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FIRST-PERSON: Baptist worker writes home

PAKISTAN (BP)–Dear Mom and Dad,

I can only imagine what you are thinking based on news coverage of the events in Pakistan. In my little corner of the city, things seem pretty much the same as they did before we received “most dangerous country in the world for foreigners” status and before Saturday evening when a “state of emergency” was declared.

I am still trying to figure out exactly what it means to be in a state of emergency since there are no curfews imposed. Nothing seems to be in shortage except a few news channels. I have read in a Pakistani newspaper online (www.dawn.com) that there have been riots in some cities, but it seems that they have centered in judiciary areas. The paper also says that cell phones have been cut in some areas around the capital during rioting. I find this comforting since it is not unusual for extremists to use cell phones to carry out their plans. I am glad that the government is taking precautions to keep down acts of violence.

My Internet and phones have worked without any problems. Nothing has been blocked on my Internet service.

Yesterday I asked my Urdu-language teacher if Pakistan is OK. He looked at me as if I was crazy. I asked about this state of emergency. He said it doesn’t matter, that this is not unusual here. What seems to be a huge deal worldwide is not being discussed by the people I interact with daily. My landlords continue to get out and take care of things. Their children continue to visit as normal.

Today I went to the grocery store. It was as crowded as it always is with men, women and children. Everyone was friendly, maybe even more so than usual. I was able to give a tract to the guy who took my groceries to the car. His face beamed because I had given him something. This is a typical response of Pakistani shopkeepers when I give them a tract.

I went on to the meat store. The women who work there talked to me for the first time today. They asked if I was Spanish, and I shared that I am American. They smiled and asked if I speak Urdu, and I told them I am learning. Then they asked if I am Muslim. I smiled and told them I am a follower of Isa (Jesus). They got my number and said, God willing, we will meet again. They also live in my area, which is one of the safest areas in the city.

There is definitely instability in the government right now, but it doesn’t seem to be of great concern to those who live here. Please continue to pray for the government and the political situation.

I am sure things could change, but at this time in my area, things seem very calm. Try not to worry. Do not assume that all of the riots and political protests are taking place in residential areas. Nor do they involve common people.

If things change, I will let you know if humanly possible. Please continue to ask the Lord to provide opportunities to share. A couple of days ago, a box of 20 easy-to-read Urdu Bibles was put in the trunk of my car. My desire is to try to give them all out during the next few weeks as the Lord provides people who might want to read them.

I love and miss you! Thanks so much for your love and support. I experience a truly blessed life because of your willingness to let me serve here.

Love, Piper*
*Name changed for security reasons. For more information outreach in Pakistan and other countries in southern South Asia, go to www.go2SouthAsia.org.

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