Middle East

Are there Christians in Afghanistan? Yes!

Alam and Rana could hardly wait to leave. This Middle Eastern city was just a stopover, a holding place, while their visa request was approved so they could travel on to their European destination. Urgency propelled them: they were going to convert the Europeans to Islam.

The Afghan couple were devoted to their faith, and united in their desire to spread it. But under the surface was a terrible anger and emptiness. Alam frequently beat Rana and belittled her, even though she shared his devotion to Islam.

A local missionary from Elam Ministries learned of their presence and saw a quickly passing opportunity. He struck up a conversation and eventually invited them to a local church gathering. Alam couldn’t have been a less likely candidate, but the missionary persisted. A few days later, when they met again, the missionary mentioned that the entire church, including the pastor, were from Muslim backgrounds.

Alam was floored. Curious and angered at the same time, he determined to visit the church with Rana and see for himself. Maybe he could bring some of them back into Islam.

Rana and Alam never made it to Europe to convert the Christians. Instead, the Lord captured their hearts. They now serve with Elam ministering especially to other Afghan believers and reaching out to Afghan Muslims.

Surprising growth

Elam’s mission is to strengthen and expand the church in Iran and beyond. Because of shared language (both countries primarily speak a modern Persian language) and cultural backgrounds, Iranian believers have found many open doors among Afghans. (Read about Elam’s new Persian Bible.)

It’s a remarkable situation: Iran is well known as one of the most repressive countries in the world for Christians. Afghanistan is another: it has no public Christian buildings, and the government there claims that there are no Christians in Afghanistan. Yet many estimate that these two Islamic countries are home to the two fastest growing churches in the world.

God chose…the things that are not…” 1 Corinthians 1:28

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