When Greece’s largest migrant camp burnt down on 9 September, recently converted Afghan and Iranian Christians in the camp used their own money to buy and distribute emergency provisions.
Yaser, an Afghan Christian who regularly visited the Moria camp on the island of Lesbos, told SAT-7 programme Secret of Life how the new believers prepared and took food to those they knew before a full-scale United Nations programme was in place.
“Dear friends who were new believers and had come to faith in the camp were doing this ministry,” Yaser told Pastor Shoaib, the presenter of Secret of Life.
“They were using their own money – the little aid money they were receiving from the [Greek] government, to help in this way. Thank God for the heart that He has given them.”
Yaser commented on how the camp’s destruction meant that living conditions for Moria’s 13,000 migrants and refugees had become even harder and most were then sleeping in the open. But he added that “With the Lord in their hearts, the Christians have more peace than others”.
An estimated 70 per cent of the Moria residents are Afghans. Shoaib led the Afghan viewers of his Dari language programme in praying for them. In the show’s Bible teaching segment, he explained that the sacrificial giving by the new believers from Moria camp exemplified Jesus’ teaching that His followers are to be the “salt of the earth” and “light of the world”.
Secret of Life is a weekly live programme for Afghan viewers produced by SAT-7 media partner, Pamir Ministries. Recent episodes have also highlighted Afghanistan’s latest peace talks as well as issues of racism raised by the protests in the USA but reflected in Afghanistan’s own racial divisions.
George Floyd protests
Afghan TV viewers saw footage of the death of George Floyd in the USA and the resulting anti-racism protests, Shoaib said. But racism was not limited to one country. With an Iranian guest on a video call, the show explored biblical teaching about human equality and how, according to Galatians 3:28, for Christians there is “neither black nor white, Jew nor Greek”.
Shoaib pointedly referred to the ethnic divisions in Afghanistan when he said “Whether we are Pashtun, Tajik, Hazara, Uzbek or Turkmen, all of us are made one in Jesus Christ”.
As the first Afghan government peace talks with the Taliban in 19 years began last week, the latest programme voiced the hopes of Afghan Christians for the process: “The reaction among us who are followers of Jesus Christ is that we are always advocates for peace and tranquillity… We hope that as a result of these negotiations there will be a ceasefire and that all Afghans will have the right to freely choose their belief or religion – that every Afghan will be able to choose their own belief, faith or way of life.”