Afghanistan (MNN) — The representation of Christians in Afghanistan is so small that to be one means certain persecution. With the majority of the population Muslim, these new Christians aren’t just deciding to follow Christ. They’re abandoning an old faith and the safety that comes with it.
According to the Joshua Project, 99.8 percent of the population follows Islam. Only .03 percent of the population could be described as Evangelical Christians.
Bob Blincoe of Frontiers USA says that fact presents some unique challenges, ones their team has come up against in their work in Afghanistan.
“The mission of Christ in Afghanistan is unusual because there’s no Christian Church to start out with. There’s no place to start your Christian ministry alongside local Christians.”
The risk of following Jesus
Without local Christians, who can a believer fellowship with? Who will encourage them? No longer are their families, friends, and communities there to support them.
Blincoe explains, “The Islamic doctrine is clear and incontrovertible that a person who comes to faith and leaves Islam should be killed. This is not up for discussion in Islam.”
He says we can hope and pray for great numbers to decide to follow Jesus in order to throw off the oppression of Islam in Afghanistan. And, we can work to support them from the outside.
Heroes of faith
Some may question the wisdom in doing Gospel work in a place like Afghanistan. It’s dangerous. Many of us have a hard time identifying with the risk each new believer has made to follow Jesus in this part of the world. It’s unimaginable. But we know from Scripture where their strength comes from.
“Only by having faith, like Christ had at Gethsemane, are Muslims going to be able to come to faith in Christ and sustain themselves through persecution — which will come,” Blincoe says.
He continues, saying we need to remember the core of the Gospel which is “Christ’s adoration for His Father, His own willingness to have faith in God, though death became certain in the last days of His life.”
Another source of strength is remembering the reward that awaits Christ’s followers. He quotes 2 Corinthians:
For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen.
For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
(2 Corinthians 4:17-18 ESV)
Because of the current religious climate of Afghanistan, people coming to Christ now will most likely be converts from Islam. And though that might mean worldly trouble from their families and communities, they will be heroes of the faith in the world to come.
So, we’re asking you to pray with us — not only for the persecuted in Afghanistan, but their persecutors.
Blincoe leads us using the passage of Micah 4:
“Heavenly Father. We long for the day when Muslims will beat their swords into plowshares. Every day, we see proof that the peoples of Afghanistan, the peoples of the Muslim world, are rending their lives, their countries, their families. And they don’t know how to stop because they are under the dominion of darkness.
“We pray Father that you would gloriously reveal your love for them and your power to save. And bring them to yourself. Bring them to your high mountain that they may know the moment of salvation in Christ, but also learn the way of the Lord, and finally become lovers of Christ and of Christianity and the way back which would reconcile them to you, to their own communities, and to the World. In Jesus name, Amen.”
For more guidance in prayer, watch this!
Frontiers also shares this 30 day prayer guide, click here.