From rupture to breakthrough: Afghanistan, one year later

By Doug Lucas

Like many others, my heart sank for the people of Afghanistan as our troops rushed out of this country during the fateful days of early August 2021. We shook our heads in horror as we saw Afghans clinging to the train landing military transports in hopes of escaping the chaos there. In my 44 years of service as a missionary with Team Expansion, I have learned this: Whenever I am tempted to say, “Someone should do something,” I instantly force myself to pray, “Lord , what would you have me do?”

It was Monday, August 16, when I said this prayer. The next day, Team Expansion’s communications team sent a request for Christian standard requesting that we write a brief article regarding the possible impact these events may have on the Afghan church. By then, all of our workers had already evacuated from Afghanistan. I didn’t know what to write, but I realized that this article might be part of the answer to my recent prayer.

On August 17, while attending a one-day monthly prayer meeting at Team Expansion headquarters in Louisville, Kentucky, a message came from one of our best and closest church partners. , Christ’s Church of the Valley (Peoria, Arizona). ). Their Outreach Director simply said, “If you do something for Afghanistan, we will help you. I felt a huge lump in my throat. I realized that God was pushing us forward. So we took the leap.

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

Over the next two days, we prayed a lot, reflected and formed partnerships. Within weeks, amazingly, churches and individuals had contributed nearly half a million dollars to make a difference in the lives of broken people in Central Asia. This happened largely thanks to the online article published by Christian standard.

We went to work, but we had no idea how deeply God would work. In the 20 years since Afghanistan’s liberation from warlord rule (from 2001 to 2021), Christian Churches and Churches of Christ may have seen a few dozen people become believers in Kabul. We were grateful for this success. (Obviously, many other believers have come to faith there through the efforts of other Christian faith groups.) But we have been surprised and amazed that in the 12 months since the hasty departure of our troops in these heartbreaking days of August 2021, God has lifted over 100 families into a Christian network that defies anything Afghans have known before.

These families are serious about their faith. They form 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 come together weekly to worship him. Even as I write these words, I find it hard to understand. It can only be described as one of the greatest miracles of our times.

In Genesis 50:20, Joseph was trying to make sense of the topsy-turvy life he had led. Addressing the brothers who sold him into slavery, he told them that they intended to do something wrong, but “God willed it for the good of accomplishing what is being be done, the salvation of many lives”. This situation reminds me of that. Satan surely thought he was gaining so much territory – and in many ways he caused confusion and suffering. But today, much of that chaos has given way to awakening and hope.

Of course, only God knows the future, but one of the main ways to help the burgeoning Afghan Church is to pray for its protection. As this movement grows, some will want to eradicate it. There will be physical and spiritual challenges (Ephesians 6:10-20). But beyond the impact on Christian believers, the oppression in Afghanistan has an impact everybodywhatever the religion. Everybody suffers. It behooves us to pray as never before for the protection of believers, the multiplication of groups, and the growth of the kingdom, that it may be salt and light for all.

Of course, as long as tyrants are in charge in Afghanistan, it will be difficult to live there for Christ. So, for now, Afghans will continue to need outside help, until freedom returns to Afghanistan in one form or another. Team Expansion forged a three-year plan and budgeted as best we could, but the needs were greater than we ever imagined. If there was ever an example of where God is working, it is Afghanistan. Now, more than ever, we must join him. (Those who feel moved by God to help multiply the impact can go to to learn more, pray and/or donate.)

Finally, if you have the chance to meet immigrants from Afghanistan in person, talk with them, encourage them, pray for them and, if possible, help them. For many, the break has given way to the breakthrough. And thank you to the many people who helped make this dream a reality through their sacrificial gifts and heartfelt prayers!

Doug Lucas is president of Team Expansion.

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