The Cost Of Conversion
Afghans take their lives in their hands when they convert to Christianity. Our partners met families who managed to escape after the Taliban takeover and others including a former imam, who survived a grenade attack after turning to Christ.
They own only what they could carry out of Afghanistan: clothes, a few small personal items and their most treasured possession – their faith in Jesus. These recent converts to Christianity have already paid the price for their newfound faith – they had to flee their homes in Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover last year. They are now living together in one house in a secret location with numerous other believers.
Five families who managed to escape with their lives share a single residence, while in another building not far away ten families composed of 35 members fill the bare rooms. They all sleep on the floor in a giant hallway.
But their joy in the Lord is evident for our partner to see: ‘They are lovely Christians with a big faith and a big hope in Christ to have a good future.
‘They need our very serious prayer to survive in their new Christian faith’
‘These believers escaped from Afghanistan because they were associated with the Americans, either working with them or converted by them. So the Taliban know them and wanted to kill them but they managed to escape from there.’
Since arriving in a new country, they simply crave ‘good spiritual food, proper Christian fellowship and the love of other believers’ more than anything else.
‘They need our very serious prayer to survive in their new Christian faith,’ he adds. ‘They are entirely dependent on God and His people.’
One member of the group expressed his desire to our partner – it wasn’t for a comfortable and prosperous life or even just a safe place to live but to learn more about Jesus and take the gospel back into Afghanistan!
One believer who left her homeland long before the Taliban took over is Aabroo*.
Aabroo (pictured) came to faith in 2015 and faced almost instant rejection from her husband and siblings.
‘They asked me to reject Jesus and say no to Him. They said I was an apostate but I continued in my faith,’ she said.
A while after her conversion Aabroo’s husband died. It was a traumatic time even though he had been opposed to her faith. ‘I thought my family is finished, my life is over, but the peace of Jesus was marvellous. There were many difficulties especially when I had to take my children and leave the home. No one gave me anywhere to live for two years and I couldn’t get my children admitted to any school.
‘It was a hard time but the Holy Spirit was my strength. I was rejoicing in my faith in Jesus; that was my strength.’
Referring to the account of Jesus calming the storm in the gospel of Mark, chapter 4, she added: ‘My life was like a boat in a storm like with the disciples in the boat when Jesus rebukes the storm. Jesus was rebuking every storm in my life.
‘When I read scripture I feel strength in my soul and body.’
Aabroo is now involved in ministry to a number of families who have come out of Afghanistan. In fact she believes that’s why God settled her in her new home – to be there to care for Afghan refugees when the time came.
‘My prayer and message is that I want my relatives, neighbours and friends to know Jesus, the Light of the World. Pray for me that more and more will be open to Jesus and receive Him.
‘My faith is big and I believe my God is big,’ she declared.
Another Afghan believer who has suffered for his faith in Jesus and yet known the life-changing power of the gospel is ‘Abas’*.
A former imam, Abas (pictured) committed his life to Christ after reading the Bible and talking to a Christian leader.
‘While studying the Koran I found that there was something missing so I started reading the Bible. Not long after, I had a meeting with a pastor and came to faith.’
Abas’s conversion had two dramatic effects: first it changed him from being an angry militant, and secondly it put a target on his back.
‘I lost everything except Jesus Christ’
‘Before I was a Christian, I was very bitter. I disliked everyone and was full of hatred for humanity. I lived like a militant and thought I was the only righteous person on the earth. When I met Jesus, I suddenly changed – I experienced grace, and the love of Christ that was on the cross came into my heart. I started to love everybody.’
That love was not reciprocated, however. A year after his conversion somebody threw a grenade at his house, then an attempt was made to kidnap him. This was on top of being abandoned by family and friends and losing his business. ‘I lost everything except Jesus Christ,’ he said.
He told our partner: ‘Pray for me that I will be steadfast and live as a Christian even to death. My fear has gone and I have a living hope in Jesus so I am not afraid of persecution or being killed. My eternity is safe.’
* Names have been changed
PRAY FOR AFGHAN BELIEVERS
- That those who have fled their homeland will be able to find a safe place to live and work
- That individuals and families who follow Christ inside Afghanistan will know God’s strength, protection and courage as they seek to live out their faith under a hostile regime
- That God would provide for the needs of Afghan Christians whether inside the country or part of the diaspora
- Thank God for the testimony and ministry of believers such as Abas and Aabroo, who are willing to sacrifice everything for the sake of the gospel
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