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!