Pakistani pastor grows ministry despite challenges

February 21, 2018

On the outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan, in the heart of a strongly devout Islamic community, Liberty alumnus Anise Irfan (’92) lives out his faith as one of the few Christian leaders in the country. Christians only make up approximately 2 percent of the population in Pakistan, and there are still threats against Christians who attempt to directly preach the Gospel in the public square.

But working as a pastor for two churches and as a youth camp director overseeing the spiritual development of more than 200,000 students, Irfan has been able to share the message of Christ and impact hundreds of thousands of lives across Pakistan. He also helps his wife, Farhana, lead a Christian school in the area.

“Through everything we do, we hope to accomplish God’s will,” Irfan said. “And I feel as though we’re really on our way to bringing revival to this country.”

Irfan, a native of Pakistan, began his full-time ministry seven years ago while working as a translator for English-speaking pastors who traveled to the country. He soon realized the need for more comprehensive education and sound doctrinal teaching for church leaders — most Pakistani pastors drop out of school at an early age and are illiterate, which greatly hinders their ability to read and share the Gospel.

Through his teaching ministry, Irfan now provides quarterly training seminars for 200 pastors and church leaders.

“These pastors didn’t really know what Christianity is all about, they didn’t know what grace is all about, and they were very prone to false teaching,” Irfan said. “The need was there, and God has blessed me enough to fill that need.”

His mission to become an educator for pastors has since developed into a mission to share the Gospel through every legal avenue available. He said it was largely because of his time at Liberty and the leadership of the late Jerry Falwell Sr., Liberty’s founder, that he has been able to accomplish that.

With Falwell’s help, Irfan received a scholarship available to international students. He considered Falwell his spiritual mentor and inspiration, even going as far as to say that many of the people saved through his ministries would not have been introduced to the Gospel if it had not been for Falwell’s impact.

“If I could accomplish a half of a percent of what Dr. Jerry Falwell did with Liberty through my own ministries, I would consider that a success,” Irfan said.

Although it was challenging to leave his initial career in business and finance — Irfan received his bachelor’s degree in business administration — Irfan said his success in full-time ministry is further confirmation of God’s calling on his life.

“When the Lord first called me to full-time ministry, I had just gotten married, and I didn’t have much money or any resources with me,” Irfan said. “But I kept feeling convicted, and I surrendered, and God did amazing things immediately — the second I listened to His call.”

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