Pastor Younis Farhat: The man behind the mission.
The success of the First Asian Baptist Church does not come as a surprise to those who have met its affable pastor, the Reverend Younis Farhat. Born during British India in Lahore (Now Pakistan) the pastor got his early religious education under some of Pakistan?s notable clergys. Before dedicating his life to the church, he had a secular job with a British Multi National Corporation. He was the Chief Accountant and Operations Manager with the firm. Although Pastor Farhat was attending prayer meetings and Bible study groups, his spiritual inclination was limited since he was more inspired towards his career ambitions. Simply out of love for literature, Pastor got his first Masters in English.
It was the untimely demise of his father that swept the ground off under Pastor Farhat?s feet. Being a responsible individual he was now charged to take care of his immediate family ? his household that consisted of his mother, grandmother, four younger brothers and a very young sister. The position held by his father in the community was a significant one, and he was expected to step in those shoes without a warning or choosing. He took that in his stride and got heavily involved with the Church.
Having grieved the egregious loss for seven years and passing through some very rough times, the family learnt to draw strength from God. It is in then that Pastor decided that he would go in for his theological education and he graduated from Gulshanwala Theological Seminary and later traveled abroad to Singapore to study advanced leadership. He had three options after this sabbatical: (a) to become a politician since he was so well known locally and regionally, or (b) to become a businessman because he had all the skill sets plus the knowledge of ferrous and non-ferrous metals and industrial construction or (c) finally to be in service of God. He chose to be in His service. He took the position of Promotional Development Officer with the Pakistan Bible Society. Through this job he was able to travel all over the world.
In 1992 Pastor Farhat was invited to come to the US and get involved with the Church here. He was invited as a speaker all over the US. He enjoyed the relative freedom and openness in the US compared to the Islamic theocracy back home.
Observing the growing South Asian population here, he was thrilled at the idea that he would get to Minister to people from India. And that is the impetus behind his success with the First Asian Baptist Church. Besides cultivating a growing congregation, the Pastor has also been recognized for his bridge-building with the rest of the Indian community here. Amongst his many highlights at the Church, the pastor remembers fondly of the time when they had organized a Farewell Dinner for the Indian contingent during the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.
His success is an outcome of the sacrifices made by Pastor?s loving wife Mrs. Farhat who hails from Sialkot and who took to the family as mother and tended to the needs of the Ministry as well.
At the 10th Anniversary celebrations of the Church, Pastor Farhat received numerous official recognitions and an honorary Doctoral Degree in Theology. His message to community: ?Let us not be opportunistic and just take from the US the land that has given us so much but instead let us learn to give ? not just as individuals and not just to our own ilk, but to the mainstream and collectively.?
- Viren Mayani
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