August 11, 2016
A late Sunday afternoon visitor will hear interesting music at Galilee. In the sanctuary at 2 o’clock, after our regular worshippers have gone, you will hear the sounds of classic English hymns accentuated by Eastern drums—the tabla and the dholak. Instead of a Western choir, this music is sung by men and women in elegant clothes of South Asian design. It sounds rather like a Bollywood movie, but what is being sung in English, Urdu, Hindi, and Punjabi are songs of praise to our Lord, Jesus Christ.
This is the music of the Word of God Church and Prayer Center, a visiting congregation of Pakistani Christians led by Pastor Christopher Peter Kay and his family.
“We have people from Pakistan and India, as well as those who were born in the USA to Asian parents,” says Pastor Kay. “They are from Methodist, Presbyterian, Catholic, Brethren, Baptist, and Pentecostal backgrounds, but worship together the same One God through His Son Jesus Christ in spirit and truth.”
Ruth and Christopher Peter Kay with their children Samantha, Zabdiel, and Bezaleel
Pastor Kay, or Brother Chris as he is called, was born in Qatar to Pakistani parents and educated in Doha and Karachi. He grew up playing soccer and cricket in a culture that didn’t know American football or baseball, a culture that wasn’t particularly friendly to Christianity.
“I was born to a Roman Catholic family. My mother was Hindu before marrying my father,” Brother Chris explains. “My grandparents were a mixture of Muslims and Christians and Hindus.”
“To be a Christian in Qatar is very hard. One is treated like an infidel if one turns from evil to worship the true God. As soon as they hear your Christian name or come to know about your Christian faith, those in power will not give you a proper job. Or they will ask you to accept Islam, offering you a big house, a Mercedes-Benz car, and the promise of money. Even some Westerners accept this offer and become Muslim because of the luxury they offer. My dad refused that. My family and I also refuse that.”
“In Pakistan the situation is different. It is not a society awash in money; they don’t offer you wealth. Instead they offer death and rape, they rob your house and property. You are not allowed to live in a Muslim area. Sometimes you may not eat or drink with Muslims. You can’t park your car near a mosque. The most fearful threat is the Law of Blasphemy 295-C, which says that if you say anthing against the Quran or Mohammed you must be hanged.”
“It is a constant torture of mind and emotions, sometimes physical. I was imprisoned in Qatar three times, the last time in a cage without oxygen for five hours. In Pakistan, our house was ransacked. My sister was abducted because her husband was a Methodist pastor. My son was beaten badly in school because he went to church. Many times we escaped the death plots of extremists. God saved us.”
Despite persecution, Brother Chris not only stayed faithful, he became Pastor Kay.
“I came to the ministry through a vision. It was October 10, 1991, at three in the morning. I saw a crowd wearing white robes and sitting on the ground in front of a stage where Jesus was standing with twelve men. He called me to that group of people sitting on the ground but I started crying and said to Him, “I can’t come.” He asked “Why?” I said to Him, “I don’t have white clothes as they have.” Then He sent two men out of the twelve to me and within a second I was with Him on the stage and my clothes were changed. Then He gave me a Bible in my hand and said to me, “Go and sit there in the crowd and read this Book.” I repented of my sins and my life suddenly changed from a sinner to the follower of Jesus. I started hating sins I was doing daily and I devoted my life to Him.”
“A few months later, a man of God came and he prayed for me. I did not tell him about this vision, but he told me about what I saw. He laid his hands on me and said, “God is showing me that He has called you for ministry. You shall play music and write songs and preach the Gospel.” I trained for six years in an underground Bible church in Qatar under the leadership of Pastor Michael Jacob, from India.”
Brother Chris’s television program, Khushi Ki Khabar, is aired every Sunday at 10am.
After this experience, Brother Chris made his way to the United States of America. He went first to Louisville, KY, where he and his wife, Ruth (the daughter of a Methodist minister) studied at the Evangel World Prayer Center. Then he moved to our area, where there is a growing community of South Asian immigrants.
“The immigrants in the area are a blessing from God to American Christians,” says Brother Chris. “You don’t have to go to their countries on mission trips, risking life and spending lots of dollars. God has made us easy for the Americans, and you can reach us in your own streets, schools, playgrounds and malls.”
And reach them Brother Chris certainly does. Each Sunday, he hosts a television show on the MHz Network. It is called Khushi Ki Khabar, which means “Good News.” The estimated reach in DC, MD, VA and WV is 3.5 million viewers, with 2.2 million from South Asian backgrounds.
“Our topic on the program is Jesus Christ. It is an outreach to the South Asian community in these States. We have responses from mosques and Hindu and Sikh temples in the area. Many call us to pray for them and also send them the gospel in their language. Our program is seen in Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, and other Muslim countries via YouTube. According to the YouTube statistics, our most viewers come from Muslim countries.”
Brother Chris also leads a physical congregation in the Word of God church, which has seven branches in Pakistan, two in Qatar, and one in Sterling, VA.
“We linked up with Galilee because I was searching for a worship space which is in reach of all who live in NOVA. I contacted the church office and met with Ron Stuebing and Pastor Matt Sergent. They agreed by the Grace of God to accommodate our worship services in these facilities. Galilee is a gift of God for us. We are so thankful to all of you.”
The Word of God Church
Brother Chris spoke at Galilee’s recent Community Vigil for Peace and his congregation hosts events throughout the year aimed at making believers in the South Asian community. His ministry brought the Hindu film personality and evangelist Anil Kant to our sanctuary in July. In August, a visiting former Muslim whose ministry has made converts in Pakistan will share details of how God is transforming hearts in the least likely places.
Brother Chris says, “I would like to tell my respected American Christian brothers and sisters that God’s grace is upon this country. They must dedicate more of their time to the word of God and to prayer. Christian immigrants arrive in this country and know we are safe—but the situation can be discouraging. Because though there is safety amid a majority of professing believers, there is also indifference to sin.”
“As I told those friends and neighbors at the Community Vigil for Peace who worry about violence in our streets, Jesus Christ is the Prince of Peace. If we have Jesus in our life—not in words but practically—then we can present peace to the World. If we don’t love God, how we can love others?”
When you see Brother Chris and his family at Galilee, or on TV, or you run into a member of their church, know that “Khushi Ki Khabar” means good news…and that these wonderful neighbors are sharing it profitably in our community.