It was heart-breaking to hear the stories of Afghani students whose families were left behind in Afghanistan. I spoke with Ibrahim, a student at RIT, at a welcome picnic for international students our church hosted last month. He had already come back for the fall term when panic about the American withdrawal seized his nation and the Taliban began taking over. Now the worry on his face is etched in my mind.
Ibrahim is Muslim, so the concern is not as bad for him as it is for Christian Afghanis. But what’s so interesting to me is that the Church in Afghanistan is growing. Even under persecution, the Church is surging ahead. The irresistible quality of life with Jesus is winning more and more Afghanis at a time when you’d think many would cower before the spiritual oppression of the Taliban.
“The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church,” goes the saying. And it’s easy for us to say those words, but Afghani Christians are living it. Because of the national registration program, which required all Afghanis to register their religion, it will be easy for the Taliban to identify and persecute Christians. Can you imagine the choice that Christians there faced when it came time to write down their religion? It would be so easy to lie in those circumstances.
It’s precisely that choice which makes a Christian bold. Or apostate.
Can I be honest? Some American Christians are simply weak. Lame. They show up for prayer, for worship, or for missions only when it suits them. Their love for God has been diluted into mere duty; their mission has been blunted by their busy-ness. They’re pretenders. They’re the ones Jesus speaks of when he says: Because you are lukewarm â€“ neither hot nor cold â€“ I am about to spit you out of my mouth (Revelation 3:16).
Henrietta is attracting thousands of students every year who will go back to their homeland. They can become bearers of the good news. The life-saving news. They can become bearers of the light.
But many of them won’t if we don’t reach out to them.
Our church’s Cross-Culture Ministry is getting active again. Watch for announcements about ways to participate.