Isaad* and other male members of his extended family sat cross-legged on worn Afghan carpets. Their loose tan pants and knee-length tops folded over their knees, and white turbans protected their heads. Young boys squatted at a distance playing marbles. All wore woolen vests to shield them from the cooling temperatures. A lone flower pot that once decorated their barren courtyard with red tulips now held only dirt.The men poured hot tea from blue teapots into clear glasses and talked about how they could possibly feed and care for everyone.
What is Cherished
One’s family is the single most important aspect of life in Afghanistan. Men carry the economic burden for the entire household, which may consist of three or four generations inside one mud-brick compound. After the Taliban regained control of the country in August, supporting families became a constant worry.
Afghans are resilient people, but prolonged conflict and high levels of displacement have pushed them to the limit. Salaries are gone, security is questionable, and starvation is real. The mounting poverty forced some households to sell their younger girls as childhood brides so the rest of the family could survive. As winter approaches, the days are shorter, and the temperatures are falling. It is a true humanitarian crisis.
The Knock on the Door
The mosque’s loudspeaker interrupted the conversation in Isaad’s compound, calling that section of the city to noontime prayer. One tea drinker scoffed at the sound.
“No God would allow this to happen in our country!”
As the others shook their heads in agreement, someone knocked on the compound’s wooden door. Isaad opened it a crack.
A cheerful face greeted him and then gestured to the rice, oil, and containers of other food at his feet, saying, “My name is Amin*, and this is for you.”
The men and boys helped carry the supplies inside. Then, as an act of gratitude, Isaad poured Amin some tea and invited him for lunch. The women hurried to prepare a meager meal.
As they ate, Isaad asked Amin, “Where are you getting all of this help?”
Amin replied, “From God.”
“God?” Isaad blurted. “There is no God!”
Amin just smiled and said, “If there were no God, I wouldn’t be here to help you. There is a God. If you pray to Him, He will answer you.”
Amin is a member of a small evangelical church in Muslim-dominated Afghanistan who wanted to relieve the stress on struggling families by providing food and the gospel. ANM sent a plea about this desperate need, and donors responded. Now 120 large families regularly receive food and the gospel. Isaad’s family is one of them.
As the sun set that evening, the air grew frigid. Isaad and the men went inside to start a fire in a conical, flimsy tin wood stove that heated the main room in the house. They also loaded the stoves within the individual families’ sleeping quarters. Amin noticed smoke rising from several homes as he walked back to the church and realized the coming need for wood.
In Afghanistan, wood is commonly used for cooking, heat water for washing, and warming the house. For Isaad and other heads of households, the situation looked dire. Their fuel supplies would not last long. And each new day would be colder than the last.
Again, ANM sent a plea. Firewood funds from ANM donors are now arriving at the church. They will purchase firewood in the eastern part of the country along the Pakistani border. Then they will deliver it along with the food to the same 120 families.
The Best Outcome
Perhaps when Amin arrives at Isaad’s house with the wood, Isaad will have a revelation that there truly is a God of love and compassion who cares for him and his family. Amin will gladly answer Isaad’s questions and continue to be an example of Jesus to him and his household.
You, too, can support an Afghan family in need. Visit the ANM Gift Catalog to donate now!
*Names changed for security reasons.