In the beginning of September, Pastor Matti Valitalo and Pastor Robert Maki were invited by the Apostolic Lutheran Church of Pakistan to preach the Word of God in various areas of eastern Pakistan. Pastor Alexander Gill, the president of the church, has been in contact with us for about two years. He has been receiving literature from the Foreign Mission Board and has translated the Principles of the Doctrine of Christ as Taught in the Apostolic Lutheran Church... and two tracts into the Urdu language of Pakistan. This literature is being distributed in many cities and villages in Pakistan.
The Pakistan Christians are in the minority. Over 95% of the population is Muslim. Non-Muslims are not afforded the protection of the laws. Therefore, there is not a great separation of the Christians by denomination, and they are much closer knit than in other countries where one is not persecuted for being a Christian. Pastor Gill attended one of the few Christian seminaries in Pakistan, a Catholic seminary, as did Martin Luther. When Pastor Gill saw the many errors in doctrine, he began to search for a church affiliation that teaches and believes only Biblical doctrine. When he read The Principles of the Doctrine..., he recognized that this was the doctrine of the Bible and named the churches he is affiliated with "The Apostolic Lutheran Church of Pakistan."
We arrived in the city of Lahore, the second largest city in Pakistan (6.9 million population), on September 6. Services were held at the following places: Lothray Village and Charian City on September 7, Mahaweda and Chitishekhan villages on the 8th, the town of Pacca Ghara on the 9th, and Lahore on the l0th. All of the services were held outside and Pastor Gill was our translator. Due to flight schedule problems, we could not hold services that were planned for Rawalpindi City and the Turbala dam areas.
There is a great hungering for the Word of God in Pakistan, and we were very well received. The number of people attending each service varied between 200 and 600. The services were about three hours long. Besides the sermons, there was much singing and many prayer requests. We perhaps preached to a total of 3000 people.
The places where the services were held were about two to four hours travel time apart. A bus from Lahore was arranged for our travels, and about 40 Christians from the Lahore church came with us to all of the services. We spent most of one night in one village because of monsoon rains, which didn't allow travel over the dirt roads.
The service at the town of Pacca Ghara had been scheduled for 6 p.m., and it was along distance from Lahore. Due to problems in securing a bus, we didn't begin the journey until late in the day. We couldn't communicate to let the people know that we would be late, and we finally arrived at midnight for the service. About 500 people still waited to attend the service, held in the street, and loudspeakers and lights were set up. The service, which started at midnight, lasted until about 3 a.m. Afterwards, rice was served.
We have been asked by Pastor Gill if the Foreign Mission Board could continue to send missionaries to Pakistan to speak God's Word to the people. Pastor Gill also would like for our missionaries to go with him to Iran and Iraq to hold services in the future and would like to translate our church materials into the languages of these countries. Please pray for the brethren in Pakistan so that they will remain faithful to our Lord during their times of persecution. Also, pray that the way will be open for our missionaries to visit other Muslim-dominated countries.