A Shepherd Encounter

The airport was shut down. The roads were closed.

The snow kept falling.  This was Kashmir’s worst snow storm in 17 years.

We sat with Pastor Sunny drinking traditional Kashmiri tea, called kahwah, and praying. Our 2-day visit had now turned into 5. My team was beginning to think we had wasted our time coming here, doing nothing of significance.

As we sat watching the snow get deeper a man came to see me. Irfan, is a Muslim businessman who raises sheep in the mountains along the Pakistani border. He told us about a people group called the Gujjars who live a life of poverty high in the mountains of Kashmir. Irfan proceeded to share his vision of helping the Gujjars through an economic development project of raising sheep.

It took me a moment to grasp what was happening.  As we sat, stranded in a snow storm feeling like we were wasting our time, God used a Muslim man to invite us into a region that had been closed to Christianity for 2000 years.

Last month I was able to return to Kashmir and Irfan took us into the mountains to visit a village of the Gujjar people and meet the shepherds chosen for the sheep project.

We were received very warmly as we went from house to house drinking tea and breaking  bread together. It was a beautiful day as we walked up to top of a hill with panoramic views of the surrounding mountains.

Then the shock came…Irfan and the village leader led me to the top and said, “This is the land we will give you to build your center so you can bring people here to pray for us.”

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