Flight To London

London, England (June 4, 2013)

On the morning of my departure I had coffee with Diane and left for the airport. My flight departed Sydney at 12:30 p.m. via Halifax and Toronto and arrived 17 hours later in London, England where I was to stay overnight. 

The London taxi wanted £24 to take me to the hotel but I was able to get a bus ticket that would take me to the hotel and back for a morning flight for £8.

When I arrived at customs in England, I noticed a family speaking to a customs officer. I overhead the officer telling them that they needed a visa to reach their final destination. The man explained to the customs officer that no one had told him that he needed such a visa. This was a very strong reminder of what happened to me when I traveled to India a few years ago. I found myself praying for this family. It also made me appreciate the visa stamped in my passport all the more.

Flight To Lahore

Lahore, Pakistan (June 5, 2013)

I left the hotel in London at 6:20 in the morning. My flight left at 10:50 so I had some time to relax at the airport before boarding the plane. 

One thing I had not brought with me on this trip was a pair of sunglasses. I wondered if there would be a reasonably priced pair I could purchase for my time in Pakistan. I was surprised at the price they wanted for a simple pair of sunglasses. The cheapest pair I could see was about £80 ($160) with others priced at a £190 ($380). Needless to say I did not buy them. What struck me, however, was the fact that for the price of a pair of sunglasses, I was going to minister the Word of God to over 100 Pakistani believers.

I arrived in Lahore at 2:30 a.m. in 35° temperature. I was greeted by Emmanuel and two other brothers (Harison and Victor). They presented me with flowers and  put a number of floral garlands around my neck. All this attention was somewhat overwhelming. After a number of pictures I was taken to the hotel, arriving at about 4 a.m. 

Gifts and Getting to Know Each Other

Lahore, Pakistan (June 6, 2013)

I went to bed at 5:00 a.m. And got two hours sleep before breakfast at 8. As I was free for the rest of the morning, I was able to get more sleep later. There is an electrical crisis in Pakistan. The power goes on and off all day and night. This caused a problem when using my CPAP machine so I wasn't able to get the sleep I needed. I skipped lunch so that I could get rested up for the seminar the next day. 

I have noticed that Pakistani people are very hospitable. They don't seem to be able to do enough for you. Emmanuel came at 4:00 and we had a good time of fellowship getting to know each other better. This was very helpful and enabled me to get a better sense of his ministry. When he came to my hotel, Emmanuel brought three traditional Pakistani garments. This includes a long shirt known as a "kameez" and a pair of loose fitting pants known as the "shalwar". The shalwar has a cloth belt with it and the kameez is warn with an undershirt. I felt overwhelmed by this generosity. 

Emmanuel and I went out for supper that evening and he insisted on buying me a pair of sandals and shoes to go with the Pakistani clothes he had purchased. 

Emmanuel is not a rich man. He does not have his own home or a vehicle. In doing this for me, however, he was expressing his appreciation for the work I had been doing in providing books for Pakistani believers. By paying him for translating, the money is also providing a source of income for this man of God who lives by faith.


Shahdara – June 7, 2013

I spent the morning relaxing choosing not to have breakfast and lunch to recover from jet lag.  In the afternoon I was able to finalize the three messages I would bring in the evening sessions. 

Emmanuel came to the hotel at 3:30 and helped me to dress in the Pakistani kameez and shalwar. We then left by rickshaw for the church where we would have the meetings. 

The church was located in a large home. One room was used for worship and could hold about 100 people. About eighty people were present for the meeting that evening. 

As, is the custom, I removed my sandals before preaching. I spoke three times in the evening with a short break between each message. I felt the Lord wanted me to speak on the subject of knowing His presence and walking in intimacy with Him. 

The power went out two or three times during the preaching, leaving us in complete darkness. We simply continued speaking. This is quite common in Pakistan with the electricity shortage. 

Singing was quite different from what I had experienced before. Unlike many countries I have been in, it had no western influence. It was quite refreshing to see that their music was a reflection of their own culture. There were two musical instruments used. The first was a small hand pumped organ. It was played with the right hand and the left hand was used to pump it. The other instrument was a set of drums which provided the rhythm. 

I was asked to present a copy of our translation of the commentary on Matthew, Mark and Luke (volume 1) to the pastors present. Copies were then handed out to the other believers by helpers.

Before going home, everyone was also given a food box containing a meal of chicken and rice. We hired a cook to prepare this for the participants. I was back at the hotel by11:00.

Stolen Books

Gulshan Ravi, Pakistan – June 8, 2013

I had the morning and afternoon to rest and prepare for the evening. It is a challenge to get a sense of the Lord's leading for each session. The Lord seemed to place the subject of the Old Testament Tabernacle as a symbol of our spiritual walk on my mind. I committed this to Him and prepared to speak on this theme for three sessions.

Emmanuel hired a rickshaw driver to take him to the hotel to pick me up and take us both to the church for the seminar. On the way, the driver told him that he needed money for gas so Emmanuel paid him. The driver filled his tank with gas and continued to the hotel. Emmanuel left 35 copies of our Bible commentary in the rickshaw and told the driver to wait until I came down. He then went into the hotel lobby to wait for me. While he was in the lobby, the rickshaw driver left taking all our books with him. We had to hire another driver and go the seminar with no books to give away. 

Emmanuel told me that part of the cost for each seminar is to pay for a generator. Because of the electricity crisis in Pakistan they never know when power will go off and for how long it will be off. 

The church in Gulshan Ravi is in a home. Again a single room is dedicated to a church. We were able to minister to about 60 individuals at that meeting. Different people came up after with particular needs asking for prayer. We prayed for a number of people that evening. 

