Testimony of Conversion
I am Joshua and was born into a Christian family; my parents belong to the Salvation Army Church. In childhood, I was very active in the church. I was a senior soldier in my church. But by age 10, I was no longer interested in Christ or the church. I was taught in government schools, which are like Islamic schools. I didn’t have any Christian friends in my school. So I had a lot of Muslim friends.
Also, I started drinking and smoking and other immoral activities. Also, I was very interested in Islamic teaching and hid my identity as a Christian. Even though I was inspired by Islamic teaching, I did read the Bible by myself and also with some fellow pastors, but these things did not satisfy me.
At the end of 2003, I got married, and in 2005, my father died. In 2009, I was the father of four kids, and also the elder sibling of four brothers, so I had too many responsibilities. I was poor and jobless and didn’t have a good source of income. During this time, I began taking more drugs. This period in my life was challenging. I was jobless, and someone suggested I go to seminary for three months and find a job in ministry. In God’s providence I discovered Jesus Christ’s atonement and why Jesus came in the flesh. I understood more about the love and grace of God. I was very inspired by 2 Peter 2:19-21:
“They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved. For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them.”
I came to understand that Jesus gives freedom from all slavery. We don’t have another way without Christ for Salvation. God did not change my condition around me – everything was the same. But thank God, He changed me within. I believed in God, and I enjoyed whatever suffering or hard times that would come. Coming to faith in Jesus made things more difficult for me; for instance, my church and my family were against me. Many of my friends left me. But by Grace of God, I face all things by faith. I didn’t think I would preach one day. I was shy. I think I am still shy now. But God changed my nature, and I talked boldly about Christ.
Testimony of Call to Ministry
During those three months at the seminary, God changed my whole life. By the Grace of God, I quit smoking and taking drugs and separated myself from bad friends. Now, I think I didn’t leave these things, but rather, in reality, they left me. Before I left for seminary, I would preach in the streets with friends and others. Some people noticed and thought, “Oh, he can preach.” After I returned from seminary, in my village, the Catholic church and Catholic people who were elders in families had a gathering and invited me, saying, “You lead us as a preacher.” I told them, “Okay, I will; but I will not compromise my doctrine.” So I started preaching at the end of 2010. And also, I was doing street evangelism outreach. I arranged many meetings and regular weekly Sunday preaching in my village. Around 50 people got baptized in water. Because I didn’t have a job, and no proper source of income, I got a job as a bartender. While on the job, I also preached in that company place.
After a few months, I left my job because of my conscience, and I came to a larger city with my family, where I had a new job. There were many challenges in my new job, but by the grace of God, I continued my ministry. In the city, I found many places and people where I began home groups. Weekly, I would lead four home groups and did many outreach meetings. When I moved came to Iraq for work, I began leading a homegroup in my workplace, and some people came to faith. I wanted to return to Faisalabad to plant a church. The pastors of the church I was attending took notice of my ministry and recommended that I join an internship before going back to Pakistan. I learned much theology and about the church and am thankful to be a church-planter in Pakistan.
Spouse’s Testimony of Conversion
My wife, Rebekah, belonged to a Catholic church. Her mother accepted Jesus as her Savior before my wife or I did. She wanted my kids to also accept Jesus. So she prayed for them and taught them. My wife began taking more attention to Jesus and the Gospel. These things changed her heart and mind. She accepted Jesus Christ as Savior and was baptized in water. God changed her life. Before she came to faith, she spent time in prayer and church services by force of her mother. But after conversion, she surrendered her life before God, and now she is a good witness of Jesus Christ.