Pakistan 2009: Do you work for the CIA?

I actually get it a lot more than you would think. When I am traveling to some exotic, dangerous or unusual out-of-the way place people ask what it is I do. Hotel guests, employees and airport acquaintances try to fish and find out. Sometimes I keep quiet to them for serious reasons, other times I am vague to ‘salt the conversation’ to see if there is an open door to share. This last trip I even had to be careful with my blog and social networks in case the Consulate or others attempted to google me for more information about what I was doing. So I guess it might seem like I could be involved in the CIA, or at least the romanticized idea of the CIA.

This last mission started with a simple visit to a church while Christie,Tori and I were taking some much needed R&R in Santa Barbara. I was minding my own business while a friend of mine was preaching a good pastoral message on the protection of the Lord. While he was speaking the Lord downloaded directly to me, “You have an invitation to go to Pakistan, I want you to take it.” Instructions from headquarters, basically.Did I really have a choice? He said, ” If you love Me, keep My commandments.” John 14:15. Pretty straightforward stuff, I would say. Within days I had communicated to all relevant parties when I had a return call from Pastor Salik John, my host. He informed me as I was given orders he was landing in Denver, coming from Pakistan. Nice timing. Some pastors from the last time I was there in Sept ’07 had asked if I would return. Confirmation of orders. I asked when we could go. He said after monsoon season. September during Ramadan, their holy days. Nice, out of the frying pan into the fire.

They had said in one area, after a campaign of about 2000 in two days if we had a 10,000 seat arena we could have filled it. So my game plan was, I’ve got about three and a half months, we are going to target 10,000 plus Pakistanis. We’ll raise $40,000-50,000, show up in that city and ask them to show us a bigger venue. Pay for it, move the equipment and preach to 10,000 people and watch God move. People will get behind us, because they’d rather send then go, right? Preach in one of the most volatile places on earth, tell them about Jesus, what He’s done for them! What an opportunity to go and send to the uttermost parts of the world. To a place where they are unreached!

Three months later and we had raised maybe 5% of what we needed. Every where we shared I expected the next place to really jump on board and say Wow! fruit in Pakistan. There were some Wows! and there were a few, “Maybe God is saying you don’t need to go, it’s pretty dangerous over there…” I had mileage to go, but now the Consulate was stalling my visa that I had acquired easily in a day last time. Two and a half weeks had gone by and some more, “Maybe God doesn’t want you to go’s” were flinging at me. Then even a little international mix-up in communication. Not enough resources, visa problems, communication issues. But my orders had been real clear! As my time neared to depart I had my bags in the car packed every day, ready to jump on a plane.

Finally a glimmer of hope, a pastor from Maryland tells me a church member will let me use a companion ticket to fly to the east coast so I can at least get a head start. Four days no visa. Showing up once again at the Consulate they pull me in the office and interview me. Why does an American want to go to Pakistan during these times? ‘Harmless as a dove, wise as a serpent’ is all I’m going to respond about this. After about 30 minutes I am told they will advise the Consulate General that they recommend I should be allowed a visa. No promises. Sounds like the CIA to me. They will contact me by 11AM the next morning. They don’t, I do and the stalling continues. We drive to the Consulate by 3:30 and they are surprised I am impatient. Within 20 minutes I am delivered my visa and on the way to the airport. Flying the red-eye I arrive in Baltimore where my Pastor friend says ‘Hang out a day and come to church’. Remember I still don’t have my ticket overseas as I couldn’t book it without a visa.

Sunday morning the man who gave me the companion ticket asks me how my flight was. After a little small talk, he asks me my next destination. I tell him Dubai. He asks me to hold on and comes back with ticket equivalents to the Middle East and all the way back to Los Angeles. That night I am flying to Dubai, UAE. Two days later I am in Lahore, Pakistan via Doha, Qatar after more seeming travel challenges. I check into the Holiday Inn and this time there is three foot razor wire in front of the hotel and two 50-caliber automatic shotgun wielding guards in booths. Different place. We drive the next day for a few hours to the first Campaign.
Under constant machine-gun escort we come to Kasur, Pakistan.There are 3000+ people and that night after preaching on Mark 5:25, over 1200 people give their hearts to the Lord. A deaf mans ears are opened among others touched by the Lord.

The next night in Jhelum a few kilometers outside of town a police truck with 6 or more gun toting officers pull in front of us, a couple more trucks pull behind at strategic points in case we are ambushed. We are carefully ushered in a gate, where a man with a rifle is positioned on the roof above where we will be preaching. 800 attend the first night, 300 receive the Lord. I watch as Bro.Salik prays for a young girl who is blind. Her eyes are opened and she can see. 1200+ attend the second night and at least 300 respond to the altar call. The pastors tell us in the history of this town this is the first time they have ever had an event such as this. Probably 80,000-90,000 reside here. Over 5000 people ministered to in 3 days, some 1800+ people respond to the Lord.

We finish preaching at the church in Lahore of over 200. These are poor people residing in a dangerous country during perilous times. Realizing how important it is I minister on “How to be led by the Holy Spirit”. A basic simplified message of “How to Train your Spirit” by Bro. Hagin. Afterwards, I explain to them one of the best ways to be led by the Spirit is to be baptized in the Spirit. 30-50 people respond and receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Another 10 people respond to a salvation call. Against all the challenges, stalled visa, lack of enthusiasm for the project, financial obstacles, travel situations and such all I can think of is what if I would have chosen not to accept this assignment? How many other assignments are being cut short as we look for circumstances, problems and challenges to line up or disappear?

I want to thank our partners who continue to send us on this great adventure and all who sowed prayers, finances, tickets and equipment. We couldn’t accomplish any of this without you. Know that you have fruit in Pakistan. Like David said in 1 Samuel 30:24,”… Certainly, the share of those who go into battle must be like the share those who stay by the supplies. They will all share alike.”

PS We will attempt to put up videos of the trip as quickly as we can.

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~ by unisonharvest on October 23, 2009.

3 Responses to “Pakistan 2009: Do you work for the CIA?”

  1. Cliff, thanks for sharing this. It is encouraging. It is difficult for me to understand why God would tell me to do something and then find out there is little support. He always makes a way though.
    Scott

    • it’s simple don’t give up: he that endures to the END shall be saved, Sozo: salvation, peace, health, and more. simple doesn’t necessarily imply ‘easy’. don’t give up till you got it brother…

      Cliff Graham

  2. Oh yeah! It is awesome what God did over there because of your obedience. Keep it up.

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