As we contemplate expanding our presence and advancing the goal of eradicating slavery, I want to acknowledge that it can sometimes feel overwhelming. The magnitude of an estimated 4.5 million people in need of rescue is mind-boggling. While we may appear small in comparison, the impact we have made on the lives of 624 individuals and future generations is significant. Yet, when we consider the vastness of our mission, it can be daunting. However, it is precisely the kind of story we yearn to be a part of. During my recent preaching engagement at the Iowa FCA camp, I emphasized to student athletes that we have the privilege of participating in a grander narrative. It's an extraordinary story, and it's crucial to recognize that we cannot claim credit for it. I am confident that God will bring freedom to all the slaves, but we must diligently do our part here on Earth.
To further our mission, our team recently organized our first leadership event in a remote area of Pakistan. It was our second visit to that region, and during the event, we had the privilege of baptizing 65 people. Furthermore, through divine connections, we were introduced to an individual who expressed willingness to facilitate the gathering of pastors, teachers, and evangelists from the area. The event garnered significant attention, with approximately 3,000 people in attendance, surpassing our initial expectations. Recognizing that many participants lacked financial resources, we budgeted for the event to cover the pastors' travel expenses, ensuring it would not be a burden on them. Additionally, we arranged for a cooked lunch to be served to all attendees. We rented a spacious, air-conditioned hall to accommodate the scorching temperatures, which often exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Despite the unexpected surge in attendance, we quickly arranged for additional cooks to ensure that everyone received a meal.
During the event, which lasted several hours, the team and I realized the immense opportunity we had to foster unity among the churches in that area. Christianity represents only 2 percent of the population, and there are numerous denominations that seldom collaborate. Hence, our aim was to impart teachings on leadership values and unity. We had five speakers, including myself and two of my friends, who delivered our messages via livestream, while two members of our leadership team spoke at the event in person. The response was overwhelming, with many eager to participate in future events and express their desire to support our mission. Approximately 50 churches committed to joining us in our cause.
While the path forward remains uncertain, I am convinced that unifying the churches toward a common goal is a significant stride in this journey. As one of the main organizations undertaking this kind of work across the entire country, I understand that the task is larger than just me and our team. Let us witness the wonders that unfold when numerous individuals come together with a shared purpose, eagerly awaiting the transformative work of God.