Fear and hopelessness are casting a shadow over the lives of people living in Afghanistan. Many Christians – afraid of discovery by the country’s new rulers – have gone into hiding and avoid even the secret meetings with other believers that some attended previously. Responding to this great need, SAT-7 has filmed a new discipleship series designed to help seekers and new believers find and grow stronger in their faith in Christ and in knowledge of His presence and guidance in every situation they face.
“The situation is beyond description. Oppression has covered our country,” Afarin, a mother from Afghanistan, shared with the SAT-7 PARS viewer support team. “I am the only believer in my family. Please pray that the Lord will protect me from evil because if [the Taliban] find out [that I am a believer] they will cut me and my children to pieces for my apparent ‘blasphemy’.”
Noorullah Noor, an Afghan assistant pastor living in Germany, has been receiving similar distress calls from Christians in Afghanistan. He has been supporting them through weekly live Facebook broadcasts. But now, working with SAT-7 PARS, he has the opportunity to reach all the Dari-speaking viewers of SAT-7’s Persian channel through his new 13-part programme, Following Christ.
“One of my greatest tasks on the programme is to convey to our viewers that they are not alone, that they have not been forgotten, but that they are being prayed for,” Noor explains.
Assistant Pastor Noorullah empathises with what people in Afghanistan are experiencing now. He grew up in Afghanistan and fled the country when the Taliban came to power in the early 1990s. Back then, Noor, like many other young people in Afghanistan, was growing more interested in Christianity. However, Noor did not become a Christian until 1997 while living in Europe. His life changed completely, and he became involved in ministry to Afghans through his church.
“My life would have been different if I had become a Christian in Afghanistan,” reflects Noor, acknowledging the hardships that face many Afghans. “People have not only lost hope, but they have also lost their jobs, and with it their whole lives. They have nothing left.”
“If the Taliban are allowed to hold power, the future of Afghanistan is bleak because their customs and laws do not help develop the country. Afghan children have no hope for the future when they are deprived of the opportunity to study,” Noor says gravely.
Armineh*, a 16-year-old girl in Afghanistan, echoes Noor’s concerns for the future in her letter to SAT-7 PARS:
“When I consider the limitations that will be put in place by the new regime… I do not see a bright future here for myself or for any Afghan girls. We must be trapped in a chador [burqa], only able to peer through a small opening, as though through the bars of a prison window, and somehow live our lives.”
Only God can bring peace
“People do not have the power to bring peace to Afghanistan, only God can,” asserts Noorullah Noor.
For him, it is a priority not only to help Afghans find a personal faith in Christ, but to equip them as strong believers who can also serve as Bible teachers in the future. Strong faith is needed especially now, in the midst of persecution.
With this in mind, Following Christ covers key foundations of Christian faith, starting with creation and humanity’s fall into sin, and continuing through salvation in Christ to serving Him, recognising the spiritual battle believers are engaged in, evangelism and serving the local body of believers.
Although the dangers Afghan Christians face are real, the programmes aired on SAT-7 are helping them to stand firm. Iman*, a male viewer in Afghanistan, sent in the following poem amid the challenges he faces today:
My feet shall never wander from Your courts, even in thought
If You choose to receive me or cause me to depart
And if You were to raise me up or bring me down to earth,
Neither will I take offence, nor will You turn away.
I will not be blinded to your ever-gracious ways,
From the lowly beggar, You will not withhold Your gaze.
I will not seek another should Your door stay closed to me
But like a beggar by a road, at Your gate will I stay.
No one will I seek but You and I will not depart
Let Your gate be opened, where my only haven is found.
- Intercede for people in Afghanistan – that they will find hope for the future and experience peace in the midst of fear.
- Please pray that the Dari programme Following Christ will be an encouragement to viewers and that God will use it to establish and strengthen believers in faith.
- Ask that God will continue to give Pastor Noorullah Noor words of hope and healing for the Afghans he serves in person and through media.
- Give thanks for SAT-7 PARS partner ministry Media Mission the Messengers and director Mikael Tunér who filmed this series in a Christian TV studio in Finland.
*Name changed for security