The looks on the faces were not encouraging. When I told my wife and family, including my friends and church family, that I felt God wanted me to visit Pakistan, no one – not one – smiled with approval.
As a matter of fact, it was at least four or five years ago that Pastor Victor Sammuel of Grace Charity Schools asked me to come see the work there in Toba Tek Singh, a small town in the Punjab district. But when he first asked me to visit, the reflection of my face in a mirror would have mirrored the ones I was now seeing. You know, the kind with raised eyebrows and a slightly tilted head?
“I’ll pray about it,” was my typical response. But the actual prayers were more like: “God, did you hear what Victor asked me to do? Can you believe him? That would be crazy! I have NO desire to go there, and I don’t think YOU want me to go, either.”
However, time and association have a way of replacing apprehensions with burdens. As the Lord allowed me to be in a unique situation which caused me to become more and more involved with the work there in Pakistan, the more familiar I became with the needs. Yet, as I would share what I learned with others, skepticism remained. Honestly, I couldn’t blame them.
Even when I told the deacons in the church where I pastor that I wanted to go, their skepticism became evident when they immediately began discussing the possibility I was walking into a trap! “How do we know Victor Sammuel is who he really says he is?” one asked. “How do we know you’re not being set up?”
I didn’t. But I trusted God.
And that’s one of the main reasons I wanted – I needed – to go to Pakistan! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to defend myself for giving to a ministry I’ve never seen in person and a man that continually asked for money. If for no other reason, going to Pakistan would either clear Victor Sammuel’s name and my reputation for discernment, or it would confirm the skeptics were right all along and I had been snookered.
Hopefully, finding out I was being scammed would be the worst that would happen. But as everyone knows, Pakistan isn’t known for its Christian-loving hospitality. A lot worse could happen, especially since I would be going it alone.
Stay tuned for the next post! I will continue to unpack the story of my once-in-a-lifetime trip to the land of “killer busses.”