SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA (ANS) -- Pakistan, officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the sixth most populous country in the world and the second most populous Muslim country, now has its own Christian television channel.
Called Jesus Christ Television (JCTV), it is based in Lahore and run by Pastor Javed Rauf, who is its managing director.
I caught up with Pastor Rauf recently in Seoul, South Korea, at the Manmin Joong-ang church's 24th anniversary celebrations and the first anniversary of the Global Christian Network and he agreed to talk about his broadcast ministry in Pakistan.
Pastor Rauf, 31, began by sharing about his background. "I am from Lahore and my father is a past pastor; a faith healing minister," he said. "He has a good reputation in Pakistan and has been serving the Lord about thirty-five years. However, God gave me a vision to preach the Gospel through another way -- by using mass media. So it is my privilege that I am involved in the television media."
I told the pastor that I thought many people would be surprised that Pakistan has Christian television and he replied, "JCTV is Pakistan's first and only Christian television channel. We have been working since 2002 and in our four years of service, we are now in two major cities of Pakistan. "JCTV is a cable network because we are not permitted to go to the microwave or the satellite yet. It is the only way to preach the Gospel because we are permitted to work with the cable TV. We took a strategy and God has given us a wisdom how to spread the Gospel because it is a Muslim country and Muslims are everywhere.
"In Pakistan Christians mainly live in one place and we have different Christian towns and God has given a strategy to use these areas to spread the Gospel. So we have installed our system in a Christian area. We can't directly go to the Muslim areas so we praise the Lord that Muslims are also getting Gospel now and we have received lots of testimonies from Muslims who get changed but they can't declare that they are Christian now."
I asked Pastor Rauf if he was experiencing difficulties at this time.
"The biggest problem we face are threats and prejudice because there is a great prejudice in Pakistan," he said. "They don't treat us like the equal citizens. Even the government has said that we Christians are equal citizens but practically we are not equal citizens. So it is very hard to work when you are not treated equally and it is only by the grace of God that He has given us opportunity He has open the door. It is not by mite or by power but it is by the spirit of the Holy Ghost that we are working there.
"We are twenty-four hour television in the Urdu language and partially in English also. But we always try to translate all the English material into Urdu because in Pakistan the literacy rate is very low. This means that people can't understand English very well So it is very easy to have a program in their own language so that they can understand very well."
When asked if Jesus Christ Television has counseling centers in the country, he said, "Yes we do. Actually, Jesus Christ television is a project of River of God Ministries and River of God Ministries has a twenty-five congregation around Pakistan and so we have a set up counseling teams and people come and we try and solve all the problems by the grace of God."
Pastor Rauf, who is married with one son, went on to say, "When we started in 2002, we found that there were many Muslims who didn't want television in their homes, but when they heard that there was one Christian television channel that was preaching the Gospel and showing the miracles of God, they start buying the televisions.
"We have lots of testimonies and even when we just pass through the streets, people stop me there and say that they are Muslim and they have bought a television so they can watch JCTV. I believe that it is God who brought JCTV to Pakistan and there'll be a great change with the passage of time."
He concluded by saying that prayer is vital for the continuation of the ministry.
"We have found that all over the world the people are praying for us because we have a good relations with various ministries in the US, Australia, Korea, and other parts of the world. They are praying for us and we even have prayer team in our ministry. They are prayer warriors who pray around the clock for 24 hours for Jesus Christ Television."