Do you believe that God performs miracles even today? What would you think if you heard about a man who was jailed for speaking out against his country’s religious establishment, tortured, sent to be executed, and was saved when he called Jesus’ name for the first time in his life?
“Go, stand in the temple courts,” he said, “and tell the people all about this new life“Acts 5:20 (NIV)
Kalil’s story sounds like the story of the apostles in Acts 5 when they were thrown in jail, released by the angel of the Lord, and directed by that same angel to preach about his new life. Our God is still performing miracles; He’s still making a way where there seems to be no way; He’s still rescuing those who call on His name.
You’ll be amazed at how our brother Kalil found new life in Jesus when he was at the hands of death.
Speaking Out Against Lies
Some years ago, Kalil learned the hard way what happens to Afghans when you challenge the religious establishment in Iran.
While attending a service at the local mosque with a friend, he heard the clerics make promises of social elevation and security to prospective martyrs. Kalil had heard these lies before, and his mind raced back to all the Afghan men who had fought in the war between Iran and Iraq. Their families hadn’t been compensated. He knew the promises of these religious leaders were nothing more than lies. And so, in a moment of frustration and anger, Kalil spoke out—loudly. The clerics took notice.
Late that night, Kalil was arrested, and his home searched. He was sent to prison where he was beaten and tortured before being deported to his home country of Afghanistan.
Imprisoned and Awaiting Execution
In Afghanistan, Kalil was captured by the Taliban. They imprisoned him for over a year and regularly tortured him. During that time, Kalil cried out to Mohammad and other Muslim prophets to save him, but no answer came. The Taliban filmed him and tried to get the Afghan government to release prisoners in exchange for his life. But when they realized that the government wasn’t willing to negotiate, they told Kalil: “Neither your father, nor your mother, nor the government want you. We are going to cut off your head.”
The Taliban soldiers lined up Kalil and several other prisoners against a wall. Kalil watched in horror as the first man in line was executed in front of everyone during the first week. The second man was killed the following week, and Kalil, who was the third in line, knew he was next. When the time came, he sobbed in desperation. And then he remembered that, many years ago, a friend had taken him to church and told him about Jesus. He hadn’t believed back then, but now, in what seemed to be his final hour, he cried out for Jesus to save him. In that moment, a peace came upon Kalil, and he stopped crying.
When the time came for his execution and he was being led out by his Taliban soldiers, Kalil fainted and he heard the voice of Jesus. He woke up sometime later and asked what had happened. He was told that since he looked so much like a corpse when he was unconscious, any video footage of his execution would be unusable. The Taliban had decided to wait to murder him. Kalil’s new life had started.
Saved Again and Saved for Good
Two days later, Kalil found himself bound and blindfolded in the backseat of a car, driving up a dirt road. When they came to a police checkpoint, the Taliban soldiers tried to escape by abandoning the car in the forest. They fled and left Kalil in the car, which was now the target of a barrage of gunfire. Even though he was blindfolded, Kalil took a risk and decided to throw himself clear of the car.
He crawled through the forest for two hours until he heard voices. Kalil called for help and was rescued. As Kalil and his new friends walked back past the Taliban’s car, Kalil could see it was completely burned out and riddled with bullet holes. Someone asked him, “How did you survive that?” Kalil had one idea: Jesus. Right there, he gave his heart to the Lord and put his trust in Him for a new life.
Kalil’s New Life in Christ
A few years later, Kalil decided to return to Iran illegally to be reunited with his family. Together, they fled to Turkey. There, Kalil found a Bible-believing church. He shared his testimony, and many came to faith because of what he shared about the new life Jesus had given him. But when a group of devout Muslims heard about what Kalil was doing, they decided he needed to die.
One day, in the town square, Kalil was spotted and these men began to beat him up. Thankfully, the police intervened. When they asked Kalil if he wanted to press charges, he declined, and said he forgave his attackers. For his own safety, however, the authorities relocated Kalil and his family to a neighboring town.
How Help The Persecuted is Supporting Kalil
Today, Kalil is a member of a church in his community and is continuing to learn more about the Lord. Sadly, he and his family are very poor, surviving right now on the kindness of others. Kalil is sick and disabled and, therefore, unable to work. Help The Persecuted is providing housing and living expenses for Kalil and his family. Our local team members are providing Biblical counseling, and guiding Kalil to plan for his and his family’s future. Kalil is committed to having Jesus use him in whatever way brings glory and honor to His name.
Though Kalil’s story of torture and near murder at the hands of the Taliban happened some years ago, we are seeing the rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan again. And there are believers like Kalil in Afghanistan today who are fleeing their homes to find safety from persecution.