Thank you so much for your prayers, Praise God last weekend’s mission was very successful. We are both in good health and now rested. So a quick update on last weekend and then some details of what’s coming up for us this weekend.
On Saturday 28th Nov the Yadah Praise concert was packed to capacity at the Rawalpindi Arts centre with people standing in the aisles and some turned away. Crisma band played before us with Hanan Baily lead singer (Hammad’s brother). They played some Christmas carols in Urdu and then sang Mary did you know. It reminded me of last Christmas in Chesham. We played for about 2 hour including many Christmas songs in Urdu/Punjabi and Hark the Herald Angels Sing in English a very rocky version that Hammad arranged – see Hammad’s facebook.
It was wonderful to see so many young people worshiping and enjoying. For the last song we did – Utto ae Javano (Wake up youth) Hammad invited his brother and Crisma band to join us on stage and we all sang together. What a wonderful atmosphere of unity and worship. Then everyone wanted to take pictures whilst Lloyd and I are trying to pack all our equipment to go. By now it’s 11pm and of course we have to have food with the organisers so after food and packing all our bags on the roof of the jeep and all the instruments in the boot we set off at midnight to drive to the next show. What I thought was a 4 hour drive turned out to be 6 hours due to heavy traffic and poor road conditions and we arrived as the sun was coming up. Thanks to your prayers I was able to drive through the night singing praise songs to keep myself awake as everyone else slept in the car.
We awoke on Sunday morning to the familiar sounds of village life, cockerels and cows everywhere. Hammad and Lloyd were up and ready to sound check by 11.00am fortunately I was allowed another hour in bed before getting ready. This was one day convention organised by Pastor Kashif Naseem and the Presbyterian Church in Kirto (Nearest town Muridkay – 20 km away on very rough roads!) There was a tented area with rugs on the floor a few seats for the men on one side and ladies and children sitting on the floor on the other side. We went on stage at midday and played 3 sets with 2 sermons from different pastors in between and finished at 4pm just in time for Lunch! When we started playing there were around 400 people present and by the time we finished the numbers had increased to 700 with people squeezing up, chairs moved out the way as more people could pack in sitting on the floor. The people were very kind, presenting us with Shawls and a plaque, and many young people wanted pictures and autographs. It was quite overwhelming. We were on the road back to Lahore by 5.30pm just as it was getting dark, I was so tired but thank God I managed the 2 hour drive home, still singing Bless the Lord o my Soul! There are some amazing pictures from this place as Sohail Joseph who directs Hammad’s videos was there taking pictures with Hammad’s phone – see attached.
Sunday night we slept well at home in Lahore at last. I spent Monday and Tuesday just doing domestic chores and grocery shopping, there is so much dust in this country I spent at least 2 days cleaning the kitchen and rest of house before I could settle and enjoy the space. Hammad had a couple of frustrating days visiting the Electricity Supplier office and the police station as someone had stolen of our electricity metre for the supply to his studio. He went to the Electricity Office to report the problem and they sent someone out to the house to confirm the meter is gone, then he had to do a report and Hammad had to file a Police Report. Then back the Electricity Office to show the police report. Today he went again to the Electricity Office to try and get a demand notice so we can pay the bill for a new meter and then after a week or so they will fit a new meter. Hammad has been anxious the whole time, as this sort of problem can be very costly with back-handers demanded to resolve things at every stage. Please do pray that we can sort this out before Hammad comes back to the UK.
We had good news last night that Hammad’s niece Leah gave birth to a baby boy Praise God, the baby’s name is Zion. Mother and baby both doing well and home today. Leah is Lloyd’s sister and we spent some good times with her and her family in Islamabad last week. Please do pray for Leah and her baby as they settle at home and she gets used to coping with two small children – her first daughter is 4 years old.
What’s coming up next:
Today Hammad has launched the video of Kya Raat The Woh (What a night it was) which is the Christmas song he will be performing at the Carol services in Chesham in a couple of week’s time. The second video is in final edit stage and will be released in two or three days. We give thanks to God for Sohail Joseph and his work on these two videos, we pray that many people will hear the true meaning of Christmas through this song.
On Friday this week we are playing a memorial concert for our good friend Frank Margrave who died just a few days before I arrived in Pakistan. Pastor Waseem Khokar at Lahore Evangelical Ministries in Youhanabad has kindly agreed to host the concert and invite all the pastors involved in my research project and their congregations. Frank’s family will also be present and we will take up a collection for them. Please do pray for strength for us both to perform in very emotional circumstances. We pray that this will be an event to unite the community in honour of a servant-hearted worshiper who served so many churches and helped our ministry a lot.
We have both been invited to be judges at the Presbyterian Education Board Inter-School Carol singing competition at PEB school system C.G. Higher Secondary Branch, Shahkot Road, Sangla Hill on Saturday 5th December at 11am (2 hours drive from home). Our friend Lynn Masterson, who is a missionary with Interserve, has been working for the Presbyterian Education Board for about 20 years, she invited us for this event. Her sending church was St Paul’s Slough which is our original sending church. We thank God for this opportunity to meet Lynn and encourage her work here in Pakistan.
On Sunday we are playing at JDM church Mall Road Lahore for Pastor Yousaph who also runs HF TV channel. This is a morning worship service. Pastor Yousaph featured in one of Hammad’s videos for a song related to the tough life of a pastor in Pakistan. He has a small church in a very poor area so it will be a real privilege to go and encourage him and his congregation.
Please do continue to pray for our safety as we travel, and for security at the venues, particularly in Youhanabad on Friday (where two churches were attacked in February this year). Please pray for Hammad’s spirits he is a bit down due to tiredness and the problems with electricity meter. We both wish to experience the joy of worship as we lead and encourage others.
In case I don’t get to an internet café again before I leave, my flight home is 3am on Wednesday next week, arriving at Heathrow around midday Wednesday, back to work in Chesham on Thursday 10th December. Please do pray for a comfortable flight with some hours of sleep, and a quick adjustment to UK time (5 hours behind Pakistan).