Thankful for YOU – How You Brought Hope to Pakistan in 2018
“Is it over?”
I asked the question as quietly as I could and did my best not to move my lips as I held my smile in place.
“I’m not sure…”
It was 5 AM in Nashville, Tennessee, and several of us were crowded onto a small stage smiling hopefully into a laptop screen. An iPad on a stand nearby showed a grainy video feed of a crowd of people sitting on low benches in a small cement building in Hyderabad, Pakistan.
The feed was delayed by nearly 20 seconds, which was why I wasn’t sure if the event had ended, and I was speaking quietly because I knew the crowd in Pakistan could hear every word we said from the stage.
We had started the event at 11 PM our time (which translated to mid-morning overseas) and by this point, my head felt foggy, my eyes itched, and my mouth was dry from the ill-advised cocktail of coffee and Five-Hour-Energy that I had consumed earlier.
I was praying that our new friends in Pakistan would be able to feel our love and support, but we had been going for two days, and without any direct personal connection with the crowd, I had no idea whether they were getting anything out of this…It’s thanksgiving, friends, and we just wanted to say THANK YOU! Over the last 6 years, we’ve watched God impact hundreds of thousands in nearly 30 nations, and we’re so thankful to YOU for helping make this a reality. Every time you’ve prayed for us, loved us, given financially to this mission, and encouraged us, God has used YOU to impact the world with the love of Jesus, and we can’t express how grateful we are. THANK YOU for being part of the team, friends, and here’s to reaching every nation on Earth with the love of Jesus!
We had been preparing to travel to Pakistan for an outreach event since early in 2018 – Christians in Karachi and Hyderabad had approached our team, requesting training in evangelism.
This in itself is humbling and impressive, because Christians in Pakistan are often persecuted for their faith, and can face severe penalties for communicating anything that can be taken as disrespectful to the dominant religion in the area. It is a bold and dangerous move for a group of Pakistanis to ask for training to share their faith in Jesus more effectively, and it shows real courage.
We had been excited for the opportunity to partner with our brothers and sisters in the Middle East, but a few weeks ago, as political, criminal, and religious tensions in the area continued to increase, it became clear to us that traveling into the country would be impossible. At one point we were told that we wouldn’t even be allowed to leave the airport if we were somehow able to fly in – government officials would simply put us on a plane back home immediately.
And so we were forced to move to plan B. On The Go Ministries helped local believers rent a meeting space, provided food and training materials to several hundred believers, and we converged in Nashville Tennessee to offer training remotely.
And it worked…. Once we got past a few dozen roadblocks…
For starters, it took more than an hour (and several dozen international phone calls) each night to get the connection working. The power in the venue had gone out several times, and once we had finally gotten it working, the lag-time between video feeds had been anywhere from 10 to 45 seconds, causing real confusion as we tried to troubleshoot technical issues.
These issues – coupled with the need to pause after every few words and wait in awkward silence for translation that we couldn’t hear – had left our team exhausted and unsure.
Fighting bone-deep weariness, each team member had done an excellent job of sharing practical and foundational instruction on how to share the message of Jesus in a potentially unfriendly environment.
As great as the instruction had been, though, I couldn’t shake the conviction that one of the most valuable things that we could give our Pakistani brothers and sisters was simply the knowledge that they weren’t alone – that their family in America loved them and was praying for them.
And honestly, I just didn’t know if we had been able to communicate this clearly enough.
“…and before we close, we want to say to you, our friends in America…”
After nearly 20 seconds of waiting in awkward silence, the feed from Pakistan had just caught up, and the MC was obviously closing the session.
“We just want to say THANK YOU.”
And as the camera panned across the cement walled room thousands of miles away, we watched as the crowd stood to their feet – men and woman standing together in a display of Christian unity which defied cultural norms. Faces that had been serious and studious for hours of teaching broke into wide smiles, cheers, and applause.
And it that one moment, I knew that it had all been worth it.
Our Pakistani brothers and sisters knew that they were loved – that they weren’t alone. They had seen that our relationship as the family of Christ transcends all cultural and national divisions.
They knew we were praying.
They knew we were family.
And this is why we do what we do.
And we’re so thankful for YOU for helping make all of this a reality.
Every time you’ve prayed for us, loved us, given financially to this mission, and encouraged us, God has used YOU to impact the world with the love of Jesus, and we can’t express how grateful we are.
Since 2012, by the grace of God, we’ve shared the love of Jesus in 28 nations and seen tens of thousands of people respond. Since April of 2017, we’ve had the privilege of watching thousands respond to Jesus in twelve nations and territories on five continents – we’ve just finished up a packed few months of events in Israel, the West Bank, France, Belize and across the American South and Midwest. Currently we are in Portland recording our next CD project, after which we’re scheduled to share the love of Jesus with the people of Pakistan, and then in Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Kenya, Thailand, and across the USA.
THANK YOU for being part of the team – for helping us share the love of Jesus worldwide. Our vision is to follow God’s leading and help reach as many nations and people as we can with the message of Jesus, and your partnership helps us reach the world together. If you’d like to help, click HERE to partner financially and follow us on FACEBOOK for daily prayer updates from the field.
Zach and White Ribbon Day