My name is Paul. I was born under a different name, Kashif, to a Pakistani family. From a young age I had a close relationship with the supernatural. At the age of two, in my grandmothers courtyard in Karachi, I saw a brilliant light in the sky, brighter than the sun. It pierced my soul like a laser beam, and I was helpless before who I now know was God.
Later as I grew to be five, in my room God visited me once again. He asked me a question. "Would you die for somebody?" He asked. I didnt know the answer, so I turned it around to Him. He told me yes was the right answer.
I accepted His word, and immediately sensed a deep peace and joy. Then He asked me, "Would you die for anyone?" Same thing, I didnt know, He told me yes.
After a thought, I accepted this advice, and time disappeared as I entered eternity. I walked through the wall and found myself walking with Jesus in a green hilly field. Afterwards he returned me to my bed.
As I grew older, I was often sent to the basement for punishment to await my sentence. In these lonely times, I would say to God, "God, if I could be born a second time, I would not be so mean to others."
In Edmonton, at medical school, I lost all sense of right and wrong, as I plunged into a web of lust, perversion, drunkenness, drugs and pornography. From this I descended into addiction and the occult, as I tried to "find myself". During this time, many people in Toronto, where I was taking time off from school, offered me answers. From a drug-pusher, to a Buddhist new-age group, to satanists, to hare-krishnas, to my cousin who wanted me to see a mullah.
Finally, at a Jazz nightclub/restaurant where I worked, there was a Christian, who told me about Jesus.
Well, I wasnt going to let anyone preach to me - I had all the answers, at 22.
I refuted his testimony that Jesus had helped him to stop smoking and drinking and doing perverted things, and publicly denounced him, the way any hot-blooded Muslim would do to a simple preachy-type. Youve been there, I am sure.
But God is merciful, in ways you would only know if you believe what I am about to tell you.
One day, thinking to myself, "well Mohammed had a greater revelation than Jesus, but then came Joseph Smith and Baha'ullah. So the pattern is a new revelation as the situation requires", I decided to find out what new spiritual message I could offer the world.
After meditating the way I knew all these men did, I sensed a presence at my right shoulder. It asked me permission to use my arm to write down a message.
I thought, "Wow, I really am going to get the latest revelation", and it came into my arm. This is no lie, as God is my witness.
It began to write, "Believe if you can believe, receive if you can receive..." I paused, and thought about it and let it continue. But soon it degenerated into a message of hate and revenge and violence. This was no message from God!
Scared, I dropped the pen, and immediately sensed the spirit withdraw to a corner of a room. There, it cowered, radiating hate and fear at me. I fell on my knees and prayed:
"God, if You are there, help me now!"
As I was finishing this prayer, the telephone rang. It was the Christian from work. I let down my guard and asked him what to do. He told me to read the little red New Testament he had given to me.
Only the Revelation of John interested me, as I dismissed the miraculous answer to my prayer as possible coincidence. But the next sign was remarkable.
In Revelation, the author talks of the number seven many times. Seven eyes of God, seven spirits of God, seven judgments of wrath, and so on.
Seven is the number of perfection in creation, because in six days God created the heavens and the earth and on the seventh day He rested.
You will be as surprised as I was when I sat down to write out the budget for the previous months spending:
Oct --- Bus Pass 67 Rent 290 Phone 90 Food 120 Drugs 180 Misc 30 --- Total 777
But still, I ran from the message.
In August, 1994, I began to read the New Testament for leisure, as one would read the comics. In it I sensed the character of Jesus, as being wholly good. He did so many things for people, and the things He said were true. I decided to follow Him as my teacher, but did not really believe the theology of Christianity.
In September, after two years absence from medicine, I resumed studies, but had an insatiable thirst for the Bible. Even Old Testament books like Leviticus, and Deuteronomy jumped off the page at me and put life into my soul as I digested the character of God.
I had many questions, like how could you prove the Bible was true, and all of the theology, but God bypassed all of that.
In November, I went on a camping weekend with Campus Crusade for Christ. Saturday night, I asked my questions about the Bible and Jesus being Gods Son, but was unsatisfied with the responses, which were faith ones, not intellectual.
But after many hours of singing and talking, the night grew warm and friendly, and I was left alone with my friend Dani, talking until three.
At this time, the whole camp was silent, except for the soft knocks which fell upon the cabin door: knock-knock-knock-knock-knock-knock-knock.
Seven knocks. My heart pounded as Dani answered the door. In my mind I had the thought, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door I will come into him and sup with him and he with me." Jesus said this in Revelation.
"Is there anyone there?", I asked Dani.
"Nobody is there," she replied.
It must be one of the students, I thought, and went outside to confirm my suspicions. I searched all around the entrance, but found no one.
