Before the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan last month, the nation was the most dangerous country in the world for Christians to live, second only to the repressive dictatorship of North Korea.
When the group seized control of the nation it had previously ruled with strict sharia law between 1996 and 2001, it was anticipated that the persecution would only grow and many in the west worked hard to evacuate Christians from the unstable region.
Many followers of Christ, however, remain in the nation and many, amazingly, by choice.
We have heard many reports that the Afghan church is growing rapidly in the face of grave danger, and some say revival has come to the war-torn land.
We serve a mighty God!
“As Job says, in the book of Job he says, ‘When a man is in a heap on the ground, he stretches out his hand to God,’ so it’s in the midst of the desperation that souls are hungry, and so it’s a moment of opportunity,” Joel Richardson of Global Catalytic Ministries (GCM) recently told CBN News.
He explained that for the world’s vulnerable Christians, even in the midst of persecutory regimes or violent Islamic insurgencies, many are experiencing revival. Afghanistan is no different.
“Iran has the fastest growing Church in the world. Seven years after the ISIS blitzkrieg, there’s a revival in northern Syria…the establishment of Islamic government provides ripe soil for the Church to grow,” he said.
The Afghan church, he said, is “still actively meeting, studying the scriptures together and sharing the gospel. We actually have a report from one of our leaders who has been sharing the gospel with Taliban members that came into their village and they’ve actually be engaging in Bible studies and prayer.”
Richardson explained that while some false stories have been circulating about the Afghan church, such as one errant report that the entire underground church had been martyred, the Christians who remain in the Taliban-controlled country are just ordinary people who have chosen to live out their faith.
“They say they’re scared. Many of them are in despair, but it’s in that weakness that they’re still pushing forward and they’re finding sweetness in all of it,” he explained.
As one church in the country recently conveyed to GCM, “There is pain and joy right now. God hasn’t left. There is no need to fear what the Taliban is doing, yes, bad things may happen to us, but God will do something and glorify his name.”
Richardson said that he’s concerned that things could get much worse for Christians very soon, yet those who have chosen to remain have accepted God’s will for them, no matter the cost.
“They’ve given their future, their fate, over to the will of God, knowing that it could result in martyrdom. They understand that very, very clearly, yet they’re pushing forward regardless,” he explained.
One of the prayers the Afghan church has is for divine, miraculous protection, such as Jesus’ superhuman escape from an angry mob in Luke 4:29-30.
“To be hidden from those who seek to do them harm, as they continue to go out and make disciples of men. That is the wish of the Afghan Church,” CBN notes.
We are praying with our Afghan brothers and sisters, that they would be hidden safely under the wings of the Lord and that their boldness would testify to their communities of the power and might of the Lord.
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