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Bold Believers in Afghanistan

Bold Believers in Afghanistan

Very few countries have lower life expectancies than Afghanistan (women: 51 years; men: 48 years). Most Afghans have short, harsh lives and many never learn the truth about Jesus.

But bold Christian believers are working to change things! Afghans are hearing the good news of Jesus while living in other countries as refugees, or from Christian radio programs broadcast from outside of Afghanistan. After giving their lives to Christ, the new Christians look for ways to share the truth with other Afghans.

Read more about Afghanistan’s courageous Christians in Bold Believers in Afghanistan, available for free download in the Downloads section of this website.

The color photos, true stories, activities games, recipes, and country facts in the book can help you learn about past and current believers in a country that is often in the news.


Snack and Share

Baklava

Baklava is a treat enjoyed by children in many countries, including Iran. Try the recipe below. Can you share the treat with a Sunday school class or group and tell them about Christians in Iran? Read the post Iranian Date Snack to learn how to make another Iranian snack.

Persian Baklava
Syrup Ingredients:
3 cups sugar
1½ cups water
2 tbsp. lemon juice

Filling Ingredients
4 cups chopped almonds
¼ cup sugar
¼ tsp. cardamom

Additional Ingredients
1 box phyllo dough (24 sheets)
1 stick melted butter

Instructions

  1. Make the syrup first so it can cool. Over low heat, stir together the sugar, water, and lemon juice until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to medium, and cook without stirring about 5 more minutes until the mixture is a little syrupy.
  2. In a separate bowl, stir together the filling ingredients.
  3. Follow the instructions on the phyllo dough box about working with the dough. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13-inch-by-9-inch baking pan. Put one sheet of phyllo in the pan and brush lightly with melted butter. Repeat with five to seven more phyllo sheets. Spread half the filling on top of the stack. Repeat the process with six to eight more sheets and the rest of the filling. Top with six to eight more buttered sheets.
  4. Use a sharp knife to cut six lengthwise strips through the top six to eight sheets of phyllo. The strips will be about 1¾ inches apart. Then cut 1½-inch diagonal strips across the lengthwise strips.
  5. Sprinkle the top sheet with cold water. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 300 degrees, and bake about 15 more minutes until golden brown.
  6. Cut through the lengthwise and diagonal lines all the way to the bottom of the baklava. Pour the cooled syrup over the hot baklava and let it cool for at least 4 hours before cutting into the squares and serving.

Image credit: Kultigin/Wikipedia


The Gospel in the Desert

March VOM
Whatever It Takes: Delivering God’s Word to Hostile Nations

Jesus said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…” (See Matthew 28:19.)

But some nations have bad roads, or even no roads at all in some areas. The governments of some countries have laws against, “making disciples” for Christ. Other countries do not allow Christians to bring Bibles to their citizens.

So Christians float balloons carrying Scriptures into North Korea. Missionaries drop Bibles in small parachutes out of planes over Colombia.

Christian broadcasters send the gospel by radio into Afghanistan from countries outside of Afghanistan. Christians in other Muslim countries receive encouragement from Bibles and hymns on MP3 players, or from cell phone text messages.

One of the ways Christians are reaching people in desert areas is not new. They are traveling on donkeys and camels! The animals carry Bibles and other Christian books to groups who live far away from other people. Some people in the groups have not yet heard the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Can you think of any new ways to reach people with the Good News of Jesus?


Text Message Fellowship

Text Message

“At that time a great persecution arose against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria….Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word” (Acts 8:1,4).

War and persecution have driven many people from Afghanistan. “Thousands of Afghans now live all over the world,” said a recent report from a VOM contact. As a result, Afghans now help Christians in eight countries produce radio programs to reach other Afghans with the good news of Jesus. (Almost all the people in Afghanistan are Muslims.)

Some Afghan listeners are coming to Christ after listening to the programs. But since so few Afghans are Christians, the new believers often don’t have fellowship with other Christians. “To address this need, we send Bible verses by text messages to listeners,” said the VOM contact. “These texts become their ‘daily bread’. Some tell us they share them with their friends.”

To Think About: What would it be like if none of your friends or neighbors were Christians? What if none of them knew about Christmas, the Bible, or Christian songs? What if you also did not have a church to attend? That is the situation for some Afghan Christians. Pray that God will encourage them in their faith.


Comparing Muslims and Christians in Two Countries

Muslims
Christianity
Number of believers in Afghanistan More than 2 million (Source: Operation World 21st Century Edition) About 3,000 (Source: Operation World 21st Century Edition)
Number of believers in the U.S. Over 4 million (Source: Operation World 21st Century Edition) More than 230 million (Source: Operation World 21st Century Edition)
Number of mosques and churches in Afghanistan Mosques: 48,000 Churches: 0
Number of mosques and churches in the U.S. Mosques: A 2001 study showed there were 1,209 mosques in the U.S. Churches: Approximately 300,000 (Sources include: The World Almanac and Book of Facts and Washington Post)
Beliefs and Practices Although more than 95 percent of the people in Afghanistan are Muslims, many combine Muslim beliefs with traditional folk religion. Folk Muslims often trust in magic, charms, superstitions and powers other than God. More than 80 percent of the people in the U.S. are Christians. About 44 percent of them read the Bible once a week or more. About 43 percent agree strongly that the Bible is accurate in all its teachings. (Source: Barna Research)
Salvation Muslims believe human beings are born sinless. Since they are not fallen by nature, they do not seek a Savior. Without a Savior, they depend on their own good works to please Allah, whom they worship. They hope Allah will let them into paradise when they die if they have done more good works than bad works, but they can’t be sure. “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned” (Romans 5:12). “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8,9). (See also John 3:16.)