From the Superintendent's DESK
The Country Director for Pakistan, Felix Panganayi, and Zimbabwe Board Member, Onias Chitanda, both from the Southern Africa headquarters, made a week-long visit to Pakistan. While there, they held services at various locations to encourage the saints, preach the fundamental doctrines, and pray for the sick.
They arrived on Thursday, March 23, and received a warm welcome at the airport. The next day, they met with Shabeeb Nadeem, who pioneered the Pakistan work two years ago, and several saints who are eager to help carry it forward.
The meeting began with everyone sharing their testimonies of salvation, and these were very inspiring. Then Brother Felix gave a sermonette in which he touched on sanctification. Afterward, the workers expressed appreciation for more clarity on this foundational experience.
On Saturday, the team from headquarters, accompanied by members of the Nadeem family and other workers, held a service in downtown Faisalabad. It was attended by seventy-seven adults and half as many children. The service began with a short session of praise and worship through music led by Brother Shabeeb’s older brother, Zaigham. Then, following the opening prayer, welcome, and congregational singing, testimonies were given. Many were eager to testify, but there was only time to hear from ten. One woman said she had suffered from an illness due to demonic attacks, but when she presented herself to the Lord, He saved and healed her. Another testified that when she came to the Lord, He saved her and healed her eyesight and inability to walk properly.
The message considered the origin of sin and its remedy based on texts from Genesis 3:1-5; John 3:5-6; Galatians 5:19-21; and 1 John 3:8-9. The service concluded with an altar call, which was answered by all. Though there were no altar benches, everyone prayed in their seats. Nearly twenty went forward to be prayed over, and one man who had been experiencing sharp pains near his heart was instantly healed. Also, two women and one man prayed through to salvation!
For the Sunday morning service, Brothers Felix and Onias drove to the Nadeem family home in Toba Tek Singh, the headquarters location for the Pakistan work. As they neared the house, they were greeted by an enthusiastic congregation lining both sides of the street, smiling and waving.
The living room served as the primary assembly area for the 190 adults and thirty children in attendance. The women and children sat on the floor while the men sat on a large carpet outside. The service commenced with songs of praise, an opening prayer offered by Brother Zaigham, and a congregational song. Then several testimonies were shared, declaring victory over sin. The message focused on repentance and salvation, using John 3:1-7 as the key text. An emphasis was placed on the evidence of salvation—overcoming sin.
Brother Onias gave the closing prayer, and there was a good response to the altar call. As individuals prayed in their seats due to space constraints, one young girl received salvation and sanctification. Many went forward to request prayer for various ailments, and one man reported being healed of pain in his knees. A woman who had a neurological ailment for fifteen years was prayed for and said she felt God’s healing touch.
Three locations were visited on Monday. The first was a charity preschool operated by the Nadeem family. The majority of the children enrolled are from Christian families who face financial difficulties. The team observed an end-of-term ceremony in which the children received awards of medals and shields for their academic achievements. Then they met with three teachers before praying for the children, teachers, and leaders.
Next, they went to a brick kiln to meet with a group of seventeen adults and three children who are bonded to work there because of debts. Brother Shabeeb ministers in thirty-five such places where the people live in abject poverty. They work for three dollars per day, with half of that taken to pay their debts. A typical debt is three to six hundred dollars, so there is little hope of repaying it and getting out of poverty. Many Christians end up in brick kilns because, being in the minority, they cannot own land and have limited access to education. The team held a brief church service to encourage the group and give them hope.
In the evening, a service was held at Shorkot City with ninety adults and thirty-five children in attendance. Brother Onias preached from Matthew 6:33 and Luke 4:18-19 on seeking God first. The congregation received the Word eagerly, and all answered the altar call. In addition, nearly twenty went forward after the meeting for prayer. One mother brought her son, because he is struggling in school, and a young couple requested prayer for God to bless them with children. Before leaving, Bibles were distributed to about fifteen new converts.
Brothers Felix and Onias are expected to return home on Friday. We are thankful for their good report of the Gospel taking hold in Pakistan. Let’s pray for the new converts to become grounded in the faith and for many more to embrace the truth.