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!