The Reverend Nadeem Sadiq recently went back to Pakistan, his country of origin, in order to respond to a request from his former bishop to go and minister to prisoners, young people, and the church in Peshawar which sustained a bomb explosion that killed over 200 people during worship. This was a congregation Nadeem served while he was in Pakistan before moving to the U.S. over 12 years ago.
Video about the Peshawar Attack
Heading Back to Pakistan 7 Years Later
For Nadeem, this was a difficult trip in many ways. Each of his parents died after he came to the States but he could not go back to attend their funerals as it was too dangerous for him to go as a Christian pastor. This was the first time he was able to return since he came here. Peshawar is the area where he grew up and the persecution by the Muslims was severe and constant. He grew up facing that discrimination from a young age and learned to dislike and distrust Muslims as a result.
When Nadeem and his wife, Sadaf, moved here, they immediately looked to minister to the Pakistani population in the Albany area and quickly formed the Pakistani American Fellowship (PAF) which Albany Presbytery supported as a mission in the presbytery. Nadeem was encouraged to become Presbyterian and has remained loyal to that membership. I first met him when they walked into my office at West End Presbyterian Church in Albany and wanted to talk about how we might work together to find space for the Pakistani congregation to meet.
First generation immigrants come to our country with cultural differences and norms that we as Americans do not understand. They send money back home to help elderly parents who have nothing like social security or pensions to support them after they are no longer able to work. In Pakistan, in particular, pastors are paid by the national church and not by the individual congregation, so they don’t have that sense of responsibility for the pastor that we feel in this country, especially in our denomination.
It has been difficult to help his fellowship come to a different understanding as there is a constant influx of first generation immigrants. They have not even had enough time for a full generation to grow up in the fellowship. Yet, Nadeem continues to minister to those who come to worship and others.
South Asian Resource Center (SARC)
It is a testimony to his deep sense of call that he started the South Asian Resource Center (SARC) which helps people who arrive here from countries in that part of the world as they try to find their way through the legal processes, job concerns, medical issues, even food needs here with few people in any arena who speak their language or understand their culture.
SARC serves anyone who comes looking for help – regardless of their country of origin, religion, or family situation. And that is where Nadeem has himself been taught and grown. His childhood and young adult experience of Muslims has been challenged and he has had to re-evaluate his own understanding of those whom he once saw as all being persecutors and murderers. He has met people who have been most appreciative of his skills and knowledge as he has helped them with everyday needs that he himself did not have when he first came here. This is a ministry for him that is as important as his Sunday services. He is called to be a friend, help the needy and share the Good News through action and compassion.
Nadeem will tell you in the first couple of minutes in a conversation with him that he is so blessed. He has a wonderful family – wife, Sadaf, daughter, Sharelle, and son, Matthias – a roof over his head, health, and a congregation that is strong in their faith. He doesn’t complain that he has to work two other jobs to pay the mortgage and bills. He doesn’t concern himself that often he takes people to hospitals and New York City for SARC without any reimbursement. He believes and lives believing that the Lord will provide what he needs – and the Lord does!
Reverend Nadeem Sadiq is a faith-filled servant of God. Some do not understand why he does what he does, but he does. God has called him and God will sustain him. God is Good! Amen.