Before the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan on August 14, the nation was already the second-worst place for Christians to live, according to the organization Open Doors USA.
Even with the U.S.-backed regime in power, preaching the Gospel of Christ was illegal and Christians, the vast majority of whom had converted from Islam, were viewed by many in their communities as having committed an offense worthy of death for leaving the majority faith.
An Afghanistan under the control of the Taliban will no doubt make the nation all the more dangerous for followers of Christ, and the global church has been urgently praying for and coordinating the evacuation of the minority faith group.
Christian humanitarian worker John Weaver has issued an urgent prayer request for those members of the church who will not manage to escape the threat of Taliban rule as the US nears completion of its full withdrawal from the nation.
“The Taliban are looking for people who have left Islam and who are now following Jesus,” Weaver recently told CBN News. “So, it is a desperate time for our brothers and sisters and we need to stand in prayer with them and advocate for their situation.”
By some accounts, Taliban fighters have been going door-to-door looking for Christians. Weaver was unable to verify these reports, but said he suspects that it’s likely some have indeed already been killed for their faith.
“It is very likely that some have already laid down their life. But at least in our main networks, thankfully none of our main leaders have reported that yet because many of them have fled to a different location, or they are in hiding, or they have moved, or we have helped them relocate,” he explained.
“But yes, they are being hunted, they are being targeted, and it is an extreme danger that they are in right now,” he said.
Incredibly, Weaver explained, there will be Christians who have willingly opted to stay to continue to shine Christ’s light in their native land.
“Many feel called to stay,” he said. “They know this is their home country and now as citizens of God’s kingdom, they want to be salt and light, they want to stay. Some are willing to embrace the suffering of persecution that might come and we are going to trust that some of the second, third, and fourth-generation believers that are there, will be able to weather the storm.”
“We are trusting that God would give them grace to stay and they would see the fulfillment of the Great Commission, the gospel spreading to every tribe and nation throughout Afghanistan,” he said.
“Pray they would know the goodness and the mercy of God, the voice of their good shepherd, He would be with them in the suffering and if they do have to flee, that we and others could help them–different organizations that are involved,” he urged.
Weaver also added a very humbling prayer request — for the Taliban itself.
“It’s one of the largest unreached people groups, the Pashtun people. Let’s pray,” he said of Afghanistan’s largest tribe. “Surely God has highlighted, His heart is for the nations and for the people of Afghanistan. Let’s pray that this would further the advancement of God’s kingdom, the spread of His gospel among the Pashtun people.”
In Jesus name — amen.
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