Sitting down on a swing to think, I felt a peace come over me and I was a child again. Wanting to see what Dani was doing, I got up and walked to the doorway. She was standing framed in the doorway, and there was a glow shining out of her face - a soft light radiating from her very skin. It reminded me of when Moses spoke with the Lord on the mountain.
This startled me, and I confronted God: "Oh, God help me!"
Dani calmed me down and explained this was a sign from God to help me believe. "Jesus died for your sins," she said. I believed, but did not want to give up control, because I was stubborn. We sat in silence for many minutes.
Then came a scratching on the windowpane. Dani went outside to see what it was. It was a sphere of light, hovering in the air.
Later, as we stood in the doorway to go back to our sleeping quarters, she saw a figure walking across the field. It must have been God. Everyone else was sound asleep.
Sunday night, back in the city, I lay fearfully in bed. Midnight.
Remembering the words, "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble", I humbled myself and asked God to forgive me for ignoring all of His help to believe.
Suddenly a small light, like the sparkly light on birthday cakes of children, came out of thin air, two inches away from my forehead, and entered my brain: "Fizz-pop!" I had a deep peace like such as I had never had.
My restless mind ceased. My doubts were relieved, my questions answered. I KNEW the Bible was true. But I still could not understand the most basic scriptures. I still had to receive my gift.
The next day, somebody was brought into my path to open my eyes to the prophecies in the Old Testament about Jesus, which were fulfilled hundreds, even thousands of years afterwards, by Jesus.
For example, he showed me that His birthplace had been predicted to be Bethlehem, and His words, spoken in agony on the cross, "My God my God why have You forsaken me?" were written by David a thousand years before Jesus punishment on the cross.
Having had this revelation, I confessed my sins, and received the gift of the Holy Spirit, which cleansed me of the pain my soul never even knew it had in its numbed state, and replaced it with the holy knowledge of its Creator, and more joy than can be contained in a human. I was born again.
I was baptised in June of 1995, glory to the Lord. In 1997, while I was in my room, a man clothed in a white robe from his head to his toes appeared in my room, out of thin air. He had brown skin and a ring of white hear. He asked me, "Who am I?" I wanted to make a joke out of fear, but I felt a voice inside saying, "Answer truthfully, this is important." Not knowing anything but his appearance, I said, "You look Pakistani," and he disappeared. I did not know how to understand this, so I began flipping through the New Testament. In Acts 16:9, Paul had a vision of a man from Macedonia, begging him to go there and preach. I thought, perhaps this was a sign that Pakistan needed the Gospel.
For several months I prayed. One day, I had a vision. I left my body, or was in the spirit, as the Bible describes it. I heard someone call my name in my fathers voice, "Kashif". Then I saw a great sheet of light, made up of billions of tiny lights. It was powerful, magnetic, and from within my spirit body, a small spark of light flew into the light, drawn irresistibly, back to the source, as it were. At that point, I knew that God had given me a deposit of eternal life, and that I was saved. Then, I was shown a clock and a radio. The clock was set to 11:15 or so. I do not remember what happened after that, perhaps it is sealed for a time, but I returned to my body. That day, I was visiting a Christian counsellor with a friend. After the appointment, we were in my friends car. It just happened to be 11:15. I asked my friend if I could put the radio on to the Christian station. He agreed. The message was on Esther. Ch. 4:14 sprang to mind, "For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your fathers house will perish. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?" (NASB). I felt as if God was telling me I had been chosen from among tens of thousands of my people, to do the work of evangelism, and that it must be done, either with or without me. But here was my gift, the responsibility of a nation.
In 1999 I traveled to Pakistan for 3 months. When I left, I did not know what to expect, so I told my friends "Ill see you in heaven," in case I would be martyred. Little did I know that God had prepared a way in the wilderness. Arriving in Karachi, I went to my uncles house, where they were cold to my message. On Sunday, I sat in the desert, weeping to the Lord, "Why did you bring me here?" Then I heard a voice crying from afar, "Jesus says..." again and again the voice was preaching the Word. Thinking perhaps this was a vision, I decided to follow the sound.
Leaving the military compound where my uncle lived, I soon found myself in a small ramshackle villa, with goats and chickens and half-clad children running about freely. Following the voice, I walked along a dirt road until I reached a little church. They had a loudspeaker mounted above the entrance and the service was being broadcast for miles around. I went inside, where the people received me gladly, and heard my testimony. Soon I moved to the church itself, where I spent many fruitful weeks among these extraordinary Christians. No want was left untended, every meal, someone was knocking at the church door, "My mother sent you this," they would say, and watch shyly as I ate the lovingly prepared dish.
