In October I was blessed to have the opportunity to represent you, the members of the ARP, at a couple of important celebrations in Pakistan. As the moderator I represented not just an office in our Synod, but the labours and prayers of many missionaries and congregations who have taken to heart the work our Mission Board has undertaken in Pakistan.
The Mable Lowry Pressly School, or girls hostel, was celebrating the 100th year of its founding and continued service. The women who gave of themselves to serve as directors of that school were recognized as was the current director Miss Akhter Tal (Baji Akhter) who has worked there for 40 years! In a culture where women are often treated as second class citizens this school makes an important statement. Many graduates gave testimony to the love they had received while students. The education enabled them to go on in ways that would otherwise not have been possible. This most importantly, is the life changing message of new life in Jesus Christ that they were blessed to embrace there.
This was a celebration of mission work at its best. Here the Word of God has been taught and lived. Here young women were educated and converted. Here the love of God in Jesus Christ has been made manifest. And here the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ continues to make an impact. Please resolve to pray unstintingly for the work of the MLPS in Sahiwal.
A New School
The second celebration took place down the highway in Chichawatni, on the grounds of the old mission compound where Esther John was martyred; and where a new school complex is being built. The first stage is a large two-story red brick building with spacious sun lit class rooms that will be completed very soon. The dedication of that building, the day after the 100th anniversary celebrations for MLPS, marked a continuing in the same faithful mission vision which the mission in Pakistan has exemplified.
Pakistan is a very unsettled society. There are many questions about visas, finances, the future, and the radicalisation of Islam. But in dedicating this new school building, the ARP mission in Pakistan was saying it was trusting the Lord’s good providence for the future of this work, with the hope that 100 years from now another celebration might be held with similar testimonies.
In building this school on the site of the martyrdom of Esther John the ARP is making a statement that the blood of martyrs is indeed the seed of the Church. Rather than be dissuaded from its missionary task the ARP mission has been encouraged to move ahead in faith trusting that the Lord will use this work for the blessing of the people of Pakistan.
In this issue, the Rev. Rob Patrick of Bartow, FL has written a piece about the education of our own children. Our society is no less full of questions than that of Pakistan. They may be different questions, but fundamentally they testify to the same need. Our children, here or in Pakistan, need to be instructed not only in the basics, which we would expect for any education, but most importantly they need to be instructed in the Word of God and the good news of our Saviour Jesus Christ. This is the only hope for the future, whether in a declining West or a struggling East. It is the only sure hope for men and women of any time and any culture. It is timeless and eternal. May we be blessed of God, with a resolve to give it the priority it deserves both here and abroad.