‘Pray we can share the gospel’—On the ground with Afghan refugees

September 23, 2021 by Lindy Lowry in Middle East

At the end of August, we all watched in horror as the Taliban easily swept into power in Afghanistan. It seemed unthinkable—and heart-wrenching for Christians and other minority groups.

 

But now we’re getting reports that even those who managed to escape Afghanistan have not left the anguish behind.

Aysha*, one of our partners helping refugees from Afghanistan, shares a difficult report from a neighboring country where Afghan refugees are “pouring in” (we can’t disclose her country for security reasons). The physical and emotional impact on refugees is evident, she says.

“We are in such a difficult time [working] for all refugees emotionally,” Aysha says. “Refugees, especially the women, are emotionally broken, very stressed, and often crying because they lost their homes, because of what they experienced in the last weeks and because of the situation in their country.”

The current crisis comes on top of the 2.2 million Afghan refugees already in border countries. There are also an estimated 3.5 million displaced people within Afghanistan’s borders due to fighting.

While some countries have offered refugees a safe place, others are refusing to offer safe harbor to fleeing Afghans. Officials in both Pakistan and Iran have said that any refugees who do arrive will be forced to stay in camps near the border until they can return to Afghanistan. Uzbekistan, Afghanistan’s neighbor to the north, has said it will help transfer Afghans to third countries but will only host refugees temporarily.

‘Pray that we can share the gospel’

 

Aysha and the others working with her are asking for the prayers from the worldwide Church. Having to flee under duress in such a terrible reality has been especially hard on women, she says. “We need prayers for wisdom, strength and new opportunities to serve the women, such as trauma counseling, and helping them assimilate in this new country. Pray that we can share the gospel with them and bring them to local churches. Please pray for the refugee women, for the Afghan people and for our ministry.”

Hamad*, another partner in an undisclosed country, expresses worry that the refugee crisis could lead to further tensions. Afghanistan is 99.7 percent Muslim, so virtually all refugees coming into neighboring countries follow Islam. Hamad is concerned these refugees could be easily recruited and radicalized.

“Due to what is happening today in Afghanistan, the situation in our country is now rather tense,” he explains. “We are very concerned that the people in our country with radical Islamic views—those who dream about creating an Islamic caliphate—can take advantage of the situation in Afghanistan and start an Islamic revolt here.”

There is also concern that the refugees themselves may pose danger. “Among them may be lots of radicals,” Hamad says.

He shares his prayer: “Please pray for this situation in our country and for the hearts of those people who want Islam to rule the state. Also, pray for us Christian believers, for wisdom and courage in such an anxious time to carry the gospel. Pray we can carry the goodness and love of our Lord Jesus Christ to Muslim people in our country.”

The United Nations has warned that up to half a million Afghans could flee the country by the end of the year and has called on neighboring countries to keep their borders open.

Pray for Afghan refugees

While the word “refugee” isn’t found in Scripture, God’s Word often refers to  “strangers,” “sojourners” and “foreigners.” Jesus gives us His words about what it looks like to stand with the “stranger”:

“For I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty, and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick, and you looked after me, I was in prison, and you came to visit me.

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?  When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”

  • Pray that God would meet refugees’ physical, spiritual and emotional needs.
  • Pray with Aysha, Hamad and other Christian workers. Ask God to cover them in His wisdom and enable them to minister to the people entrusted to their care.
  • Pray that God would confuse any plans of Islamic radicals and bless those countries that have opened their borders to Afghan refugees.
  • Pray for local believers to stand in faith and ministry, that they would be Christ’s hands and feet as they welcome and love their Afghan neighbors in this critical time.

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