Why the police and machine guns? This is the question I asked Bro Raymond during the MTM Conference held in Sahiwal, Pakistan August 5-15, 2015. The police stood outside the church house, in black shirts holding machine guns, as we preached the Word of God. They speedily convoyed us through the streets of Sahiwal with flashing lights as we were shuttled from our hotel to the church, and followed us from house to house as we visited the poor but lively church people. They followed us all day till we got back to our hotel again. Then they waited outside till we showed up the next day. They even stood on either side of the pulpit during the street meeting service beginning at 10 o’clock at night till around midnight. Yes, we actually had an outdoor evangelistic service, with loud speakers and songs, the one evening, right in the middle of the street in Sahiwal, Pakistan. The people blocked off both ends of the street with huge curtains, flood lights and approximately 200 people sat in the street on the ground cross legged to hear the word of God preached. That’s right, in Pakistan which is a predominant Islamic nation.
But why all the security? There may be dangers that we can’t see or are totally unaware of! They were there for our protection and security. For several days they even had the Elite Police Force watching over us for our security. Our hosting Pastor informed us they are there for our security. The government requires it, to keep the foreigners safe, we are told. We still didn’t understand it all, but so it is when you visit countries and cultures that are vastly diverse from our own and there is hatred for Christians. We might as well get used to it.
Our Pakistani Elite Police Force Security Team
THE ACTUAL MTM CONFERENCE
The four day conference was held in the Salvation Army church building in Sahiwal. In spite of the extreme heat (100 degrees every day), it was packed out with about 100 pastors, teachers, and Sunday school teachers every day. About 30 of them were women, all modestly dressed in traditional Pakistan colors and head scarves. Many of the men wore the cool, light and loose fitting traditional dress for Pakistan men. Bro Raymond taught on the “Godly Marriage, Home and Family”. A much needed teaching. “We have never heard this kind of teaching”, they said again and again. It was very much appreciated. Apparently they hear a lot of messages on salvation, and little if any on the practical outworking’s of the Christian Life. So many sincere brothers and sisters, but lacking in the “meat” of the Word. It seems like most of the churches in the regions where MTM ministers are shallow in doctrine (a mile long and an inch deep). They preach salvation every Sunday and the people never have heard these kind of teachings. Many of them were very blessed and shared much appreciation for his teaching. Even the conference photographer testified that he went home and confessed to his wife, his wrong attitudes and sins, asking forgiveness, and then he washed her feet, (a part of Bro Raymond’s teaching). Praise the LORD!
Unfortunately This Is Our Best Full Group Picture Of The 100 Who Attended (The wives and sisters rushed home after the conference to get the chores done)
Emanuel Esh taught on “God is a Missionary God”. Several points included, pointing out the powers of darkness striving against the Kingdom of Light, and God’s plan to redeem from every nation, tribe, and kindred, a people for himself. We used a power point to show the nations of the world, and the 10/40 window, and mentioned the unreached people groups in the countries nearby. Using the “Story of Ishmael” in Genesis, and Isaiah 60, we showed God’s heart and promise for the “sons of Ishmael” their Muslim neighbors. The church, like Hagar, has turned its back on Ishmael, so as not to watch him die. But God heard the cry of Ishmael, and told the mother (the church) to go to the well and take the living water to the dying souls. God began to work in their hearts about reaching out to their Muslim brothers. Two men responded to God’s call to missions, by dedicating their lives to take the gospel, the one, to go from city to city, the other specifically to the unreached people groups in the country. On the last day of the conference we had a time of prayer to commissioning these brothers to the work, with laying on of hands and prayer for both of them.
Three Catholic Couples Who Came To Faith In The Lord Jesus Christ
One evening after teaching at the conference at Sahiwal as we went from house to house preaching and praying for the people, we were in a Catholic home and we had a glorious opportunity to see three young couples come to repentance and faith it the Lord Jesus Christ.
AFTER THE CONFERENCE
We drove 2.5 hours back to the city region of Lahore and for three days we went from house to house, door to door ministering in Jesus Name. We also preached evenings in numerous different churches with many responding to the call of Jesus Christ. One day we drove to the industrial region of Raiwind well outside of the city limits of Lahore. In this region there are many brick yards where they make brick. These people are a very poor low caste people. They have no opportunity for education or ever rise above their extreme poverty situation. They ceased their labors of making bricks and gathered together right in the brickyard under a very small tent in the 90+ degrees sun. What a great joy and an opportunity to preach the glorious liberating gospel to these dear souls who in many ways are in slavery to their brick yard employers. When the invitation was open up to repent and come to faith in Christ Jesus the majority of the 75 attendees stood to their feet and began repenting out loud with their hearts and mouths. After a good long season of repentance we led them to faith in Jesus Christ dying on a cross for their sins. What a joy to see so many in one service come to Christ and the joy and rejoicing that followed…HALLELUJAH!!!
Those Who Responded To Faith In Jesus Christ At The Brickyard
WHAT IS THE PAKISTAN SITUATION AND CONDITION SPIRITUALLY
There are multitudes of churches in many different regions. They are somewhat nominal evangelical, maybe generally Baptist and Pentecostal. Mission work has been done here for the last 100 years. They conduct large evangelistic crusades in recent years in the larger cities generally preaching a health and wealth gospel. Generally there is freedom of religion here, but it is more restricted in some cities than others. In March of this year there were two Christians burned alive in a brick yard incident (in the Raiwind region) and then there were also two churches bombed and 100’s were killed. Then also the Christians retaliated and killed some Muslims. Pray for the Pakistani Christians.
Emanuel Esh & Raymond Burkholder, The MTM Teaching Team To Pakistan
Editor’s Note; The above article was written by Emanuel Esh who traveled to Pakistan to serve the Lord with MTM and serve as a guest teacher by request. Emanuel serves as a pastor at Charity Christian Fellowship in Leola Pennsylvania. He also serves on the Charity Mission Board. I specifically requested that he come and teach the Christians of this nation God’s heart for the sons of Ishmael (the Muslims). Thank you my dear brother for the great sacrifice you made to travel half way around the world to be mightily used of God. May the Lord reward you openly for your labor of love.