Although Zander and I did not go to Lahore, Pakistan, the pastor who organized the conference, etc, sent a brief report:
“It was very nice experience to serve the Lord with fellowship of brother Odd Ivar. He is very humble and simple man of God. Here all the pastors and church leaders missed you very much. We are praying that may God make possible your visit next time. Thanks God all the meetings done well. In conference there 200 pastors and church leaders came to attend the conference. All the pastors and church leaders learnt new things about God’s kingdom as bro. Odd Ivar taught from your book Doing Healing. So it was very inspiring and blessing. In our Evangelistic meetings and Sunday service in every meeting there were about 700 people came to hear the Word of God and in these evangelistic meetings all together more than 2500 people heard the voice of God. Many received Jesus Christ in their lives as their Saviour Lord and sick are healed through the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Odd Ivar, an elder from a Vineyard church in Larvik, Norway, got his visa and spontaneously had to do all the teaching! He sent me a brief report: “The two evangelistic meetings were good I think, a lot of people wanted prayers. And in the last meeting many of them opened their eyes, lifted their head, and started to pray for the one next to them standing with the hand in the air. The pastor went around in the congregation and motivated the people he knew to start praying for the others. I remember especially an alcoholic bent down by the burdens in life, showing us the official permit letter to trade with alcohol. We prayed for him, and he tore the letter. Next day he came with his child and wife, all beaming with joy. The theme was to step into Kingdom reality instead of our own wiew on what is possible, and practical steps to help us open up for it. People seemed very receptive. The pastor will continue to teach about this, and practically how to pray for each other.”
Thanks for those of you who prayed so much for the conference.
Late yesterday afternoon (Thursday 29 March 2012), after a long wait and “assertive” discussion with a consulate representative at the Embassy, I went home without a visa. Islamabad (capital of Pakistan) had not sent through approval to Pretoria Pakistan Embassy for our visa, despite our visa application being in the Embassy for four weeks ago, and despite the inviting pastor, Sarwar Masih in Lahore, going to their Ministry of Interior with letters and copies of passports, etc. It’s rather disappointing.
We were scheduled to fly today (Friday 30 May), but have now cancelled the ministry trip, despite Sarwar Masih having done posters and organised the whole pastor’s conference, etc. Our friend and Vineyard colleague from Norway, Odd-Ivar, who planned to join us as part of the team, will arrive in Lahore on tomorrow and will participate in the conference.
I found the Pakistan Embassy a shambles of disorganization and rudeness. I had been personally three times to the Embassy and made well over ten phone calls over four weeks. Yesterday they said my passport was locked in the office of the commissioner who had left the Embassy early and no one had keys to go in and get the passport. I waited for over an hour and talked to no fewer than three people, and then made a phone call to a Pakistan official, before a senior consular official came.
He explained that Islamabad had not yet sent a reply, so the visa was not approved in time for our trip – after having our passports and application for four weeks – have you ever heard of such a thing? I expressed my strong disagreement and dissatisfaction with their process, then simply insisted in getting our passports and begin our hour and half drive home – two hours in traffic! Anyway, after further insistence on my part they managed to get our passports and I came home.
Thanks for the prayers. I am relieved its all over, but sad that my son and I will miss our ministry trip to Pakistan. And I’m sorry for Sarwar and the pastors there, but I feel relief. God’s in charge and I believe he will work this for our good. Part of the good is that I have some uninterrupted time this coming week – when I was supposed to be in Pakistan – to work on my book “Doing Spirituality – Introducing Christian Spirituality as Discipleship to Jesus and his Kingdom”. I plan to write fourteen chapters and right now I am at the end of chapter six. I’m excited to have a week to write, it’s like heaven for me!! I always think of the athlete in the movie Chariots of Fire who, when he ran, put his head back and “felt the pleasure of God”. When have uninterrupted time to write I put my head down and I feel the pleasure of God – it’s one of the things I was made for!
Hello friends! This Friday morning (30 March 2012) my son and I are scheduled to fly to Lahore, Pakistan to do a pastor’s training conference and some church meetings, returning on 8 April. The snag is our visa has not yet been approved!! I submitted it over three weeks ago and there has been a hold up! So please pray as we try to get permission from the Ministry of Interior in Pakistan. We need to hear by Thursday or else we will have to call it off. Thanks so much and God bless!