September 18, 2023

Pray for Pakistan

A‌n emerging Apostolic Faith ‌work in Pakistan was ‌featured in a presentation ‌given on July 3 at the Portland camp meeting. The program started with a welcome and prayer given by Superintendent General Darrel Lee. Then a series of speakers shared information about current conditions in Pakistan, the miraculous way in which our work there began, the status of the work, and plans for the future. Following is a summary of the presentation.

The first speaker gave a brief introduction of the country, highlighting its history and current conditions. The Islamic Republic of Pakistan was founded in 1947 with borders drawn to include almost exclusively people of the Muslim religion. Consequently, today the Pakistani population is 96.6% Muslim and less than 2% Christian, with most of the Christians being Catholic and few having a true understanding of repentance and salvation. The nation is known to have extreme persecution against those who convert from Islam to Christianity, and evangelism is strictly prohibited. However, the less than 2% who are from generationally Christian homes can practice their faith freely. At the same time, Christians in Pakistan face other major challenges because they are treated as second-class citizens, are excluded from much of society, and often live in perpetual poverty.

The next speaker related how the work in Pakistan began. In September of 2021, a Pakistani youth named Shabeeb Nadeem noticed an encouraging social media post from an Apostolic Faith Church. After a prompt from the Lord, he began joining the online services that were being held by our church in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada. Then he started corresponding with the Fort McMurray pastor, Reverend Marjorie Reid. Though Shabeeb had been taught Bible lessons from his childhood, he had never learned how to receive forgiveness for his sins, and he was longing for something more from God. He had questions about Bible doctrines, and Reverend Reid took time to expound the teachings to him, as well as point him to resources on the Portland headquarters website. With prayerful encouragement from the saints in Fort McMurray, Shabeeb prayed in his home and was wonderfully saved. He said, “That day was incredibly joyful for me. I felt a weight lifted from my heart and a burden that I had been carrying on my heart. . . . I was in darkness, and Someone brought me to the light.”

Shabeeb started attending more online church services and studying the doctrines of the Apostolic Faith Church. He tells what he found: “The doctrines and teachings of this church were right according to the Bible. No other church near us introduced me to the actual meaning of salvation, sanctification, and the baptism of the Holy Ghost, which are very important in a Christian’s life.” Soon, he invited his immediate and extended family members to join the online services, and many of them also received salvation. 

Over the course of the next year, the believers in Fort McMurry and Pakistan developed a love for each other that can only be found in the family of God. Shabeeb translated sermons from the Fort McMurray church and the Portland headquarters website into the Urdu language, and then shared them with people in nearby villages. Hundreds of people responded and received salvation, and members of the congregation in Fort McMurry helped by providing Bibles for the new converts. The Apostolic Faith family in Pakistan quickly grew, and Reverend Reid reported their hunger and appreciation for the truth was beautiful to see. The saints in Canada also sent food aid when flooding devastated large parts of the country, and helped provide housing to a family in desperate need. In addition, the Sunday school children provided warm clothing for children in Pakistan who struggled with cold in the winter months.

In the fall of 2022, Shabeeb contacted Reverend Lee for the first time by email. Reverend Lee said he was initially very cautious about this new and unknown group, but he has been encouraged to see a genuine love of the Gospel in Pakistan. He invited Shabeeb to meet in person at the Southern Africa camp meeting in Zimbabwe in December of 2022. There, Shabeeb received sanctification and the baptism of the Holy Spirit. He said the camp meeting was the most beautiful time of his life and added, “When I came back, there was no fear inside of me. I was fully equipped to preach the Gospel and preach the Apostolic Faith in Pakistan.”

During the Zimbabwe camp meeting, it was determined that the work in Pakistan would be overseen by our Southern Africa headquarters, and in January of 2023, Felix Panganayi of Zimbabwe was appointed as Pakistan Country Director. He first met with the Pakistani saints online to give instruction about outreach efforts and the use of Sunday school curriculum. Then in March he traveled to Pakistan in person, accompanied by Onias Chitanda, a Member of the Southern and Eastern Africa Board of Trustees. He related that he expected to encounter hostility toward Christians in the Islamic nation, but he was relieved to discover that it was safe to preach at church services. He said the services usually had over one hundred in attendance and the people received the Gospel message eagerly, with many receiving salvation and physical healing from the Lord. 

During the March trip, Reverend Panganayi was also taken to a brick kiln, where Christians are used essentially as slave labor and live in impoverished and unsanitary conditions. The workers are in debt to the kiln owners and their minimal salary is divided between wages and debt payment. The payments are structured in such a way that the debt will never be paid off, but instead will be inherited by the workers’ children. At the same time, with no means to pay for schooling, the children will likely have no other option than to enter the same line of work. 

The Nadeem family has been trying to help these workers for some time by offering elementary school classes for the children. This has been a great opportunity to teach about the Lord while also providing a valuable education and hope for the future. In the summer of 2023, a second strategy to aid the brick kiln workers was implemented: raising goats has been introduced as a new source of income. We pray the livestock will be highly profitable and a blessing to these families. In the meantime, church teams will continue visiting numerous brick kilns to share about salvation and encourage the laborers’ faith. 

Another major focus of the work in Pakistan is sending teams to new villages to preach repentance and salvation through Christ. Our work is located in the northeastern part of the country, and so far, our teams have held services in at least 35 of the 530 villages in that district. Distributing Bibles continues to be a crucial aspect of the work; in May of this year, more than 200 Bibles were given to adults who were newly saved, as well as 50 to children. In June and July, about 100 more Bible were given away. We hope to soon have audio Bibles as well for those who are unable to read. 

Looking toward the future, the saints plan to establish regular prayer meetings in more locations, begin holding youth services, and hold a camp meeting. They also continue to meet regularly for services with Reverend Panganayi through an online platform.

In addition, with over 700 Pakistanis attending services regularly in four different locations, Reverend Panganayi has taken steps to purchase property in Pakistan for our first church building. This is a prerequisite for registering our church with the government.

The July 3 presentation closed with the testimonies of several who received salvation through this new work. We thank God for what He is doing in Pakistan and the many lives that have already been transformed. As we serve the Lord in our own locations, may we all remember to pray for Pakistan!


On August 16, a violent Muslim mob attacked Christian churches and homes in the city of Jaranwala, located about twenty-five miles southeast of the city of Faisalabad. Up to five thousand people arrived from other districts to carry out the assault after radical Muslim clerics made calls to punish individuals in Jaranwala accused of violating Pakistan’s strict blasphemy laws. Reports indicate that twenty-six churches were destroyed and over two hundred families in Christian settlements were displaced after their homes had were burned. Other homes were ransacked and looted. 

On August 27, a team of Apostolic Faith workers visited Jaranwala to provide relief and support to the victims. They distributed cots and kitchen items to twenty-five families and gave away more than one hundred Bibles. They also encouraged the families with Scripture and prayer. These were received with gratitude and relief, and requests were made for the teams to return monthly to teach more Bible doctrines.

Brother Shabeeb shared encouraging reports about the faith of believers in Jaranwala. He related their comments, “We are not worried; the Lord will build our homes,” and, “If they burn the churches, the Lord will build more churches all over Pakistan.”

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