Pakistan For Jesus
Lahore is Pakastan's second largest city situated in the northeastern part of the country. With over two hundred million people, the country of Pakistan holds the sixth largest population among the countries of the world. Although freedom of religion is written into the constitution of Pakistan, nearly 98% of the population practice the state-religion of Islam. Christianity currently claims only a 1.6% stake of Pakistan's people. As commissioned by our Lord, it is our goal to see the number of people that believe in the life-changing gospel of Jesus Christ increase exponentially in Pakistan.
Gospel Voice Church and Outreach Center, located in Lahore, is located in an area of town that has a higher level of poverty and need among its residents. This center serves as a fellowship hall for about 200 believers (and growing!). In addition to equipping and training the believers of Lahore spiritually, the center also functions as an outreach avenue to many elderly and youth, as well as support programs to homeless and needy members of the community.
Pastor Rafiq Masih is the head pastor of Gospel Voice Pakistan. Rafiq asked the Lord in his heart twenty years ago, and has been a servant in the kingdom since. Rafiq does not speak English but rather he speaks Urdu, the main language of Pakistan. English is only taught and spoken by the educated-elite of Pakistan, the ones fortunate enough to have a reputation in the community, a successful business, a relative in government, or who have somehow managed to acquire the funds for things like schooling or a cell phone.
"The people here have nothing, literally. Nothing but Jesus, and to them, that is everything." says Rafiq through his translator, Daud Ayoub, as we converse.
Pakistan's GDP weighs in at $1,561 per capita. Compare that with America's per-capita GDP of $53,041 and you can see just how true this statement is. These people literally have nothing... nothing but Jesus.
“No matter what the world says the Gospel never stops. Pray for the work of God taking place in Pakistan. Only the power found in Jesus can set you free!”
Daud is Rafiq’s translator, and you can often times find them working together in the ministry, serving children, women, elderly, and anyone else in need. On top of regularly feeding many, distributing Bibles, teaching, and overall serving, there are tent crusades on a regular basis, passionate preaching, and laying hands on the sick for healing.
There are things one needs to understand about living in Lahore. Only a few blocks away is a brick factory that “employs” hundreds of children, who are basically treated like slaves when you consider the working conditions and pay structure.
“It’s dangerous to get involved with them, but the children have no education. People warn me all the time, but these people have very little in life at all. We teach them, feed them, and minister to them.”
Even if you are a slave, at least there is work, shelter, and some food, such as it is. For others in the city, becoming a Christian can be a certain end to your career. Obtaining work is hard for anyone in Pakistan, but especially for Christians. If a Muslim has a job to offer, he would prefer to give it to a fellow Muslim, not a Christian. Additionally, if you are a Muslim in poverty, at least you can go to the mosque to get a plate of food, but as for Christians, if there are no fellow Christians and churches that can help them, the difficulty can be very real.
“If there is one thing I ask, that is that you pray for us”
As for Rafiq and Daud, the widespread opposition to their message of the gospel only makes them more fervent in their pursuits. The preaching of Jesus Christ and Him crucified means that the Holy Spirit backs up the message powerfully. The opportunity for people with health conditions to be healed presents itself regularly. When healings and miracles are taking place on a regular basis, the message gets out and growth happens.
Earlier this year, a group of vandals broke into their main church building and burned everything inside. The chairs, stage, pulpit, Bibles, etc., all of it went up in smoke. The building is still standing only because it is made of stone. The need for Bibles and other necessities for provision of needs as the hands and feet of Jesus has grown even more desperate. In spite of persecution, it’s important to notice all of the growth that is taking place for the Kingdom. God is moving in Pakistan and Pastor Rafiq as well as the Ayoub family is providing the hands and feet for it to happen. God is indeed moving in Pakistan and advancing. Praise the Lord!