Penetrating Afghanistan with the gospel is a daunting and difficult task. Though a secret church does exist, very little information about its size can be found. Contacting and helping believers is challenging to say the least; this is one of the reasons why Open Doors supports partner organizations that broadcast Christian radio programs into the country. These organizations also encourage listeners to contact them. One of these callers, Saif*, has a remarkable story to tell.
He shares that his story, just like every truly good story, begins with a shocking event that turns the main character’s world upside down. Surprisingly, that moment was not when he tuned into listen to the Christian radio program and heard the gospel for the first time. It was not even when he received a New Testament, or the Injil in Arabic, from his friend. The moment that transformed his world happened when he brought this Injil to his house.
He shares that one of his seven children was disabled, and could not walk. “When I brought the New Testament into my house, my daughter started to move.” He adds, “Then, I began to read from the Bible, and she started to walk!”
Bursting with excitement, but unable to tell any of his friends, he called the follow-up team from the Christian radio, and told his amazing testimony. The counselor encouraged him to continue listening to the radio, saying, “You will grow spiritually if you listen regularly.” Then they prayed together. A few days later, Saif called again with a serious concern. “People in my village want to know how my daughter was healed. What do I tell them? We’ve been to so many doctors, and nobody was able to help her. And now she walks.”
“Miracles happen to the glory of God,” the counselor told Saif. “Share about your experience with Jesus.”
“But I am so afraid,” said Saif. “I believe in Jesus now, and my wife also, but I still go to the mosque to pray five times a day.”
“If you have to go to the mosque, pray to Jesus,” the counselor recommended.
Not long after this call, Saif became fearful for his safety and fled to India, where he sought asylum.
“This is where we began to doubt if his faith was genuine,” the radio worker says. “Why did he go to India so quickly? Perhaps he thought that because Christians are persecuted in Afghanistan, he would be granted asylum sooner. Did he use his new-found faith to escape his country? However, we were able to connect him with the Afghan refugee community in India, and they showed him how difficult life was for them. He returned home, and kept calling us and listening to our programs, which proved he was sincere.”
One day, Saif went completely silent, and stopped contacting the counselor. They finally managed to get in touch with his wife who explained that Saif had been kidnapped. The small number of Christians who knew about his disappearance prayed for his life for days on end.
Finally, Saif called again and shared his harrowing experience. “I was abducted by extremists. They wanted to kill me and my wife. The men forced me into a car, and we started driving. All of a sudden, we ran into a soldier’s patrol. The soldiers and extremists started shooting at each other. Bullets flew around, and I could not go anywhere. One bullet hit me in the leg. Then my kidnappers ran off. The soldiers wanted to know why I was taken by these men, and I had to lie. I told them it was because I supported the government.”
The soldiers took Saif to the hospital, and he was later reunited with his wife. They still follow Jesus, even though they are not connected to a church or small group. In spite of their isolation, they do belong to the fellowship known by many of Afghanistan’s secret believers… the fellowship of the radio.
*Pseudonym used to protect his identity.
Father, today we join with others like Saif who have come into a relationship with You through these radio programs. Father, even now as we pray this prayer, there are people listening to the radio in Afghanistan. Father, from Your heavenly realm, reach out and move upon their hearts… stir them in such a way that they are compelled to pick up the phone and call a counselor. Father, we pray for them right now to come into a saving relationship with Jesus. Giving You all praise and glory we pray in Jesus’ name, who reigns victorious and is preparing a place for us in glory. Amen.