters. And some day, you ALL will!

Again asking for your prayers for our health & protection. I could not sing again last night, but that may not be my role this time. After the service two women approached us to pray for them. One was going blind and the other has hepatitis C.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

2nd and final night in Youngsonabad, Pakistan

Young musician named Fakhar (or Bobby!) who learned to play the keyboard we purchased last year! They even sang a couple of worship songs in English for us! Forgot I was in Pakistan for a moment!

Last night was humbling for us as people would come up to the stage asking for us to pray for them for all kinds of reasons... sickness, for being crippled; one man carried his daughter up to us since she could not walk. Barren women asking for children...very much like what the Bible teaches us to do! But tonight we had about 7000 who heard the Gospel, many prayed to receive Christ! David Burk led the simple prayer of repentance and they unashamedly stand and pray outloud. My friend Scott Dix also shared his testimony tonight and many were weeping and applauding all throughout this story of God's mercy & reconciliation in his marriage and family. The videos are too long for me to load via the internet and Pakistan limits Youtube for obvious reasons, but also because the electricity here goes off and on constantly and resets the internet every time, so will have to wait til I get a better location or home to upload. Pray for us, me specifically, I tried to sing tonight and of all times for me to have what I think is laryngitis, I croaked like a teenager in puberty...not good. I may not be singing this time, but God's will be done. For tomorrow we will go and visit the Christians whose homes were burned last month here in Lahore.


Yes, by God's will we have made it back to Pakistan.....FINALLY! And I hope that you can follow my writing as I have had little sleep and am trying to wear off a benadryl . We were to have been here 3 days ago originally. Many of you have been praying and fasting just as the Christians here. Now, after waiting 45 days for visas that should have taken max of 5 days, rebooking all our flights not once, but twice (O so painful), making three trips to the Pakistani Embassy in Houston and above all trying not to question whether or not we were really supposed to be here, even after knowing that God had led us to come back; WE NOW KNOW THE WHY FOR THE DELAY! God was protecting us.

We arrived in Lahore just in time to make it to the first crusade service where the people had gathered only at the last minute (about 3500) since the leaders here had cancelled everything due to our not getting visas in time. A normal crowd is over 10,000. But what we learned when we arrived is that on Wednesday, April 3, in the city we were to have held our first crusade, there was a fight that broke out between Muslims and Christians over, get this, Christian Music!!!  A Christian rickshaw driver (Asian mini taxi) was carrying passengers and had Christian music playing on his mp3 player. They were passing a mosque and one of the passengers shouted out, you must STOP that music now while we are passing in front of the mosque. The taxi driver refused & the passengers turned on him, beating him severely. He called his friends for help & the clash began with guns and fighting. Some were injured and even killed and the tensions ran very high all over the city. This happened the day we were to have begun our first service, April 3. We got our visas April 4!
And this is how....

I made one final trip to Houston on the morning of April 4 to either retrieve our passports or pray that God would allow the approval of our visas at the last minute. And that is what happened. We had rescheduled our flights for the last time to leave that evening at 5:30 pm out of Dallas. I arrived in Houston at 9:45 am and spoke with assistant to the Consulate General who again told me there was no approval; no denial, just no approval. I then said to her, can I tell you a story? I explained that the day prior, we had missed a school awards ceremony at St. Thomas High School in Lahore, where we were to have presented the Alyssa award to students and teachers there for Best Performance. Alyssa is the daughter of Scott & Lori Dix of Granbury, who was taken in 2008 in a car accident; Scott was to help present these awards and to receive one as well. She then asked me, "Why did no one tell me of this before?" I showed her the pictures already posted on Facebook, and then she said, well let me try one more option. And 3 hours later, we had our visas! So, thank you Alyssa for getting us in Pakistan! God is still using her life around the world, literally. I then got in my car & made it to the DFW airport in 3 1/2 hours......God forgive me, but made it just in time.

Now that we are here, the atmosphere has changed due to the tensions of what has happened in Lahore over the past few months. It is much more subdued and the leaders are taking all precautions to make sure we are low profile. You may remember hearing about the burning of 120 Christian homes here a month ago. Pray for God's protection and for our health. I have come down with one of the worst cases of sore throat that I can remember. I could not sing last night and am doubtful for this evening as well.
But God doesn't need me...........He saved probably around 1500-2000 souls last night!