29 November, 2022

From Brokenness to Breakthrough: Afghanistan, One Year Later

by | 8 September, 2022 | 2 comments

By Doug Lucas 

Like many others, my heart ached for the people of Afghanistan as our troops hastily departed that nation during the fateful days of early August 2021. We shook our heads in horror as we witnessed Afghans clinging to the landing gear of military transports hoping to escape the chaos there. In my 44 years serving as a missionary with Team Expansion, I have learned this: Whenever I’m tempted to say, “Somebody should do something,” I instantly force myself to pray, “Lord, what would you have me do?” 

It was Monday, Aug. 16, when I prayed that prayer. The following day, Team Expansion’s communications team forwarded a request from Christian Standard asking that we pull together a brief article regarding the possible impact these events might have on the Afghan church. By this time, all of our workers had already evacuated from Afghanistan. I had no idea what to write, but I realized this article might be part of the answer to my recent prayer.  

On Aug. 17, while taking part in a monthly, daylong prayer meeting at Team Expansion’s home base in Louisville, Ky., a message came through from one of our closest and best church partners, Christ’s Church of the Valley (Peoria, Ariz.). Their outreach director said simply, “If you do something for Afghanistan, we will help.” I felt a huge lump in my throat. I realized God was prompting us to step forward. So, we took the leap. 

BROKENNESS 
Afghanistan was broken. Chaos reigned in Kabul. I recalled an Afghan believer I had met inside that country some 20 years earlier. He had been a mover and a shaker. Of course, I had no idea what had happened to him in the intervening decades, but I began working our channels. Amazingly, by 2 p.m., he had returned my call, and we were celebrating memories from Kabul so long ago. He was still very active and was already trying to help.  

Over the next couple of days, we prayed hard, brainstormed, and formed partnerships. Within weeks, amazingly, churches and individuals had chipped in nearly half a million dollars to make a difference in the lives of broken people in Central Asia. Much of this came about through the online article published by Christian Standard. 

BREAKTHROUGH 
We went to work, but we had no idea just how profoundly God would act. In the 20 years or so after Afghanistan gained freedom from warlords’ rule (from 2001 until 2021), the Christian Churches and Churches of Christ might have seen a few dozen people come to faith in Kabul. We were thankful for that success. (Obviously, numerous other believers came to faith there through the efforts of other Christian faith groups.) But we have been surprised and amazed that in the 12 months since our troops’ rushed departure in those heart-wrenching days of August 2021, God has raised up more than 100 families in a Christian network that defies anything previously known among Afghans.  

These families are serious about their faith. They make up a strong movement that wants to multiply believers and groups. Many have already been baptized. Others are still waiting for their chance. Together, more than 1,000 people have decided to make Jesus their Lord and are gathering weekly to worship him. Even as I write these words, I find it difficult to comprehend. This can only be described as one of the greatest miracles of our day. 

WHAT SATAN MEANT FOR EVIL . . . 
In Genesis 50:20, Joseph was trying to make sense out of the topsy-turvy life he had led. Speaking to the brothers who sold him into slavery, he told them they meant to do something evil, but “God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” This situation reminds me of that. Satan surely thought he was gaining so much territory—and in many ways, he did sow confusion and suffering. But today, much of that chaos has given way to awakening and hopefulness. 

THE WAY FORWARD 
Of course, God alone knows the future, but a key way we can help the burgeoning Afghan church is to pray for its protection. As this movement grows, some will want to stamp it out. There will be physical and spiritual challenges (Ephesians 6:10-20). But beyond the impact on Christian believers, the oppression in Afghanistan is impacting all people, regardless of religion. Everyone is suffering. It is incumbent on us to pray like never before for protection for believers, multiplication of groups, and growth for the kingdom—so it can be salt and light for all. 

Of course, as long as tyrants are in charge within Afghanistan, it will be difficult to live for Christ there. So, for now, Afghans will continue to need assistance from outsiders—until freedom comes again to Afghanistan through one form or another. Team Expansion has forged a three-year plan and budgeted as best we can, but needs have been greater than we ever imagined. If ever there were an example of a place where God is working, it is Afghanistan. Now, more than ever, we need to join him. (Those feeling moved by God to help multiply the impact can go to www.TeamExpansion.org/Afghanistan to learn more, pray, and/or give.) 

Finally, if you are fortunate enough to ever meet face-to-face with immigrants from Afghanistan, speak with them, encourage them, pray for them, and, if possible, help them. For many, brokenness has given way to breakthrough. And thank you to the many people who have helped make this dream a reality through their sacrificial giving and heartfelt prayers! 

Doug Lucas serves as president of Team Expansion. 

Christian Standard

Contact us at cs@christianstandardmedia.com

2 Comments

  1. Stephen Edwards

    Crying and rejoicing, praying and giving. Thank you for keeping us informed on part of God’s story in Afghanistan.

  2. Wesley Paddock

    Thanks for sharing, Doug Lucas. You are a man of vision and commitment. God’s blessings be with your efforts.

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