Afghanistan worsens for women, virtual church creates ‘lifeline’ of hope

By September 25, 2023

Afghanistan (MNN) — The United States extends temporary legal status to thousands of Afghan refugees. Officials say increasingly dangerous conditions under Taliban rule prohibit a return to Afghanistan.

“In Afghanistan, life is miserable,” Heart4Iran partner Shahnaz Ebrahimi says.

“Life is worse financially and spiritually; people are scared to go outside. Especially for women, life is really limited now.”

(Photo courtesy of Heart4Iran)

At the United Nations meeting in New York last week, foreign ministers from a dozen nations called for an immediate halt to the Taliban’s systematic discrimination against women in Afghanistan.

Leaders cited data from a recently published U.N. report describing deteriorating mental health among Afghan women:

The women spoke of suffering from psychological problems, including depression, insomnia, loss of hope and motivation, anxiety, fear, aggression, isolation, increasingly isolationist behavior, and thoughts of suicide.

Following the Taliban takeover in 2021, Ebrahimi and her husband began Ariana Ministries. They’ve created a digital church community for persecuted Christians in Afghanistan.

“Believers left behind were thirsty [for Living Water and] felt hopeless; they were feeling, ‘We are alone; nobody’s thinking about us. What should we do?’” Ebrahimi says.

This digital church and Heart4Iran’s satellite T.V. broadcasts in Dari have become a virtual “lifeline” to homebound women and girls.

“[One lady] in my group [was] crying the other week, she couldn’t attend the women’s meeting we have through the internet,” Ebrahimi says.

“She said, ‘I couldn’t go alone to the store and buy the data for myself because my husband wasn’t home, and my son wasn’t home either.’”

Pray that as women and girls discover their identities in Christ, they will trust Him with their future and present hardship.

“Please pray for freedom for women in Afghanistan, that they could have a normal life – go to the store, take their kids to the doctor; the girl can go to school and get educated,” Ebrahimi says.

Many young Afghan women have called Ariana Ministries in tears. One caller told Ebrahimi, “‘[2022] was my senior year; I had one semester left [when the Taliban banned girls from school.] Can you pray for me that God opens the door [for me to continue my education]?’”



In January, Heart4Iran received over 1,500 calls from Christ-seekers in Iran and Afghanistan asking for prayer, counseling, and resources. This is a large decrease in incoming calls from this time last year– all due to the controlling Islamic regime instilling deep fear in their own people. Let us pray for fear to not prevail in the Persian church and for Christ’s Hope to make way in their hearts. (Photo, caption courtesy of Heart4Iran)