We are grateful for the nearly $70,000 that was given and will help these ministries.
This year's special offering will go to ministry in Pakistan - Christian Hospital (Sahiwal, Pakistan). This ministry has become of interest to First Presbyterian Church because of the long standing involvement in Pakistan of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church and its world mission efforts.
Since the inception of the hospital over 100 years ago there has been an effort to provide medical care for the most needy who could otherwise not afford it. The motive for this is the gospel. In the gospel we received what we could not afford or purchase - our salvation. This medical care is provided through the hospital's Charity Fund. Our gifts will help stabilize this fund which has struggled in recent years. What an opportunity for us to make a difference.
Christian Hospital website
After 40 years of neglect in the hands of the Pakistan government these schools - originally established and run by the ARP Mission - have been returned. Everything from the teaching to the facilities were in disrepair. Progress is being made but much remains to be done. ARP Mission Schools provide Holistic Quality Education in a loving and disciplined environment equipping students to be the Salt of the Earth and Light for the World. ARP Mission Schools have the great potential for spreading the love of Christ to others.
Here are three efforts our gifts will go towards:
• Library - Equip and furnish a high school library. This basic and important feature of education is much needed. Approximate cost - $15,000.
• Computer Lab - Technology is now part of education even in the world's poorer communities. Some of the gift will go towards providing a fully furnished computer lab in one of the schools. Approximate cost - $15,000.
• Teacher Training - One of the great challenges in redeveloping ARP Mission Schools is providing quality ongoing teacher training and development for our staff. Most of the teachers come with some college education but it is important to upgrade their skills and further equip them for the task of educating students with a Christian Worldview. Some of the gift will address teacher training needs. Approximate cost - $15,000
Checks should be made out to "First Presbyterian Church" and designated "2015 Special Easter Offering". They can be placed in the Sunday morning or evening offering, or mailed to the church.
Excerpt from "First Things" Vol. LXV No. 9, March 1, 2015
At its February meeting the Session passed the following motion:
"That the 2015 Easter Special Offering go to two ministries in Pakistan – ARP Schools and the Christian Hospital (Sahiwal, Pakistan). The primary focus of the ARP Schools gift would be to help with additional school construction, to develop a library, and to provide for teacher development. The primary focus of the Christian Hospital gift would be the Charity Fund for patients that otherwise cannot afford care."
How has a presbyterian church in Columbia, South Carolina become interested in ministries in the far away country of Pakistan? The event that created the possibility for such a connection occurred in 1983. That year the congregation voted to become part of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. The ARP denomination had been involved in ministry in Pakistan for decades.
A connection between our church and Pakistan was seemingly inevitable. Why? Mostly it is because of the presence of a mission hospital. Given the number of medical professionals who are part of our congregation, the involvement of some of them in the work and ministry of the hospital was bound to happen, and, of course, it has. Doctors and other medical professionals have come and gone for short-term missions; others have helped by serving on the hospital’s board of directors.
Our connection to the ARP schools has been more recent. It was just a few years ago that the Pakistan government returned to the ARP mission several schools (of the nearly a dozen) they had taken over in the 1970s. With the return of the schools to the ARP mission, World Witness called on missionary, and First Presbyterian member, Andy Howard to oversee the effort. Our interest in this effort was almost immediate.
What will be the focus of this special offering? For the hospital it will be the Charity Fund. Since the inception of the hospital over 100 years ago, there has been an effort to provide medical care for the most needy who could otherwise not afford it. The motive for this is the gospel. In the gospel we received what we could not afford or purchase – our salvation. Medical care provided for those who cannot afford it reflects this gospel truth. Such care is provided through the Charity Fund of the hospital which is sustained by outside gifts.
And the schools? Our gift for the schools will help bolster the effort to provide an education that – the Lord willing - might affect in a positive way the future of the Pakistani ARP church. How? By providing an education that has been desperately lacking. For over 40 years the Christian community has largely received "crumbs" for the education of their children. The return of the schools is an opportunity to improve the educational diet that the upcoming generation will receive. Our gift, with its focus on the development of a worthy library, teacher training, and much needed facilities, will help.
Some may ask, "Why give to this effort in such a dark, troubled part of the world?" Even in the darkest places of the earth God often has glimmers of his light. We are amazingly connected to a couple of those glimmers in Pakistan. As we give, and particularly as we pray, the light of the gospel can and will make a difference.
Associate Minister - Neal Mathias
This page last updated April 15, 2015.