Afghanistan is one of the most dangerous nations in the world to follow Jesus. Following the Taliban's takeover of the country in August 2021, the dangers have only gotten worse. Openly following Christianity and other religions or even attempting to share about it in this Muslim majority nation can result in people facing fines, prison time, or even death. Consequences are even more severe for Afghan nationals who convert from Islam to Christianity, as it's considered blasphemous.
Despite the difficult situations and the consequences that could follow, the Church in Afghanistan is still very much alive, well, and thriving. Global Catalytic Ministries and those they partner with continue to further the gospel of Jesus Christ within the country.
GCM published a press release on August 15, 2022, the first anniversary of the Taliban takeover. They shared that
"over the last year they were able to extract over 3,000 individuals, providing them with food, shelter, and safety. One leader has seen over 5,000 people have a power encounter with Jesus, giving their lives to Christ. He is baptizing over 60 people at a time, sometimes with a simple water bottle."
In an effort to practically support the people of Afghanistan, GCM continues to raise funds to provide food, coal, and wood, etc. to keep people alive especially during the harsh winter months. GCM has partnered with churches and individuals to get the needed funding to continue supporting believers and unbelievers alike within Afghanistan's border.
" 'Our efforts to bring hope and resources to the people of Afghanistan continue a year into the Taliban regime, and it wouldn’t be possible without the generosity of our supporters,' states Richardson. 'These precious people are grateful for every prayer and donation. They not only help physically, but spiritually as well, allowing them to share the love and peace of Christ with their Muslim brothers and sisters.' " (excerpt from GCM Press Release).
Partner with GCM in their mission to make disciples in the hardest and darkest places here.
As previously discussed, there are a multitude of organizations around the world that seek to further spread the message of Jesus. In certain parts of the world, this is very much illegal and believers continually disobey the rules and laws established by their governments. A few years ago, there was a documentary released that explores the rapid growth of the underground church in hostile regions like this, and specifically looks at the nation of Iran.
Home to the fastest growing church in the world today, Iran's underground church movement is predominately led by women. There is a movement inside of Iran and Jesus is coming to the people in dreams, visions, and power encounters. As a result, the regime is losing control of its people as they begin to fall in love with Israel's messiah, Jesus.
Throughout the film, there are numerous interviews with Iranian believers as they share very moving testimonies of how they met Jesus and how He continues to work in their lives. In addition to that, Sheep Among Wolves explores the differences between the church in the East and the church in the West. The East is seeing rapid growth and the West is not. What are the methods of discipleship that the East is using and how might we in the West be able to learn from them?
The Sheep Among Wolves film also highlights the difference between the reality of normal Iranian life and what is portrayed in the media. Oftentimes, westerners assume that many Iranians are hostile toward the west and share the government's radical views. However, the film talks about the reality that a small percentage of religious and governmental leaders are actually the ones who control the image through the media. Iranians are actually leading "a quiet but mass exodus out of Islam."
Volumes one and two of the Sheep Among Wolves documentaries were released by FAI Studios, founded by Dalton Thomas. The first installment of Sheep Among Wolves was released in 2016, with volume two being released in 2019. You can find both of these films, along with other works from FAI Studios, for free on their YouTube channel.
To watch Sheep Among Wolves Vol. 2, click here.
The final words Jesus spoke to His followers before His ascension are known as the "Great Commission." This is when Jesus famously charged His followers to, "Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age."
Over the many decades and centuries since that time, there have been various missions initiatives established to further the Gospel of Jesus. Christians are not the only ones who establish organizations and send out missionaries; there are many other religions that do something similar in efforts to spread their beliefs. Today though, we are focusing on talking about Christian missions and specifically Christians who focus on sharing the Gospel with Jewish people.
Jesus was of course, a Jew and Christians look to that heritage as what they have now been "grafted into" using the language of the apostle Paul. In the days of Jesus, many of the religious leaders wrote Him off believing Him to be at best a prophet, at worst a blasphemer and child of the devil. Still today, there is a lot of misunderstanding and confusion in the Jewish community about who Jesus really is. Christians believe the words of Jesus, that He really is the only way, truth, and life and so they desire to see Jews, the people of Jesus, come into salvation and accept Him as Messiah.
To this end, there are Christian missions organizations directed specifically to reaching the Jewish community. In 1996, a ministry called Apple of His Eye was established. Its main goal is to proclaim Jesus as the Messiah to Jewish and non-Jewish people. The organization seeks to accomplish this by opening places of worship and evangelizing in areas with large Jewish populations.
In its beginnings, the organization created homemade gospel tracts. Written tracts have been around for many, many years and were typically religious. In recent years, these gospel tracts are usually brief pamphlets that are given to people or left in busy places. Apple of His Eye has written over 120 new gospel tracts, and over 600,000 have been distributed.
Steve Cohen is currently the head of the organization, and his wife Nancy leads the women’s ministry. A board of directors oversees the actions and finances of the organization and there are also a number of other staff members. Apple of His Eye offers various outreach opportunities for anyone who desires to become involved in any capacity. The organization also offers up to two-week mission trips. The organization's staff team gives all of the necessary training, and there is no requirement of religious affiliation or experience with missions.
This is just one example of many, many different missions organizations around the world. As Keith Green wrote so famously in one of his songs, "Jesus commands us to go, it should be the exception if we stay."