Women walking across field
Man in outdoors speaking
Older men walking
If their faith becomes known, Afghan Christians are often forced to move abroad or to another part of the country for their safety.

AbdullahHe Chose to Stay

In Afghan culture, neighbors are referred to as those who “share our shade,” an expression that may originate from people sharing the shade of the same tree. So when Afghans move, they talk of “changing their shade.”

Since the Taliban took control of the country last August, Abdullah, an Afghan believer, has had to “change his shade” three times. Abdullah was led to faith by a Christian relative, someone known in the community as having left Islam to follow Jesus.

Not long after the Taliban takeover, Abdullah’s neighbors warned him that Taliban fighters had come to his house looking for his Christian relative. Abdullah and his family left that same day to find “new shade” in a place where they were not well known.

But even in that new place, people soon began to ask questions. “Why don’t we see you at the mosque on Fridays?” they asked. “You missed the weekly prayers again.”

Before last August, such questions were just mildly bothersome intrusions by nosy neighbors, but now these questions carry the weight of armed Taliban fighters and the Afghan national government. The Taliban wants every Afghan to follow its strict form of Sunni Islam; in their eyes, anyone who fails to attend mosque is either a traitor or an infidel. Both, they believe, should be punished.

With the Taliban in power, anyone from a local mosque leader to a commander in the national security police may be a member of the Taliban’s network. Believers discovered by the Taliban have been beaten and imprisoned. So if an official calls a Christian to a “meeting,” the believer must decide whether to attend the meeting, try to stall or immediately flee the country.

When Abdullah’s new neighbors began asking questions, he and his family moved again, forcing him to close his business and abandon his livelihood amid an economy in utter ruin. But he hasn’t stopped serving Christ. He stays in regular contact with new Afghan believers, traveling to pray with them, encourage them and study God’s Word with them.

In a recent message to a Christian outside Afghanistan, Abdullah referenced Romans 8, agreeing with Paul that “the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (v. 18). Abdullah knows that he and other Afghan Christians who decided to remain in the country are “more than conquerors through him who loved us” (v. 37) and that nothing — not even Taliban fighters with AK-47s and rocket-propelled grenades — will be able to separate them from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (v. 39).

With the Taliban in power, anyone from a local mosque leader to a commander may be a member of the Taliban’s network.
Older man walking through crowd

Many Taliban are Pashtun, one of the largest unreached people groups in the world.

RoohullahHe Had to Leave

Another Afghan believer, Roohullah, is one of the many Christians forced to flee Afghanistan last August as the Taliban swept across the country. Since Roohullah was widely known as a follower of Christ, he knew the Taliban would target him.

Many Afghans traveled first to Qatar and then on to free Western nations, but Roohullah and his family were among those who crossed into neighboring countries, such as Iran, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Pakistan, where Islam is still the dominant religion and persecution is an ever-present threat.

Although Roohullah was driven from his home and is now a stranger in a new land, he knows Christ’s call to be a disciple and make disciples is not dependent on location. Even as he settled into life as a refugee, he began to serve and witness, first to fellow Afghan refugees and eventually to Muslims in his host country. He has found fertile soil for the gospel among fellow refugees. Many who are frustrated with the Taliban and its radical, apocalyptic version of Islam are more open to the gospel message of a loving God who forgives our sins.

Roohullah stays in contact with friends in Afghanistan, using technology to encourage believers and witness to unbelievers. He is thankful that the Taliban has not cut off internet access in Afghanistan.

One obstacle to evangelism in Afghanistan is the strength of Islamic cultural identity. In the minds of most Afghans, being Muslim is inextricably linked with being Afghan, and the two cannot be separated even if one enjoys or believes the words of Jesus.

Embracing what you say would be like spitting in the face of my father and grandfather!

As one Christian worker was told by an Afghan with whom he had shared the gospel, “Embracing what you say would be like spitting in the face of my father and grandfather!” In a culture where elders are honored, every Afghan knows that to renounce Islam's prophet, Muhammad, and follow Christ is to commit “cultural suicide” and be cut off from family, friends and opportunities.

But Roohullah persists, sowing gospel seeds as he continues to serve others. He knows that he could be rejected by fellow Afghans and even be returned to his Taliban-controlled country if his host government feels threatened by his gospel work. Yet he faithfully perseveres.

Roohullah and many other Afghan believers — even some in Western nations — long for the day when they can return to their homeland and continue their personal witness to Christ among other Afghans. As of this writing, no one knows what might happen to an Afghan Christian who tries to return to the country. Would the Taliban even let them back in? With so much uncertainty, Afghan believers are praying that the Lord will allow them to return so they can share the gospel with their countrymen.

Two people reading a Bible

Pray for the safe and secret delivery of Bibles to Afghan Christians.

Please consider giving to help Afghan Christians and other members of our persecuted Christian family who are facing Islamic extremists. Our Afghan brothers and sisters continue to serve the Lord both inside their country, where the Taliban now dominates, and in nearby restricted nations where they remain at great risk of attack by Muslim extremists.

Your gift will be used to help those who have experienced persecution for their faith, to replace Bibles destroyed by persecutors, or to equip front-line workers with ministry tools to help them continue proclaiming the gospel in Afghanistan and other Islamic nations.

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