Christian workers in Afghanistan freed

By September 14, 2010

Afghanistan (MNN) — More violence erupted over the weekend in response to the plan of a Florida church to burn the Quran. Although the pastor canceled the Quran-burning, two people died and four were injured in Afghanistan as they protested the plan. This kind of violence is putting Christians working in Afghanistan at risk.

Violence against Christians has increased in recent months. Last month 10 Christian medical workers were killed by the Taliban, claiming they were trying to convert Muslims.

Another organization reports that four of their workers were arrested on similar charges. There is, however, good news in this case. For security reasons we're not mentioning the name of the organization, and we're only calling the leader of that ministry "Daniel." He says two of the men were foreigners, while the other two were Afghans. "They were arrested in a private home and brought up on charges of 'inciting a public disturbance regarding religion.'"

Daniel says his ministry is focused on helping the physical needs of the Afghan people, and this opens other doors. "When asked what we believe, we feel like we are free, according to the law of the land, to share what it is that we believe and why we believe it. So, I don't think it's true that we were breaking any laws."

Afghans can't help but ask about their faith because living out the Gospel is attractive, says Daniel. "When we go and share the unconditional love of God to a broken people, they are curious to know why. In that context, we win the opportunity to share what it is that motivates us."

The four men who were arrested faced a 3-year prison sentence. After starting a worldwide prayer initiative and asking help from human rights and government leaders, Daniel decided to travel to Afghanistan to try to secure their release. "I met with the governor of that province who's been a personal friend of mine for 12 years, saying that we need these people out as soon as possible."

Within hours, the four were released. Two of them were allowed to return to their home countries, while the two Afghans were allowed to travel to another city for safety reasons.

Will this newest oppression hinder their work? Daniel says, "I don't think it's hindering it at all. I know that it understandably causes fear, but at the end of the day, we have decided that we will press forward."

Daniel is asking Christians around the world to pray for Afghanistan. "This is a major spiritual battle, make no mistake about it. And the enemy has held this country in its grips forever. But today we are seeing that the Kingdom of God is being established in Afghanistan, and it's a beautiful thing to behold."

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