This is the second year Bring Good News (BGN), International Disaster Emergency Service (IDES) and Pakistan Christian Evangelical Services (PCES) are jointly providing much needed assistance to the victims of the worst flooding in Pakistan’s history. On September 19, 2012, PCES Director, Saleem Massey flew with Gil from Lahore City to Karachi City in southern Pakistan, then drove 5 hours north to Sangar in Sindh province. Three of PCES’ evangelists and 4 local pastors in Sindh were already hard at work distributing relief supplies to the people in rural areas, most of whom still live in temporary shelters and tents.
The majority of the recipients were Hindu farm workers and also includes a small number of Christians and Muslims. In Sangar region, people traveled from 12 – 14 Gothas (tiny villages) to the three sites of medical and eye camps. A total of 1,023 patients received medical care and 1,160 acquired relief supplies. The relief goods consisted of hand-held water pumps and plastic tubes, blankets, seeds for planting, basic food items, cooking oil, 10 lbs. bags of rice, 10 lbs. bags of flour, Bibles and medicine.
On Friday, September 21, the government of Pakistan declared that day as a national holiday to allow the Pakistani people to demonstrate peacefully against a video critical of Muhammad, Islam’s most revered prophet. Businesses, banks, government institutions, transportation and communications systems were suspended. Our team decided to reschedule our activities to Saturday to avoid problems with the protesters.
The next day in the Badeen area, 935 patients attended two medical camps. They came from 8 tiny villages. Moreover, 975 poor people, mostly from the Parkeri Hindu tribe have gotten relief supplies. The local pastors stated that the Hindus were marginalized both socially and economically. The people were very happy to receive the relief goods, Bibles and medicine. They expressed much appreciation to the team of BGN, IDES and PCES for the kindness extended to them in God’s name. The pastors also reported three Hindus were baptized and 10 accepted Jesus as their Savior and will soon be baptized.
North India Christian Mission (NICM), led by Deepak Dhingra, had an amazing success in conducting 16 medical camps in two weeks in the States of Haryana, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh. About 4,000 patients came, were examined and provided with medicine. In addition, NICM now offers dental care which the poor take advantage of. Because of their dire poverty level, people who live in shantytowns and rag picker villages, dental services give people a chance to find pain relief that they would not ordinarily have access to.
Moreover, Bibles and other Christian literature are made available free at the medical camps, house churches and at homes of patients that pastors/evangelists visit as a follow-up after the completion of the medical camps. Furthermore, Bring Good News was involved in storytelling to children who were waiting their turn to receive medical care. Finally, we spoke to middle school students, as well as some 30 staffers of NICM (teachers and operations personnel), and also preached at two churches, one of which ministers primarily to people with leprosy.
Christian Mission of South India (CMSI) Director Vedanayagam Benni was equally pleased with what was accomplished during our medical mission visit. The medical team conducted 18 clinics and served over 2,300 patients. It was exciting to baptize 17 men and women of different ages. We preached at four churches during the two Sundays we were there. We were special guests at a youth meeting (comprising of kids 12-18 years old). We were asked to give a message during a monthly training and fellowship meeting of 40 pastors and lay leaders.
In a Telegu-speaking congregation, we worshipped on the roof of a rented home covered by a colorful tent. Approximately 175 were in attendance. We also gave out 40 Bibles to the youths and 24 backpacks to schoolchildren. A highlight of the trip occurred with praying for a husband and wife at the dedication of their new home. As Brother Benni and Gil were praying for them, the husband collapsed to the floor and became very weak and could not move. After a short period, he regained strength and was able to get up with the help of the local pastor. The pastor later informed us that the husband was demon-possessed and their prayer is that the demons would be driven away when he is baptized. At another church where we were to baptize three women, one of them became very weak that two pastors had to hold her up. Gil felt her body shaking when she got into the water. The pastor, Benni and Gil prayed for her before her baptism and right after the prayers her body stopped shaking and was baptized willingly. She was fine after baptism. The pastor informed us that the woman was demon-possessed.
In almost any mission trip, there are incidents that pop up and call attention to the fact that what we are doing is replete with two opposing forces – evil and good. Trials and temptations may invariably be affecting the outcomes of these spiritual ventures. However, if we focus on God’s purpose and rely on Him, we can be assured that He is present in our mission activities and will provide success and encouragement. Praise God.