Organizers cite prayer and long-term local efforts for the large turn-out
November 14, 2017
Teresa Costello, communication department, Southern Asia-Pacific Division
[Photo courtesy of the Pakistan Union]
Over the past year, Adventists leaders and members have initiated a large-scale, sustainable evangelistic effort in Pakistan. The event culminated in a 3-day evangelistic series that took place from October 26-28. This marks a change for the predominantly Muslim country. In the past Adventist members in Pakistan have only been able to share carefully, on a limited scale.
The event, held at Pakistan Adventist Seminary & College (PASC) located 60 kilometers, or 37 miles, west of the capital city of Lahore, was the largest of its kind in recent years and yielded remarkable results.
“We were expecting 800 to 1000 people to attend these meetings. More than 1000 people alone were praying for these meetings in Korea,” said Iffikhar Saroya, communication director of the Pakistan Union.
According to Saroya, they saw their prayers answered as more and more people filled the meeting area. The crowd continued to grow until it swelled to an estimated total of more than 2000 people.
Organizers and volunteers hurried to find extra seating to accommodate the unexpectedly large crowd. With a focus on the Three Angels’ Messages found in Revelation 14:6-12, Michael Ditta, Pakistan Union Section (PKU) president, encouraged attendees “to watch, pray and remain steadfast in the last days.”
On the last day of the series, 156 people were baptized. “There was a prayerful sense of unity,” said Saroya.
Organizers say prayer and Total Member Involvement were major themes for this daunting project. In the months prior to the meetings, lay leaders and local members were instructed in Total Member Involvement and then challenged to meet local community needs. Activities included house visitations, Care Group ministry, a Southern Asia-Pacific Division (SSD) nurturing program for all new members, and youth involvement.
Additionally, Gee Sung Bae, president of PASC, along with PASC Religion department faculty and ministerial students, held meetings in local churches to introduce and develop understanding of Adventist teachings. Organizers also encouraged volunteers, local and sister churches outside of Pakistan, such as those in Korea, to pray for the three-day event.
During the meetings, local church members, as well as leaders, volunteered. Attendees flocked to the prayer sessions for the sick, demon-possessed and childless that were conducted by Gee. After the meetings volunteers and members will maintain connections and prayer opportunities for those in the surrounding communities.
In addition, PASC will organize more Care Groups. Local churches will work in tandem with PASC and the “local pastors will give them biblical studies [to nurture their faith experience] in their own local churches,” said Saroya. “Future country-wide plans include similar meetings using this structure and many prayers for similar results,” he added.
PASC is the only Adventist higher-education institution in Pakistan. With a current enrollment of 674, it offers two-year diplomas and four-year degrees. The campus also includes an elementary school and high school.
Pakistan is one of 14 countries in the Southern Asia-Pacific Division. PKU is home to more than 11,000 Adventist members in 118 churches.