Rev. Siddique Masih, Founder of Indo Pak Bible fellowship Church New York, Vows on uplift of Christians in Pakistan. Interview by PCP Team. New York. May 11, 2003.
Rev. Siddique Masih was born in an orthodox Christian family in Rawalpindi on June 21, 1942.He graduated from Gordon College in 1967 and completed his Masters Degree in Political Science in 1970. During his youth he took interests in church activities and participated in arrangements of the religious conventions in City of Rawalpindi. He used to distribute Bibles and Tracts on the streets of Twin Cities of Islamanad and Rawalpindi among Muslims.
In 1967, Rev. Siddique Masih joined the government of Pakistan and served in different Federal Ministries in high profiles for years. He stood firm in his Christian belief among his Muslim co-workers who were in majority and mostly criticized the Christianity. His knowledge in Holy Bible and experience of true Christian life always kept him high in spirit as representative of his community in the Muslims.
In 1986, Rev, Siddique Masih joined New Apostolic church in Pakistan as full time Pastor in Rawalpindi and sacrificed his Government job in his love for Jesus Christ. He traveled in far-flung areas of Pakistan to preach the Holy word of Lord with very limited resources. He appreciated to work for Jesus among the Christian Youth in Pakistan and his sermons based on urging them to be true Christian believers and to be symbolic Christians in the majority Muslim society of Pakistan. He completed his theological studies from a seminary in Lahore in 1988.
He worked in Jordan with his wife and led the Pakistan Christian Community in Jordan in life of Christ. He toured England, Syria and Holy Lands of Israel. He came to USA in 1996 where Burns Memorial Church of God in Christ New York offered him the services of Pastor. It was new experience for Rev. Siddque Masih to work with international Communities in this Church. The need of message of Jesus Christ among the Pakistani Christian Immigrants in New York compelled him to start Indo Pak Bible Fellowship Church in New York in 2001. He is serving Pakistani and Indian Christians of Tri State area by this newly founded church.
Rev. Siddques Masih is well known as committed Pastor among his congregation. His services and sacrifices for Christians living in Pakistan forced Pakistan Christian Post Team to know him more and about his vision for our readers.
Q. What were the reasons to leave your Federal government job for which Christian long for in Pakistan?
A. When I joined the services with government of Pakistan. I was proud of my future when majority of Christian Youth at that time only dreamed of such jobs. During my services, it was great experience that all around me were Muslims and their behavior with me was very strange. They used to criticize Christianity and compelled me to accept Islam. We had long discussions and I always tried to convey message of Jesus and truth in his teachings, which turned all those Muslims against me. They started social boycott of me. Such as, they tried not sitting on table where I was dinning during lunch hours and I had to walk to accompany with other few Christians working in other secretariats. My job was secured because I was very hard working and expert in my official duties. One night, I had vision to be an evangelist during my prayers. I discussed the message of Lord with my wife on breakfast next morning and my wife said " I can suffer with you to spread the message of Lord in Islamic republic of Pakistan if you leave your job' It was best support to my vision and I decided to leave my government job for the services as humble servant to Jesus Christ in my youth.
Q. You have been taking active parts in organizing conventions of missionaries and distributing tracts on streets of Rawalpindi when you were students. Would you tell our readers about your experiences?
A. Its very difficult and fearful experience to stand on street and distribute Bibles and tracts among Muslims. I can not forget on evening when one Muslim cleric took Bible from my hand. He stepped few yards and then suddenly turned back in anger and slapped me on my face. He said ' how you dare to make Muslims to be Christians"? He started shouting and other Muslim passer by also gathered around me. They started questions about Jesus Christ, at that time I felt spirit of Jesus in me and fear left me suddenly making me brave Christian to answer the questions of Muslims. They attacked me on my dare ness and beaten me to be unconscious but Lord saved me and kept me alive to be his servant.
Q. You have been visiting many countries. What were your expression on visiting Israel as a Pakistani Christian as Government of Pakistan have not endorsed Israel in Pakistani Passport?
A. I have visited many western countries but to visit Holy Lands of Israel was the best blessings for my life. I was in Jordan when I was dreaming to visit the Holy places in Israel. It was very difficult decision being a Pakistani Christian as government of Pakistan have not diplomatic relations with Israel. I was fully aware that government of Pakistan will put me under surveillance and shall create problems for me and my family when I shall return to Pakistan but I believed in holy spirit and Jesus Christ and was of confirm believe that Lord shall take care of me and my family in Pakistan. I applied for permission of visit to Israel authorities on border and by the will of Lord it was granted. I think that was the best time of my life of that one week visit to the Holy Places in the Holy Land of Israel. During my religious rituals on Holy Places I vowed to be true servant of Lord and decided to join priesthood.
Q. How Indo Pak Bible Fellowship Church and its congregation is working in New York?
A. After my arrival in New York, I joined Burns Memorial Church to study the American Church. I decided to establish the Church for Pakistani and Indian Christians in New York. It was very difficult task to get church building for this congregation but with the blessings of Lord I was able to find church building for this newborn congregation. Now this congregation is growing up day by day.
Q. What is your programme for the poor Pakistani Christian Community in future as you have been always struggling for their growth in belief and spirit?
A. I am working in private firm to make two ends meet of my family in USA beside my services as Pastor to my congregation. I am sending portion of my earning to poor churches in Rawalpindi in the first phase. I hope that Lord shall make some arrangements in future for appropriate fundings that I may establish the village schools and churches in Pakistan. I have witnessed that poor Christians living in villages in Pakistan need more attention of the international community as they are without schools and churches. The village Christians in Pakistan daily sees three to four mosques in their villages where Muslims pray but they are mentally depressed when they do not find any church building of their own for worship. I appeal to the international community to come forward and fund for the village schools and churches in Pakistan
Q. Do you wish to send any message to Christians in Pakistan by this interview?
A. I have message for Christian youth in particular. I stress upon them to unite and play their positive role in the development of the Christian community in Pakistan. I think that Youth shall lead Sunday schools for the Christian teachings to the children that we may have community of believers in future in Pakistan. Now my lifetime dream is to work for the uplift of the Christians of Pakistan with building village schools and churches. I also appeal to international community and donors to join hands with me information of village churches and schools for Christian villagers in Pakistan.