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By MARK MAYNARD, Kentucky Today
The speed of the Afghanistan government’s collapse and the ensuing chaos that has come from the Taliban seizing power has brought horrifically unbelievable scenes of terror.
Afghan pastors and missionaries who are still in the country fear for their lives in the midst of the desperation, but they have remained strong in the faith while also hiding to protect their families.
What can Christians in America do? It starts with praying, said Dr. Paul Chitwood, president of the International Mission Board.
“Pray that God will move in the midst of the chaos and fear in Afghanistan,” Chitwood said. “Pray that those without hope will come to know Jesus, the One who gives hope. Pray that the Church will be strengthened during this frightening and dangerous time, and for believers to stand strong and to be light to those around him.”
The IMB cannot comment on the mission presence or lack of presence because of life-threatening risks.
Desperation has carried the day as America’s 20-year war comes to a chaotic ending.
Afghans rushed onto the tarmac of the capital’s airport as thousands tried to escape. Some clung to the side of a U.S. military plane before takeoff, in a widely shared video that showed the desperation of the situation. Another video showed the Afghans falling as the plane gained altitude over Kabul. U.S. troops resorted to firing warning shots and using helicopters to clear a path for transport aircraft, the AP reported.
Chitwood said the violence and fear spread after the Taliban took control over most of the country after foreign troops pulled out.
“Thousands of people are displaced; there are shortages in money and food, amid looting,” he said. “Homes and offices are being searched and seized; and people with means are desperately trying to flee the country, most without success.”
“Many small villages are afraid of the devastation that would follow from a fight with the Taliban, so they are willingly giving up control of their areas to save lives.”
Josh Manley, a pastor of RAK Evangelical Church in the United Arab Emirates, wrote an article for 9Marks that has been shared multiple times on Facebook. It explains what the Afghan pastors and believers are experiencing in these dark times.
Manley said over the past weeks that U.S. missions agencies have pulled out workers and he was “grateful they could get out. Pray for them as well as for any who chose to stay.”
However, he said to especially pray for the Afghans who have no choice but to stay. Manley mentioned one pastor who had already spent time in prison for his faith in Afghanistan. Yet he has stayed strong in the faith. “We can trust that our Lord is mighty and will care for his children,” he told Manley. “Our hope is not in politics but in Jesus who is King.”
In the article, Manley continued: “This is not escapism. This is biblical faith when all earthly prospects are completely bleak. Don’t you know that such faith brings great glory and joy to our Father in heaven?”
For more about the people and culture of Afghanistan, the IMB has a prayer guide first released a few years ago: https://www.imb.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Afghanistan-Prayer-Guide-1.pdf
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