It was an immense privilege to welcome our brother P to speak at the Unreached Network Conference in June. As we listened to his stories, we felt as if we were listening to a modern day book of Acts, our faith was stirred and we were so encouraged.
P lives in the east and is an apostolic leader of a network of churches in our New Frontiers family. When the Covid pandemic hit in early 2020, his country Pakistan was very heavily impacted. Many people in the towns and cities there rely on daily wages to buy food for their families so when everything shut down there was a great shortage of food. God spoke to P and said ‘You need to do something about this.’ P and his team felt stirred to action so they gathered resources, emergency relief packages and food and journeyed to a city that was closer to the border of Afghanistan.
P travelled with K, another leader from his church, and two volunteers who were from a Catholic background but were really nominal believers who just wanted to help. They went with 180 care packages, bought with funds from their Catalyst family and no plan other than to let God lead them.
When they came to the church in X they worshipped with the believers there and the Holy Spirit moved powerfully among them, they could sense that God was going to do something big. One brother stood and prophesied loudly from Psalm 126:5-6
‘Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them.’
The government supported the team by providing them with security and they were able to pay for some doctors and nurses to join them. The aim was to set up a camp that would last five days, providing food relief and medical support to families who needed it most. They shared the message that the church across the world was praying and providing for them, rejoicing that they could practically serve the poor. Some Muslim friends also began to give finance and medical aid and by God’s grace they were able to serve 120 families.
On the final day of the camp there was an announcement saying that the area was going to be sealed, roads would be closed and if they wanted to return to their home city they would need to leave immediately. They quickly packed and left but after driving for 20 minutes, discovered that the entry to the motorway was now closed. They tried another route but this was also shut so they realised that they would have to return to X. However when they tried to turn back they found that the road behind them had also been closed down, they were stuck in the middle of nowhere.
P’s car held a Muslim driver, the two volunteers and his friend, K. In the car behind them were the Muslim security guards. Their driver said that he knew a back route to Y, a city not too far away and had a cousin who lived there, however this city was a very dangerous one for P and his team to travel to. P said that he felt suffocated and short of breath, so he got out of the car and immediately found himself praying loudly and urgently in tongues. He realised that the driver and security guards were watching him but he could not stop so he walked away, praying all the more quickly in tongues. When this had ceased, P returned to the car, checked with the other volunteers, then told the driver that they would go to Y. The driver and security guards were very curious about what language he had been speaking so P and K started to explain about the Holy Spirit and what happened in the book of Acts. He was still so full of the Spirit that he wanted everyone else to be filled too, so he asked the volunteers if they would like to be filled with the Spirit. They laughed and told him ‘We’re not in a church building and this can’t be for us, we’re not even practising Catholics!’ but after the driver had left to travel with the security guards, P drove the car and K laid hands on the volunteers and prayed for them to be filled with the Spirit.
As they received the gift of the Spirit, the men started praying and singing in tongues, the car was filled with the gifts of the Spirit and while P tried to keep steering down bumpy roads, they all laughed and wept with joy.
After a few hours, they arrived at Y but they could not get into the city. The driver had a friend in a secret camp outside the city so this is where they went. There were two camps and they were full of illegal Afghan refugees who had been forced out of different places by the army. There was no electricity, food or water in the camps and the team were saddened by the conditions they witnessed there. The driver’s friend had a high fever, he had been unwell for a few days with no medication. As they went to help him, people started running from the camps. They were hungry and desperate from fear of the pandemic. The security guards had to pull their rifles out to prevent the situation from getting out of control but despite the danger, P told them, ‘We are a church, we want to make a difference and help the families here.’
Read part two of the story here. (from 21st July 22)