Local Missionaries in Pakistan
Nearly twice the size of California, Pakistan is located between India, Afghanistan, China, and Iran. Its climate ranges from hot and dry to arctic in the northern highlands. The country is home of a 62-mile long glacier system, the largest outside the north and south poles.
Formerly a part of British-controlled India, it separated in 1947. With a 1973 constitution stating that all laws are to conform to Islam as outlined in the Koran and Sunnah (sayings and deeds of Muhammad), the state religion in Pakistan is Sunni Islam. Freedom of religion is guaranteed by the constitution, but longstanding discrimination and persecution against Christians has intensified in recent years as Islamic extremism has spread. The population is 96 percent Muslim, 1.85 percent Hindu and 1.5 percent Christian, among other tiny religious minorities. Pakistan has the second-largest number of Muslims in the world after Indonesia.
Urdu and English are the official languages, with Urdu a symbol of national, Islamic unity and English used primarily in business, government and legal matters. More than 75 percent of Pakistanis understand Urdu, but more than 60 languages are spoken in the country. The major ethnic groups are the Punjabis (44.7 percent), Pashtuns (15.4 percent), Sindhis (14.1 percent), Saraikis (8.4 percent) and Muhajirs (7.6 percent).
Longstanding political disputes and lack of foreign investment has led to the underdevelopment of Pakistan. Lack of economic opportunity contributes to widespread poverty. A large portion of the population does not have access to clean water or education.
Of the hundreds of indigenous missionaries bringing the gospel to remote areas where Christ’s name is unknown, many of them have no means of supporting their families and work by faith that the worldwide Body of Christ will support them. Devoting all their time to evangelism, discipleship and church-planting, local missionaries have established fellowships in every major city and numerous towns and villages. Thousands of communities remain unreached, however, and workers request assistance for evangelistic outreaches, distribution of gospel literature and construction of church buildings.
Multiple ministries have undertaken the challenge of meeting the need for trained church leaders. They need support for training programs to equip missionaries to teach Sunday schools, work with teenagers, adults, youth and families, lead women’s groups and plant and pastor congregations. Most of these ministries train about 100 full-time or part-time workers each year; one Bible correspondence school trains 3,000 per year.
Sources: Joshua Project, Wikipedia, CIA World Factbook
How to Pray for
- Pray for provision, courage, and wisdom for local missionaries and church leaders as they share the gospel.
- Pray missionaries, their families and those the are serving will be protected from poverty and disease.
- Pray the spread of the kingdom of God would transform communities into holy beacons of light and love.
More stories from Pakistan
Many people write to a local ministry about how its Bible correspondence courses have led them to Christ. The ministry sends its Bible courses to Christian youths and adults, as well as to seekers, with non-Christians representing 25 percent of those enrolled. Workers have also designed children’s stories for Sunday schools.
A pastor recently expressed thanks that he was able to share the gospel with tribal people after receiving an invitation to preach among them. The ministry that supports the pastor also reached many villages with the gospel while distributing aid for victims of flooding, taking advantage of a worker’s ability to speak their local language.
The Lord is working through a native ministry that recently distributed hundreds of Bibles, including audio Bibles. One recipient said, “I am an illiterate person who had a thirst for the Word of God. Now after receiving the audio Bible, I listen to the Psalms and am being blessed by it.”
Native Christian workers are finding ample opportunities to share the gospel with the unreached as four new house churches regularly receive visitors. People from the surrounding communities have never heard about Christ’s grace. “Listening to the Word of God, they have started knowing the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit has changed their lives,” the ministry leader said.
A farmer woke one morning unable to get out of bed or speak. A native Christian worker visited his home and shared how Christ is able to heal. Weeping, the man called on the Lord in his heart. “The Word of God touched me, and I repented of my sins and accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior,” he said, adding that he was later healed after further prayer.
Villagers labor long hours as indentured servants, working off insurmountable debt making kiln-fired bricks. Their children are trapped in the cycle of poverty but receive hope in Christ through Sunday schools that native Christian workers provide in various villages.