We had a clear sense that the Lord blessed the meeting for the encouragement of the believers.

Protestors and Prayers

Bilal Town, June 09, 2013

Jet lag persists. I woke up at 3 a.m. and was not able to get to sleep. This gave me the opportunity to prepare for the meetings but meant that the challenge would be to find the strength for a long day. 

I was picked up at 8:30 a.m. to go to a church in the region of Bilal town about half an hour outside of the city. On the way there,we were blocked by protesters burning tires in the middle of the road. Many of them were carrying sticks. They were protesting the energy cuts. Some had been three days without power. 

Emmanuel got out to speak to them and ask permission to pass. They became angry with him. He explained, however, that we had obligations at a church and needed to get through. When they heard this, they relaxed and let us through. I had a clear sense of the Lord's protection in this. 

The church was located in a poor section on the outskirts of the city. Some of the roads were so poorly maintained that it was not possible to get a car through. We eventually found a way around these roads to get to the church. 

There were no benches or seats in the church except in the front. People sat on the floor -- men on one side and women on the other. After the morning message, people came forward for prayer. There were so many prayer requests that it took me about an hour to pray for them all. 

People came forward asking prayer for spiritual growth. A number had physical illnesses. One young man sat on his knees and used his hands to move himself around because he could not use his legs. Another young man told me he was mentally handicapped and asked if I would pray that God would give him a better mind. Mothers brought their children forward for prayer. One mother pushed her young girl forward and asked me to pray that the Lord would help her to be obedient. A mother of four children told me that she had lost her two boys and wanted me to pray that the Lord would give her another boy to replace the two that had died. I found it very revealing to hear these stories and was privileged to pray for these people individually.

An Encouraging Phone Call

Kasur City – June 9, 2013

After our morning service in Bilal Town we traveled about an hour to Kasur city where we were to do an evening seminar. Having awakened at 3 in the morning I was beginning to get very tired. 

When we arrived, we were greeted with singing as people lined the road on both sides to greet us. We stopped at the door of the house we were entering and were presented with a garland. People continued to sing and threw flower petals over us to welcome us. After a prayer,we entered the home. Here we would have a meal and be taken to the church for the seminar. 

As we were relaxing in the home, Emmanuel received a phone call. When he finished the conversation he told me it was from a man he had never met. He had phoned to say that he had read my book, "If Your Brother Sins" and had been blessed. He asked Emmanuel if it was possible to get other books. The man was very surprised to hear that I was with Emmanuel at that very moment. 

The evening service was very hot but there were a number of people present. This church was in a more rural area and many were quite poor. Several times Emmanuel had to stop and speak to the people to get them to settle down. There seemed to be a general commotion going on during the entire service. The coordinators suggested that we cut the number of messages from 3 to 2 as a result. The challenge was to know how to reduce the material down. The Lord helped, however, and in the end I felt like I was able to communicate what was necessary. 

Before leaving, each person received a package of food to take home with them. From what I observed, this was a real blessing to many who attended

Bible School Students and an Answer to a Three Year Prayer

Goel- June 10, 2013

I spent the morning resting and preparing for the evening services. I was feeling tired but was able to get the rest I needed before I was picked up for the evening services. 

We traveled to Goel about 45 minutes from the hotel. We met in a small church building with an outer court yard. When we arrived the church officially welcomed us with a shower of flower petals and singing. They would later place a garland around our necks as a token of their love and gratitude. Because they did not have the use of a generator, the leadership decided to meet in the open courtyard which was much cooler than the church building. 

As they began, the pastor of the church invited a man to come forward to share a testimony. When he came forward he shared how after reading one of the first books we translated, he prayed that he would one day have the opportunity to meet me. He shared how my presence was an answer to a three year prayer. 

Among those present were about 40 Bible school students. They meet every Sunday at this church for study. They canceled their regular meeting because I was coming. They have all received copies of my book and are required by their teachers to read it and submit a report. This was one of the occasions where I wished I was able to speak the language so I could have gotten to know these students better. 

"Now I Really Believe

Muridkay – June 11, 2013

As we left the hotel there was a windstorm that was blowing a lot of dust around. It also brought  rain and cooled things down a bit which was a welcome change from the 45 -47 degree temperature.  

We traveled about an hour to a community called Muridkay where there was a small church. This was part of a home again but people entered into a courtyard and directly into the church itself. 

I shared some insights from my book "More Than Conquerors" (Romans 8) at this meeting. I wasn't sure how well I was communicating but after I finished speaking two people stood up and shared. The first was a lady who said: "Now I really believe that Jesus did everything for me." The second was a man who said: "I read many times that God is for us but now I really understand." I thank the Lord that He made the truth known to these individuals. 

We also had the opportunity to distribute copies of my latest Urdu book to a select number of people at the close of the meeting. 

A Pastor Using Our Books

Babu Sabu – June 12, 2013

We left for Babu Sabu where we were to have a two session seminar. I felt the Lord lead me to speak on Hebrews 12:1-2. 

The church was in a home as many of the other churches. I had the opportunity to meet the pastor before speaking. He has been using our books to prepare his messages and told me that his congregation found this helpful. It is a blessing to be able to provide pastors such as this tools they can use to preach and teach. 

This church in Babu Sabu was started in 1983. They have had the privilege of sending out pastors from their church. They also have some cell churches started in other parts of the city. Pakistan has a number of nominal Christians from mainline churches. Most of the growth in the evangelical church is through the conversion of nominal Christians. 

We were able to distribute a number of books at the meeting and ministered to about 100 people.