Thank you so much for praying for the trip to Pakistan. There is much to tell.
First up, impressions of Pakistan: It is poor and far more Indian and far less Middle Eastern in its culture, language and worldview. After the violence of the last decade, Lahore is now safe again for foreigners to visit. We did not see a lot of mosques and I was told that if you approach the topic respectfully, you can have a conversation about Jesus with most culturally Muslim people. On that note, most Pakistanis don’t seem that serious about Islam. The visible rituals of Islam are not followed to any great extent and there are far fewer mosques than in the Middle East. It is a lot more like Kazakhstan than Saudi Arabia. I was told there are at least four Christian TV stations in Lahore alone, broadcasting to the whole country and the Middle East. That fact alone tells you a lot. Because Pakistan is a democracy and a lot of voters watch these TV stations, the government has never threatened to take them off the air. Lots of Pakistanis are hearing the gospel.
Regarding the trip, we were there one full week. We were always under the protection of security because of the large size of our team, which was greatly appreciated. We were slotted in to do a large scale prayer festival the next night, a Christian evangelism rally in any other language. However it was washed out by a thunderstorm! So our hosts, the gracious and generous leaders of Isaac TV, hastily convened a pastors leadership conference at which I spoke about the importance of discipleship instead of just making converts, praying for the harvest and looking for persons of peace.
The next night we conducted a satellite prayer festival some two hours north of Lahore at which we saw some 1,500 people attend. We conducted several more of these types of meetings over the next few nights and in all of these our hosts consistently said to us that about one third of those attending were from a Muslim cultural background, fantastic news to my ears. Many people indicated they wanted to follow Jesus, but as is always the case in large meetings, you don’t know the ins and outs of any of those decisions. There was one incident that stood out that first night. After mass prayer for healing they then had healing testimonies. One village woman displayed her five year old walking and said it was the first time the child had ever walked in its life!
Nightly meetings continued in similar vein for the next few days. In between I was interviewed for an Isaac TV program on prayer, sharing two testimonies of healing in my own life and praying for viewers who may have similar problems. That was a personal highlight of the trip because two years ago I began praying for the Holy Spirit to move in Muslim majority countries and initially had no idea what that would lead to. Now here I was preaching the power of Jesus on air to thousands all over Pakistan!
One day we had the privilege of visiting a community of brick-making debt slaves and setting one family free. This was made possible through the donation of one of our backers in Australia. It was a difficult day for me emotionally as I was witnessing first-hand the shocking injustice experienced by these people because of one bad debt resulting in multi-generational slavery. In the end the Lord reminded me that I too was a slave to sin until I were redeemed by his blood sacrifice. We baptised 50 people that day, so we will see many in heaven, free at last. We will be publicising their plight widely so that many others can be freed.
The final night saw a replay of the washed out main meeting some two hours out of Lahore, and it too was subject to a thunderstorm! The place was a mess, so we prayed and the rain immediately lifted. They brought in truckloads of soil, replaced the carpets and the meeting went ahead with some 10,000 in attendance, less than expected due to the rain. It was a crazy night; Lots of music, prayer, powerful preaching on the sacrifice of Jesus, praying for the sick (with one testimony of a small girl having a tumour disappear from her neck), handing out 1,380 Bibles randomly to the crowd…and it didn’t finish till midnight! After a two hour high speed police escort back to Lahore we were on a plane out of the country by 5am!
What happens now? Well I managed to meet up with an old Pakistani friend whom I have known for 25 years. My wife and I paid for his children’s education in Lahore for over a decade and we trust each other implicitly. He has a church of 4-500, a missions vision but no tools for discipling or multiplying disciples as he is stuck in the western mould of church. I have the opposite; lots of experience at underground church, knowledge of discipling, but no one to train. We old men decided to put the “boat” out into the deep and see if we can catch some fish!
So early next year I will go back and do the opposite of what I did last week. I will have nightly home-based meetings of local believers and train them in how to become fishers of men. I believe Jesus wants to start a movement in Lahore that grows exponentially as his did between Luke 3-10 (He actually wants that everywhere so it’s a no-brainer) All such movements are birthed in prayer so I will be fasting and praying weekly from now till next year as that is what Jesus did before starting his mass movement and he is the model for us to follow.
Conclusion: It was one of the craziest weeks of my life. I was with a great team of YWAM’ers and if it was not for this first trip I would not be doing the second trip. Only Jesus knows the long term impact of what we have just done, and the long term impact of what will happen next year.
Once again, thank you so much for all your prayer support. The Holy Spirit is indeed moving in Pakistan.