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Believers Son Left Behind in Afghanistan

July 31, 2013 by Open Doors in General

Believers' Son Left Behind in Afghanistan

German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “When Christ bids a man, he bids him come and die.” Aarash* may have never heard Bonhoeffer’s famous quote, but when he, an Afghan Muslim, responded to the Lord Jesus’ calling on his life, he must have known it could cost him his life. Now, several years later, Aarash and his wife are both dead, leaving a young child behind in Afghanistan.

This quiet tragedy, conspicuously absent from the news, started as a beautiful story. When Aarash was still a little boy, his parents immigrated to a foreign country that offered new opportunities. Outside the immediate control of the family and Afghan society, Islam was a less oppressive force. We don’t know how Aarash discovered Jesus Christ, but as a new Christian the Lord led him to search for a wife in a country closer to Afghanistan. He eventually met a young Afghan woman. They wanted to get married, but Aarash’s faith stood in the way. Although she wanted to embrace Christianity, she was hesitant to leave her Muslim family behind. In the end, she chose to follow Jesus and marry Aarash.

God blessed the couple with a baby boy. Life without family was difficult for the young couple. About two years ago, Aarash decided in was time for a short visit to his birth village in Afghanistan. He took his young family along to see his native community. While he was there, news spread that Aarash had converted. He was no longer a true Afghan. His choice to abandon Islam was viewed as a disgrace for the community, so the religious leaders decided to drug Aarash and kill him.

Aarash’s sudden death was a shock to his wife. To add to her sorrow, she was put under intense pressure by the family. Without her husband, she could not travel back to her home and was completely trapped in Afghanistan. “After she lost her husband, her family asked her to renounce her new faith,” says a Christian who knows the family. “They wanted her to marry another relative, but she rejected this, saying, ‘I don’t need your riches. The Lord will take care of my needs; I can’t leave my faith.'”

Still trapped in Afghanistan, she became seriously ill. The family offered to help on condition that she returned to Islam. “We will take care of everything. Just come back to our faith,” they pleaded. She steadfastly clung to her faith in Christ.  By the time they gave in and took her to the hospital, she was beyond the help of medical care and passed away shortly after arrival.

The couple’s young son is now in the care of her Muslim family. A friend of the couple commented that the events remind him of that famous passage about heroes of faith in Hebrews 11 and adds the first verse of Hebrews 12, ‘Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.’

*Name has been changed to protect the identity.

Father, it was You who drew Aarash to saving faith in Christ Jesus, and it was You who led him to his wife and drew her to Yourself as well. It was You who gave them this child, and who gave his wife the strength to remain faithful to Christ in the midst of family pressure. So now we pray for this young child , praying that You will overrule in the effort to make him Muslim. Bring him to the truth; guide him to discover the faith that You granted his parents, that he may become a great testimony to the Living God within him. We pray in confidence that You “who began a good work in [Aarash] will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” In the name of Jesus who promised never to leave us or forsake us, Amen.

Photo is representative of a young Afghan child.

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