asia: March 18, 2015

Visit of the Gen. Sec. WCEU to NEICEU and Pakistan

After the meeting of the Executive Committee in Bangalore I visited CE groups in the northeast Indian State of Assam. I spoke at the 113th annual conference of the Sonitpur Baptist Christian Association in Shakomato Christian Centre, Biswanath Chariali to a beyond 1k audience, and visited the Lakhimpur Baptist CE Union. There are about 60 local CE societies in the Lakhimpur district (population about 1 m) with about 1500 youth. One third of them study in colleges or university. Among the programs of the Lakhimpur Bapt. CE union are an annual youth camp, leadership training, monthly youth rallies and practical services like road repair. 2013 the district union appointed a full-time evangelist. The leaders visit the local societies regularly to encourage and advise them. Pastor Aziz ul-Haq and local CE president E. Mrinmoy from Guwahati, the biggest town in Assam, reported similar figures and activities in their area. CE is very active and numerous in Northeast India especially with the Baptists in Assam and the Presbyterians in Meghalaya.

Following the visit in Assam I flew to Lahore, Punjab in Pakistan. The CE friends, Pastor Roshan and Evangelist Samuel, took me to a number of rural churches and house churches. Especially the Christians in the villages, mostly workers in brick kilns, shared as their main problem the lack of proper schools for their children. Some pastors started informal schools to help the children. Evangelists Samuel and Joseph Yousaf together with Pastor Roshan had arranged for a conference where some Christian organizations presented themselves to an audience of about 80 youth leaders and pastors. I could explain what is special with CE: Pledge, consecration meeting, working through committees, youth in ministry… Quite a number of the visitors appreciated the CE way of youth ministry. But until now no CE youth group has been formed in Lahore. For the first time I visited Pastor Manzoor, who lives in Tando Jam near Hyderabad, Province Sindh in the desertic South of Pakistan. He cares for about 8 rural churches which meet usually in private homes. Sunday, 22nd morning we went to preach in Hari Camp, Kotri, across the vast Indus valley. As special security measure we were escorted by four policemen in a police pick-up. Police watched also pastor’s house as long as the foreigner was there.

And around the school where we met in Hari Camp all day long about ten policemen stood guard. After service I was requested to inaugurate a room for the youth (‘Junior Church’) and in the afternoon I was to speak about Christian Endeavor at a youth conference. This church has started a CE youth group but it seems the youth needs still a lot of most basic know-how for effective functioning. These Christians have been liberated from bonded labor only a few years back. Pastor Manzoor promotes CE because he hopes to get motivated helpers for his missionary outreach activities.

March 18, 2015, 07:49 h by Andreas A. Rudolph, General Secretary of WCEU.