Tearfund’s News Editor, Andrew Horton, interviewed Adeel Rehmat, Executive Director of the Pak Mission Society.
When an earthquake shook the Shangla area of Pakistan in 2015 it left 279 people dead, 1,820 injured, and 100,000 homes destroyed.
As part of a global response, the then-fledgling Christian organisation Pak Mission Society (PMS) became a partner of Tearfund.
Adeel tells us what it’s like for a Christian-based charity working in a Muslim nation, and why he’s so encouraged by a new generation of believers.
How did it all begin for the Pak Mission Society?
I think PMS is on a journey of faith. We were established before the earthquake in 2005, but at the time we were at a very early stage in our work, with no funding, no experience, and no exposure. After the quake, we really started to build the organisation.
When the earthquake happened it gave us the opportunity to work in areas where we hadn’t been allowed to work before. Some national and international partners helped us to step into those areas, and we continue to work there today.
Tell us about the impact PMS has in Pakistan?
PMS wants to engage young Christians – to equip and train them for mission work, to reach unreached areas in Pakistan. Church and youth engagement is the heartbeat of PMS.
We are involved in health projects, education, disaster response, and circular economy initiatives (economic and production models which emphasise repurposing and recycling).
At first we were afraid, as Christians, to engage with the majority of communities. Now we are encouraged to work alongside them. There is an acceptance – by government and by the communities. We’re walking with God and he's opening the doors for us. We just need to follow him.
Does being a Christian organisation, operating in a majority-Muslim country, raise any particular challenges?
About 80-90% of our work is with Muslim communities, because we feel called to serve there. We want to go into those areas which are unreached, and where no one else is working.
Generally speaking, we’re not discriminated against for being Christians, in fact we are well received. Yes, there were some fears in the beginning that maybe we were there to convert people, or that we were distributing Christian literature. We are very clear that we are here to just share God’s love – regardless of race, colour or religion.