Sadly, the pastor, like so many in the nation, was afraid to preach to Muslims. One day, I was seeing him off on a conference. I had brought with me to the train station a little bag of tracts and my guitar. One of the elders of the church said to me, "Why dont you come along?" I replied, "The pastor tried to get me in, but my application was refused." She insisted and paid my ticket, and I boarded with little provision but with great faith. Once on board, I felt the Lord speak to me, "What do you have, in your hand?" I said, "Lord you know, a bag of tracts." "Why did you come here?" He asked. "To preach," I said. "Go," He said, "Fear not, I am with you." I protested, "Lord this pastor will stop me." God replied, "I am with you, dont worry about him, Ill take care of him." Over and over He kept repeating, "I am with you."
Finally I got up to go and distribute the booklets. The pastor grabbed me by the hand. "Where are you going?" he said. "Dont try to stop me," I said, "Im going to preach." "No!" he cried, "Theyll make trouble." But his wife and the elder assured him to let me go, and the three of them prayed while I handed out the Good News. At first I was surprised when someone else grabbed me by the hand, a strange custom for someone from the West. "Oh no," I thought, "Im done for." I turned to face the man. "Give me more of these books," he said earnestly. The rest of the trip, I gladly handed out tracts, and even gathered a crowd with my singing and music, and shared with many people.
Once we reached the evangelism conference, I listened to many great speakers talk about witnessing. Inspired, I asked people if they wanted to go out on the streets and preach during lunch. No one responded. Somewhat put off by this dichotomy, I went alone, and found a young mechanic working in his garage. After half an hour of sharing from the prophets and the New Testament, he declared, "I am with you. I will follow you to the ends of the earth." Excited by this, I returned to the conference and asked if anyone would help me with his discipleship, as I would be returning to Karachi in three days. No one but a lowly young lad from the kitchen agreed (and even that perhaps just to humour me).
Later I found a Pentecostal brother to go out and witness with me. We preached to one shopkeeper, who wanted a Bible. As I did not bring one with me, I ran back to the compound, and began seeking a Bible. Nobody wanted to give me one. "Its seventy rupees," they said. "I have no money," I said, but assured them it was important. Finally some students managed to procure one, and I gave it to the shopkeeper. As I was making something of an uproar, the pastor deceived me and sent me home by train early.
On the way home, I was sitting in a bunk, playing my guitar with a small crowd of people listening. Then a Muslim cleric began to recite the Koran, I suppose to meddle with the message I was giving. Reminiscent of the crowds in the Book of Acts, they quickly turned against me. "Stop singing," they told me, "the mullah is reciting the Koran." "No," I said, thinking it improper for the Word of God to stoop before its enemies. Then it was a rush of madness, as people uprooted me from the bunk, and began shoving me down the aisle, towards the door of the moving train. I think they would have thrown me off, and Lord forgive me, I shut up out of fear.
Back in Karachi, I witnessed for a few more weeks. One day, while at a guard post, I was stopped. "Whats that in your pocket?" a soldier asked. I had a Bible there, and thought he would punish this. Asking the Lord to help me, and not wanting to deny Him, I told the fellow, "Its a Bible." "Really," he said, "Whats in it?" I began to share with him about Abraham, Moses and the prophets, when he interrupted me. "Wait," he said, "Let me get my companions, and you can tell them also." For almost an hour, we sat on the grass by the guard post, drinking tea while I gave witness to Christ among these servants of Pakistan.
But things were not as rosy with my relatives... my uncle confiscated my passport and forced me onto a plane, back to Canada. "If you want to come back," he said, "Dont come in my name." My friends did not know what had come of me. I did not return for several years. Then, in June 2005, I came back. In a few days, I made my way back to the Christian villa. On Sunday, at church, I was delighted to see one of the elders smiling face again. She invited to me to her home after the service. We hit it off so well, that she asked me to stay with her family.
The temperature in those days was so high that I fell ill with heat stroke. As I lay in a cot in the middle of the road, I saw the church elders daughter. She touched my toe and prayed, "Jesus, please heal this man." In a single instant, I stood on my feet, completely whole! Taken with this womans faith, I began spending more time with her, running errands in the market with her, and helping with the chores. After much prayer and with our parents blessing, we decided to get married. We were engaged in the summer. I returned to Canada the next day.
We decided on a Christmas wedding, as I was working and had to take time off. We got married around Christmastime. My wife joined me in Canada a few months later, after which I began to attend medical school. My wife is preparing for nursing, and it is our desire to serve the Lord as medical missionaries to the Muslim world after our studies are complete. I am also working on a Masters Degree in Theology.
I praise God for all of His blessings. It is my prayer that my people, full of zeal but without knowledge, would awaken from the darkness into the marvellous light of Jesus the Christ, Saviour of all the peoples of the earth.
If you have further questions, you are welcome to send me an email.
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