Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Taliban's grip on Afghanistan threatens ministries

Afghanistan-The Taliban executed a Christian aid worker in Afghanistan on Monday.Tom Doyle with E3 Partners explains,"There's been a resurgence with the Taliban.Some believers have actually been escaping into Iran. Wherever we went in Afghanistan, we just sensed that there was so much more tension."Gayle Williams, a 34-year-old British national, had been working with handicapped Afghans for two years with SERVE Afghanistan. "Here you have someone like Gayle Williams who is just helping the people,not out there evangelizing,and they kill her.The Taliban is claiming 'proselytizing.'"Afghanistan is a conservative Islamic nation. Proselytizing is prohibited by law, and other Christian missionaries or charities have faced severe hostility. However, SERVE Afghanistan rejected the charge of preaching and said it believed the claim was opportunistic. The group's Web page says the charity has been working with Afghan refugees since 1980 in Pakistan, explaining that "SERVE Afghanistan's purpose is to express God's love and bring hope by serving the people of Afghanistan, especially the needy, as we seek to address personal, social and environmental needs."The murder exacts a high price: life or death for those who can least afford the latter. The Afghanistan aid agency which employed Williams has stopped operations and may pull out altogether.Doyle says he met Williams during his visit in Afghanistan two weeks ago.Her murder has sent shock waves through the Christian community there.Workers and those in other forms of ministry are close, and they won't be intimidated into silence.However, Williams' death has a clear message from the Taliban: "You're not welcome here.""Bottom line is that it is dangerous out there," agrees Doyle. "We don't want to see ministries do things foolishly and be put in harm's way. But on the other hand, we want to make sure the work continues, so there's a tension there. We just really need prayer from the body for the leaders there to know when to pull back and when to move forward."
--Pray that Christians in Afghanistan will be able to stand for their faith, despite the small numbers, and that they will reach out to those around them with the Gospel of Christ.

--Pray that teams continue to act as the living Gospel.
--Pray that God protects those in service.

As in the days of Noah....

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