As we embark on the season of Lent, we ask you to remember Fr. John and the Orthodox Mission in Pakistan in your prayers and in your almsgiving.
Your generous support makes Fr. John’s ministry possible. He and his family depend entirely on donations for their livelihood and ministry. He does not receive a salary from the church, and his parishioners live on little more than $3 a day. What they lack in financial means they make up for in devotion and labor, and yet they need our financial support.
With your help, Fr. John can continue to support widows who have no income. Just $5 a month helps feed one widow and her family.
With your help, the OMP sewing center will continue to provide a safe haven for girls and young women, giving them a place to learn a valuable skill while protecting them from being preyed upon.
With your help, Fr. John can continue providing medicine for the sick, and assisting families experiencing hardships.
With your help, lay volunteers can continue to help Fr. John in his ministry. Fr. John ministers to a large territory, and lay volunteers help bring Orthodoxy into rural areas. Your support provides a small stipend to these volunteers so that they can provide for themselves and their families while they work for the growth of the Church.
Would you consider making a monthly commitment? A monthly gift of even $10 or $15 will go a long way. Our goal is to be able to provide Fr. John with a consistent amount of support each month, so that he doesn’t have to worry month to month. Your help, in any amount, can make this possible.
As always, 100% of your donation goes directly to Fr. John and his ministry.
We thank you and pray that you have a blessed Lenten journey.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
We present our good wishes to you all on the great occasion of the celebration the feast of Nativity. For us this is great opportunity to thank you for your great support which you have provided to us in the year 2018. The Orthodox Mission in Pakistan is trying to enrich the people in Orthodox Faith. Through your great help we are trying to look after our infrastructure, the sick, widows, orphans, needy as well as the students. Firstly, we have made renovations to the church building and conference hall and covered the foundation of the building with mud and stone.
Dear brothers and sisters, we are really thankful to God and to you that Presbytra Rosy is recovering from her sickness. We pray that God may give her complete and good health that she may constantly support Orthodox Mission through her spiritual and social activities. Presbytra Rosy is very popular among the people not only Christians but in Muslim community also due to her counselling abilities.
Dear brothers and sisters, please be constant in supporting the Orthodox Mission in Pakistan, though we are facing many different problems, your encouragement is keeping us always active and loyal to God.
Please come forward and help us so that joy and happiness which we have received on this great feast may we be able to share it with others in different ways.
Your generosity is always appreciated by the Orthodox Faithful in Pakistan. We pray that our Lord Jesus may grant you blessings in abundance, give you health and long life so that His Holy Name may be spread in the whole world.
May the year 2019 keep us united forever!
The blessing of the Lord God is with you all,
Fr. John Tanveer
Orthodox Mission in Pakistan
Everyone in the world has a story. Our stories can be happy, sad, and everything in between. Today, we would like to tell you the story of a few people that the Orthodox Mission in Pakistan serves.
“Anna” was the beauty of her village. Every young man who knew her wanted to marry her. She finally chose the best and most handsome young man from the next village, named “George”. George and Anna lived on a farm in the north of Pakistan. After some time, George and Anna learned they could not have children, which grieved them terribly. In that part of the country, it is common for the Indus River to flood during the summer. One year, the Indus flooded tremendously, forcing them to leave the family farm, and head to the capital, Islamabad. George had a difficult time finding work for a very long time, and he and Anna struggled making ends meet. George eventually found a job as a janitor, which was the cause for much joy! One day on his way to work, George stepped into the street, and was suddenly hit by a car, dying instantly. In an instant, Anna was widowed, alone, and without financial or moral support. She had no one to help her. She learned from a friend about the Orthodox Mission in Pakistan. She learned that Fr John Tanveer and his family regularly gave food and basic necessities to widows in need. Since she was a Muslim, she hesitated asking a Christian for assistance, but she decided to take a chance, and went to them for help.
“Peter” lives in Lahore. He grew up in a Roman Catholic family, and married a woman who had known him his entire life. He and his wife have five children, and the two of them continuously instructed their children from the scriptures. They pray together, eat together, and live their lives together. One day, a friend invited him to hear a preacher speak. Peter had always been enthusiastic about the scriptures, and opening his mind and heart to Christ’s words, so he readily agreed. That preacher was Fr John. Teaching from the Epistle of St James, Fr John opened the scriptures before Peter in a way he had not before experienced. Peter decided he wanted to discuss the scriptures with Fr John. Peter then introduced himself to Fr John, and then invited him to his house for further discussion. Their conversations turned into a close friendship, and after several months of theological dialogue, Peter decided that he and his family would all become Orthodox Christians. As time went on, Peter could not contain his love for Christ, his enthusiasm for communion with the Church, and devotion to the Mother of God. Fr John recognized Peter’s zeal, and asked if he would consider becoming a lay catechist, as this would give Fr John more time to fill other needs. Unfortunately, Peter had no time to spare. His work and family demand much of his time. With five children and a wife, he needs the means to support them if he worked less.
