I love to help children

Different from the usual: first, he worked for the Church and then he went to church. Barely retired, he is starting over in a completely different field, but this time without pay. Deacon Frank Sardar from Pakistan is back to doing what he loves, namely helping children.

Frank Sardar steps into a classroom of about 20 students. They are sitting or standing and listening to the teacher. Excited they turn to the man who has just entered. He addresses them by name, asks about their progress, and then also turns to the youngest in the room. “I love to help children,” says Frank Sardar. Helping is a big part of his life. After graduating he helped people who were addicted to drugs. But let’s start at the beginning.

Frank was born on 8 September 1955 into a Roman Catholic family in Pakistan. He was baptised in the Catholic Church and professed Catholicism for almost half a century. He married his childhood sweetheart, Josephine. They have four children, two sons and two daughters.

Through his uncle and job he became New Apostolic

Frank Sardar was lucky enough to be able to get an education and graduate. For many years, he worked at a drug treatment centre that was funded by Caritas. When this project was discontinued in 2001, Frank Sardar lost his job.

At the time, the New Apostolic Church had an opening in their administrative offices and offered the job to his Uncle Francis, who was not New Apostolic. He had retired from his job with the Education Department and had good references. He was also friends with Apostle Anwar Khursheed, who looked after the New Apostolic Christians in Pakistan at the time. When Francis heard that his nephew was out of work, he suggested that he apply for the job instead. Frank Sardar knew little about the New Apostolic Church then, but he applied for the job and got it.

That is how he got to know Apostle Mukhtar Masih, who kept inviting him to the Church’s divine services and the seminars that were conducted. At some point it clicked with Frank Sardar and he became New Apostolic. In 2002 Apostle Masih ordained him as a Deacon. Although his wife and children stayed with their Catholic faith, they were proud of their husband and father.

Not only a desk job

Frank Sardar became the head of the administrative offices of the New Apostolic Church in Pakistan. He was appointed by John Doderer, who was a chartered accountant for the New Apostolic Church Canada at the time, and which is still responsible for the administrative and pastoral care of the Church in Pakistan today. Sardar’s tasks ranged from office manager to church building supervisor. He visited the construction sites and supervised everything. “The churches are built as per request by the Apostles, and I was responsible to contact the contractors,” Frank says. The funds for the church buildings are typically provided by the Regional Church Canada, but the local congregations sometimes contribute.

A new identity after retirement

After 20 years with the Church, Frank Sardar retired both from his job and his ministry. But he did not want to sit back and relax. Already in 1990, his wife, a trained nurse, had started a school project. Since his retirement last year, Frank has been volunteering as the headmaster of a school named Young Scholars Model High School.

The school in Faisalabad is located in a poor district of the city. The families there can hardly afford to send their children to school. Frank says that the children and their families live mostly in small houses with just one room for the whole family—sometimes more than six people live together. Often the parents are uneducated and sometimes they are addicted to drugs. And yet the children somehow manage to do their homework and study at home. “Some are very intelligent,” Frank Sardar reports.

He knows the names of almost all of their 200 pupils, who are between 4 and 15 years old—from nursery school to matric. Although he deals mainly with administrative matters as a principal, he does make his rounds to check that everything is going well in the various classes.

Every school day begins with a morning prayer. Most of the children come from Christian families and are grateful to God that they can go to school. The school has a staff of twenty, and the subjects taught are English, Math, Physics, Chemistry, and Social Studies. It is the teachers’ goal to give hope to these children, who are often neglected by their parents, and to break the cycle of poverty. Frank is proud that some of their students today hold teaching jobs or work for private companies or the government; others are still studying.

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