Christians in Afghanistan have been at extreme risk for years – and it’s got even worse. The Taliban are going door-to-door, hunting for believers to kill. Gulshan is a courageous secret believer from Afghanistan – here’s her story.
No parent wants to hear their child crying. You might have spent some sleepless nights looking after a crying baby, or comforted a child who seems inconsolable. But it’s very unlikely that you’ve experienced anything like Gulshan* has.
“We were terrified that the sound of the crying children would attract the attention of the Taliban,” she remembers. This was in the midst of a bomb attack in Afghanistan. “The explosions were very intense. That day, 13 U.S. soldiers and more than 160 Afghans lost their lives.”
Gulshan and her family survived that day, but their ordeal is far from over. As secret Christians from Afghanistan, Gulshan knows how much danger they’re in. Before the Taliban took over in 2021, Christians faced extreme persecution in Afghanistan – but afterwards, this intensified terribly. That’s why Afghanistan is number one on the Open Doors World Watch List for the first time in its history.
“The Taliban are conducting a door-to-door search to find us,” says Gulshan – ‘us’ being any of the country’s small number of Christians. “God alone knows who has informed them about the whereabouts and identities of the believers. If they find us, they kill believers on the spot.” Gulshan has relatives who were killed in this way, and her Christian neighbours have disappeared. She hopes and prays that they are safe somewhere.
Many Christians were among Afghans who fled the country last year, and a significant number of these brave brothers and sisters are finding support from Open Doors partners in neighbouring countries. Others have stayed – either by choice, or because they aren’t able to leave.
“It is our great desire to join with our brothers and sisters and worship God together, but now this is not possible,” says Gulshan. “We can only meet our pastor in the dead of night, so no one can identify him or us.”
There is also a humanitarian crisis in the country, with desperate food shortages. “We live in fear that either the Taliban will come for us or we will die of hunger. For the last three days, my entire family has been surviving on one bowl of lentil soup. I don’t know how to continue to take care of my family as the lentils are about to finish.”
Despite everything she is risking, Gulshan knows that she is following a faithful God. “Our faith is in Christ, and will remain so until our last breath. Dear God, help us to find a straight and smooth path in our lives.”
Knowing that you are praying for Afghan Christians like her makes an enormous difference for Gulshan. “I know that my Jesus and yours is one,” she says. “Through prayer, we are united as we are the body of Christ. May the Lord make you aware of our pain.
“We are assured that our united prayers in Christ are the solution.”
*Name changed for security reasons
Learn more about Afghanistan and other countries on the Open Doors World Watch List 2022 top 50 with your free Top 50 booklet – find detailed information, testimonies and prayer requests to help connect you to your persecuted church family.
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