The Pakistan Union Section (PKUS), newly included in the Northern Asia-Pacific Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church (NSD), held its annual administrative meeting to review its work during 2023. The meeting, held under the theme, “Mission First, Get Involved,” took place at the conference hall in the union mission’s auditorium in Lahore from November 30 to December 1.
This was the first Year-end Meeting after the administrative and mission areas were recently transferred to the NSD. It was especially meaningful as it coincided with the 100th-anniversary week of the opening of Pakistan Adventist Seminary and College.
NSD executive secretary Hiroshi Yamaji, division youth director Ho Young Choi, and Korean Union Conference president Soon Ki Kang were present to discuss ways to develop mission across Pakistan. Other leaders of the Adventist Church in Pakistan have strong connections with South Korea, including PKUS president Myeon-joo Lee and education and mission director Gyu Park Nam.
The session’s agenda centered on the development of Pakistan and ways to support missions since its inclusion into the NSD territory. Pakistan is a financially challenged country with a church financial independence rate of less than 18 percent of its budget needs. That means the Adventist Church within the country relies on aid from elsewhere in the church for 82 percent of its funding. The entire annual budget of the PKUS is 300 million won (about US$230,500), and the average budget for each department is less than 10 million won (less than US$7,700). Salaries for pastors, teachers, and other staff are also severely underfunded.
“Pakistan is a challenging mission field that is not financially independent,” Lee said. “It is highly dependent on the outside world. We have to provide a lot of grants every year. In the medium and long term, we need special measures and strategies to become financially independent. The challenges are great, but it is the reality we must face.”
Executive board members said that they are “deeply grateful” that, in recent years, local communities and organizations such as unions and schools have dispatched volunteer teams to extend a hand of salvation and sharing. “We are grateful for helping to establish a nursing school in Pakistan through the ‘10/40 Window Mission Project.’ May God’s blessings be upon the Korean church and its members,” they said.
Pakistan is geographically located in a very important place for mission. “Pakistan is like the ‘gateway to the east’ to other countries,” Lee said. “It is an outpost for missionary work. If Pakistan is evangelized, the message of the three angels will flow like a tide into other countries across the region.”
In a subsequent administrative meeting, the PKUS appointed Nam as a pastor in addition to his other duties. Nam, who was sent to Pakistan in 2021, has been conducting missionary activities that combine education and relief, such as sponsoring the construction of local churches, remodeling Pakistan Adventist Seminary and College, and supporting victims of natural disasters.