At a gathering of South Asian Presbyterians at the Valley Stream church last week, the Rev. Emanuel Nasir told of his first call, serving as supply pastor for a small church in Ohio. For a Women’s Sunday worship in 1975, an elderly woman in a wheel chair described to the congregation how their church had first become interested in Pakistan (and probably why they were willing to welcome an immigrant Pakistani as their pastor).
Years and years before, the church had responded to a plea, channeled through the denominational office, from a missionary in Pakistan. He had welcomed a young man and his wife whose Hindu family had disowned them when they became Christian. He wanted to provide work for them in a bookstore at his mission, but lacked the financial resources to provide a salary. The small church in Ohio sent money for many years to provide that salary.
Even before the elderly woman finished her story, Emanuel stood up, saying to the congregation, “That young man was my great grandfather. And now here I stand, as your pastor.” As Dr. Nasir reminded the group of South Asian immigrant pastors and church members, the gospel of Jesus Christ went out to Pakistan from the Presbyterian Church here in the States. Now it is coming back full circle, as these faithful Presbyterians, themselves the product of Presbyterian mission and witness, become a blessing to their American brothers and sisters.
Shared by Ellen Marquart, Executive Presbyter, Presbytery of Long Island