“Sarah” is a fourteen year old who grew up in a Hindu family in Lahore, the youngest of a family of four daughters. Her parents have been searching far and wide for an eligible sutor for Sarah, but this has proved difficult as most of the Hindu families in their neighborhood either have no children, or their children are already married. Sarah has been afraid of her marital status for the last year, as she heard many rumors of women like her being abducted and forced to marry muslim men. Whenever her father leaves home to go to work, she weeps in fear at the thought of someone breaking in and stealing her while her father is away. Her mother happened to meet and become friends with a Orthodox Christian woman who attends a house church that Fr John leads. This woman told Sarah’s mother that she and her daughter could go to the OMP Sewing Center to be safe while Sarah’s father worked. Not only that, the instructor at the sewing center would teach them to make bed sheets they could sell!
Helping those in need is not only the calling of the Orthodox Mission in Pakistan; it is the calling of us all. $5 gives a widow like Anna food for several days. $100 enables a lay catechist like Peter to spend less time at his job every month, and more time preaching the gospel. $1,000 enables the mission to purchase a motorcycle Peter can use to travel between cities, preaching the gospel as he goes. $400 per month covers the costs of the OMP Sewing Center, which include the materials, electricity, and an instructor’s salary. You can find more information about how to give on our give page. We humbly ask that you consider giving to support one of these extremely important ministries.
An update from Pb Rosy concerning her health:
Happy Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul.
Hopefully you are well .
This morning I went for blood tests. The reports have improved.
I shall have the 6th and last chemotherapy June 30th. I need your prayers so that the miraculous power of the Theotokos may help me to accept all that comes from the Lord Jesus Christ. I believe that I will be healed soon.
With love and prayers.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
We hope the fast has provided the means to draw further into life in Christ, and that you have stayed strong in our mutual, spiritual struggle. “During the Lenten season we are trying our best to perform our duty in the Orthodox Mission in Pakistan,” said Fr. John. “Though sometimes we get stuck, God always encourages us to carry on His mission.” It is with heavy hearts that we must inform you of developments with the health of Pb. Rosy.
Pb. Rosy was recently diagnosed with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL). She began her first round of chemotherapy recently, which has caused extreme amounts of pain. Her doctors have recommended she undergo six rounds of chemotherapy, one every three weeks, at which point she will undergo further testing to see how the cancer has responded. Her doctors remain optimistic her condition will improve. While this is encouraging, Pb. Rosy’s treatments are very expensive, costing around $1,500 per treatment. Fr. John has saved money for an emergency over the years, and has paid for all her medical expenses thus far. “Rosy is very precious for the Orthodox Mission in Pakistan,” Fr. John said. ”She supports the mission through her writings, catechesis, translation of spiritual texts, teaching, and especially counseling.”
However, supporting Pb. Rosy, and thus supporting the mission’s ability to serve the community, comes at a price. Fr. John cannot travel to serve Liturgy in Wazirabad as frequently. He cannot buy church supplies nor give to as many who are in need. In short, this illness has tied the hands of the mission. In this, one of the mission’s most dire hours, we must humbly ask, will you help? The mission needs your support, by your prayers and financial means, now more than any other time. “I, Fr. John, want to thank you for your kind and loving concern for us. We ask that you remember us in your prayers, and that God may heal her quickly.”
Please consider signing up for our prayer list and making a donation to help Pb. Rosy. You may sign up for our prayer list by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We reached out to Fr John for an update concerning his and our Orthodox brethren’s safety in the wake of recent terror attacks in Lahore. He had this to say:
Times like these recall to memory hymns such as this:
“Oh Lord save your people and bless your inheritance! Granting to your people victory over all their enemies, and by the power of your cross, preserve your estate.”
-Troparion of the Holy Cross
Please continue to keep our brethren in your prayers.
The priest from Pakistan: Hearing the blast, I immediately ran to the place of tragedy
Yesterday we were with my mother at the liturgy in our church. When we returned home in the evening, I went out into the yard and heard the noise, both from the Big Bang, because my house is not far from the park, Gulshan-e-Iqbal in Lahore, where the tragedy occurred. We were separated less than one kilometer.
I immediately went down the street, saw people running. People on the day was very much in Pakistan celebrated Easter. I have seen the bodies of dead and wounded, it is now known that killed more than 70 and wounded more than 300 people. Many are in a critical situation in a hospital. We already know that most of the dead and injured were Christians: Protestants, and Orthodox (although there were not many) were in the park that day. Day in Pakistan is very hot, most families went for a walk with the children is in the evening, and then tragedy struck.
