Afghanistan (MNN) — Al Qaeda's resurgence in Afghanistan is noted by a mocking response to U.S President George Bush's commitment to more troops in Iraq.
Undaunted, while heavy fighting with the Taliban is expected this year, the government's growing strength provides some optimism about the country's much-needed stability in the future.
The picture painted of terrorist Afghanistan is not the one encountered by Christian groups ministering there, but both elements exist. Caution makes them move with great care in outreach growth.
Interserve's John Kennedy notes that the terrorism, "is an issue of concern. It has kind of remained as an ongoing concern, not at a high level of changing work, or strategy or plans, at the moment, one that has to be factored into any decisions that are taken."
Kennedy goes on to say the key to continued ministry is not to embarrass the officials supporting their medical work in the area. Interserve works with ten partners, primarily in the medical field. "So, as long as you stick within certain guidelines, there's a lot of freedom both to do our professional work and service as well as through the relationships that that engenders to have opportunities share your faith."
Interestingly, Afghans are open to discussing religion, even the Christian faith, but the church is virtually is non-existent. When asked how hard it was to evangelize in the region, Executive Director Doug Van Bronkhorst responded, "The number of native Christians is an indication of how hard it is", to pursue ministry by traditional means. The continued conflict hasn't helped. More than ever, any potential growth feels stymied because of the unrest.
Cross-cultural Christian workers serving in Afghanistan ask for prayers for the country's government and for the governments of those countries new excising influence there. If you want to pray or to help support these teams, click here.