Prior to the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, Help The Persecuted had identified the country as one of our number one targets for strategic growth. In fact, our Executive Vice President had previously served in ministry there post 9/11 and had established connections to trusted partners in-country. Our Field Ministry Team has been embedded in neighboring countries to Afghanistan for years, often supporting and discipling persecuted Afghans who fled to Iran, Lebanon, and Turkey to escape extreme persecution. Many of our team members in neighboring countries were already in touch with Christians inside Afghanistan.
When our team members in those neighboring countries started receiving desperate phone calls and Facebook messages from scared, endangered, and threatened Afghans during the Taliban infiltration of Kabul, we were positioned to—and rose to the occasion of—solidifying a network in Afghanistan.
Many persecuted Afghans fled to those countries where Help The Persecuted Field Ministry Team members and trusted church partners were already on the ground, making it easier for us to begin to assist them. In a recent report, our team shared important updates about many of these Afghan evacuees.
An Update on Persecuted, Refugee Afghans
About half the Afghan refugees our team serves through the churches in Turkey are converts to Christianity, and a portion of them regularly attend church. The other half are Muslims, and our help is touching them deeply—we pray their hearts will continue to soften and they soon will accept the Lord.
The Christians, though they are now far from Afghanistan, still live in fear. They sing worship songs with all their hearts, and praise the Lord by raising their hands, but they still keep their heads covered because of their fear and culture. When asked why she and her daughters still have their heads covered, a mother told us, “There may be Taliban supporters here, and they may hurt us because we uncovered our heads.” We pray, and we ask you to pray, that they would be released from the spirit of fear and be filled with His power and love.
Because of their rush to safety, and the instability of the times, these refugees are living in terrible conditions—many homes have water leaks, no heat and no beds. Many of the young women easily fall prey to schemers. These scam artists offer jobs to girls, then try to force themselves on the girls or force them to marry. Many girls feel trapped because their families are desperate for money. In contrast to this situation, many families recognize that our ministry has graciously helped them, not requiring anything of them, and they are grateful.
Most of our food distributions are given out to women and children. Many of the women are now widows, or they still do not know where their husbands are. Our team regularly supplies them with gift cards, food, heating assistance, rent payments, and medical expenses to help them gain a firmer footing for rebuilding their lives.
It’s immensely evident to us that God is changing the lives of these refugees even amid challenging circumstances.
God’s Word Warms the Hearts of Persecuted Afghans
One of our sisters, Nazy from Afghanistan, believed and was baptized. Now she serves her people without waiting for any response, constantly calls them to her house, cooks and tries to heal their wounds, and then announces the Gospel to them. As we talked with Nazy last month, we asked her why she is doing this and she told us a very surprising story. In her own words:
“My house was cold and my little girl was cold. One day, when I was passing by the church, there were a lot of books at the church door. I took the Bible and other books that were in my own language as if I am going to read them. I put them in my bag, but my goal was to throw them into the stove to burn wood and coals more easily when I get home in the evening.
“In the evening, I tore off the Bible pages to light the stove. I threw them in the stove and they started to burn. I took my daughter in my arms, sat down and took a look at the burning pages, and I saw the following words: ‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?’ I kept reading through verse 34.
“When I read those words, I started thinking that these were true words. Everything was under God’s control, and only He could give me everything. I looked at the stove and said: ‘I wish I hadn’t burned the Word of God. It’s a sin but I have a lot of other unburned Bibles.’
“Then, I sat down and started reading the Bible. The words of God warmed both my body and my soul. Then I went back to the church in fear. I was afraid that you would get to know me and be angry because I took away all the Bibles stacked at the door. You were distributing aid that day, and even though you didn’t know me, you found out that I was from Afghanistan and said, ‘You can have it if you need it.’ And my eyes filled with tears. God told me, ‘I’ll feed you.’ And He truly sustained me through the church. That’s why I like to serve the God who loves me so much. I have lived spiritual hunger and thirst for many years, but now God has fed me. I can’t keep this joy inside me and I want to tell others about it.”
How You Can Help Persecuted Afghans Like Nazy
Through this experience, God is opening doors for us to serve persecuted Afghans in countries where our Field Ministry Team is already in position, meeting physical and spiritual needs. We remain committed to Rescuing, Restoring, and Rebuilding the lives of persecuted Christians throughout the Muslim world. As we create plans for ongoing support programs, we are thankful for the network of believers—on the ground, as well as the worldwide Body of Christ—God has assembled to walk alongside these brothers and sisters. We need your prayers and gifts to provide critical supplies like food staples, medications, paperwork preparation, baby items, and so much more for this influx of refugees desperate for help, stability and peace.
And for those Afghans resettling and rebuilding their lives in foreign countries, your prayers and gifts enable us to provide living expenses, medical care, discipleship materials, and much more as each family rebuilds their lives and establishes a stable, dignified future for themselves as safely as possible.