Unfortunately, I do not think that the Christian Church in Pakistan will be able to help people with something other than prayers and visits to the wounded in the hospital. Yesterday I celebrated the Liturgy. If we talk about the Orthodox Church, I – the only Orthodox priest in Lahore. Of course, I’ll do everything I can, I will visit people in the hospital, but my options are limited. I am very sorry that we can not do more!
The situation in the region – a critical, Christianophobia and discrimination is very strong. I was in Islamabad, capital of Pakistan, to refer to the European Union and the international community on this issue. I am very glad that this will write “Pravmir”, maybe it will draw attention to the issue of the persecution of Christians in the region. I am glad that people are at least concerned about the situation.
During my last visit to Moscow, I already told you that we are in some dire straits. I have no way to help, but I have to be with their parishioners, with his people. My house is right next to the place of the tragedy, I’ll probably have to think about how to move to a safer place, but in Pakistan, such a place may simply not be the pressure on Christians is felt everywhere.
In St. Petersburg, I met with Patriarch Kirill, which heard me – “strong man,” I serve time in this region. But I – not a strong man, my strength – in your support, the support of the faithful, and I’m not talking about money! We have the cross that we must bear every day. This – the main thing I want to say. Of course, we need the support – is in very short supply of medicines, many people are just hungry … People here are not very well educated, but they have a sincere faith in God. We are oppressed, but we know that they are able to do anything until the Lord with us.
–Fr John Tanveer
If you would like to make a contribution to help with the difficult but critical work being done by Fr. John in Pakistan, please visit our donation page.
Lord God is great who always looks after us.
Last Saturday, at midnight while we were sleeping, 25 to 30 people came to attack us. They broke our main door, damaged our vehicle and windows. Then the situation became very odd because they were slandering our faith.We survived, but a lot of destruction has been done. We are thankful for our neighbors who supported us and threw them out. Now we are planning to move somewhere else. Even in this situation I will never stop strengthening our faith. This much I can say to you, that God surely is with us.
Thank you for your faithful prayers and financial support, the Orthodox Mission in Pakistan continues to grow both in size and in maturity. This newsletter will bring you up to date on a number of recent developments. We are are pleased to present to you an update on Father John Tanveer’s recent trip to Russia, a request for prayer for the people of Pakistan, and good news of an Orthodox man recently released from prison.
In June, Fr John had the great blessing to travel to Russia for 10 days. The trip was arranged by a Russian filmmaker who has been working on a documentary about Fr John and the Orthodox Mission in Pakistan. Fr John attended a screening of the documentary in St Petersburg, with hundreds of priests, bishops, archbishops and laity in attendance. The film was very well received. Fr John was honored to be invited to offer remarks after the film’s showing. He implored the large audience to give of their abundance to their struggling Orthodox brethren in Pakistan.
The trip coincided with the 25thanniversary celebration of the canonization of St John of Kronstadt. Fr John took a long pilgrimage from St Petersburg, traveling two nights by train to Sura, Russia, the birthplace of St John. He visited many churches and saw the famous “White Nights” (nearly round-the-clock daylight). The highlight of his trip to Sura was the opportunity—unplanned—to meet Patriarch Kirill, who also was in Sura at the same time. The two were introduced, and Fr John was overjoyed to realize that the Patriarch was already well familiar with Fr John and the Orthodox Mission in Pakistan. Fr John was greatly encouraged by the Patriarch’s words of support and praise for Fr John and the mission.
Fr John was greatly blessed by the trip, which he called a privilege. His faith was strengthened and he was greatly heartened by the reception that he received everywhere he went in Russia. “Although I’m a sinner priest”, he told us, the media in Russia were very interested in him and he granted many interviews. As he was preparing to depart Russia, faithful gave him chocolate as a parting gift – more than 50 lbs worth! Never before had he received such honor and respect as during his 10 days in Russia, and he returned to Pakistan encouraged and strengthened.
Prayers for Pakistan
Pakistan suffered intense heat waves earlier this summer, with more than 1,000 fatalities as a result. Now it is the rainy season, and Fr John tells us he’s very concerned about flooding. They are working to build a road to the church (shown in the picture below), which would help prevent flooding. Some parts of the country have already experienced mudslides. Let us pray for temperate seasons for the people of Pakistan.
Very Good News!
Fr John notified us that a young Orthodox man who spent nearly three years in prison on blasphemy charges (accused of insulting Islam) was recently released! It is not uncommon for Christians to be accused of blasphemy, which is a charge punishable by death. Sadly Christians also suffer vigilante justice – being murdered by their accusers before they can stand trial. Needless to say, Fr John is overjoyed that this young man was released and thanks everyone for their prayers.
In order to continue serving the people of Pakistan, OMP needs our prayers and our financial support. We hope that you will consider giving your time in prayer and your financial support to further the work of the Church for the people of Pakistan. Please visit our donation page and consider supporting OMP financially.