(Voice of the Persecuted) You are invited to join us on Tuesday August 10, 2021 in a prayer conference call for the persecuted church hosted by Persecution Watch.
AFGHANISTAN: Population: 34,124,811 Religion: Muslim 99.7% (Sunni 84.7-89.7%, Shia 10-15%), other 0.3%
Thoughts of Afghanistan bring images of war, violence, and terror. In the face of decades of suffering, it can be easy to forget the many people who live this reality day after day. Seventy-seven people groups, both tribal and nomadic, dot the beautiful Afghan countryside. This diversity is also shown in landscapes that vary from grassy and arid mountainous regions, to plains with lush valleys, and even cities like Kabul with bustling open air markets. Though their history is plagued by instability, the unique culture of Afghanistan continues to thrive.
The Afghan people have suffered greatly from over thirty years of conflict both from internal factions and external groups. A devastating civil war, followed by the oppressive rule of the Taliban, an extremist Islamic group, has created a society where over half the population has known nothing but war. These conflicts left over a million dead, an estimated four million children orphaned, and approximately 2.5 million refugees. Even though the Taliban was driven out and a democratic government established (2002-2004), corruption remains rampant, and the still-prominent Taliban and tribal warlords continue to destabilize the nation.
The government has struggled to rebuild its infrastructure and continues to rely heavily on foreign aid. With one of the world’s lowest living standards, most live in poverty, and over half lack access to clean water. Additionally, Afghanistan’s destructive opium production rate is the highest in the world. These harsh conditions contribute to a life expectancy of only fifty years and a population where 40% are under the age of fourteen.
Under the oppressive Taliban reign (1996-2001), girls were often forced to marry as children, could not receive an education or be employed, were required to wear a full burqa in public, and could not leave the house unless accompanied by a male chaperone. Though conditions for women have improved, they remain a particularly vulnerable part of society. With recent events, the Taliban has been advancing and reclaiming their control in the nation.
One of the least reached nations on earth, Afghanistan is 99.9% Muslim with 72 unreached people groups. There are roughly 48,000 mosques and zero church buildings. Afghanistan is one of the world’s most persecuted nations, where any belief contrary to Islam is illegal. Converting from Islam to Christianity can result in death, and believers gather and worship in secret. Yet extremist violence has caused many Muslims to question their faith.
Though impossible to document, it is undeniable that the Church is growing, and Muslims are turning to Christ. Some have encountered Jesus in dreams and visions; others have heard the Gospel through Christian radio. Christian relief agencies also manifest the love of God through meeting the nation’s immense physical needs. Some of these humanitarian workers have even died as martyrs. But amid great persecution, there are perhaps several thousand believers in Afghanistan today!
Dear Prayer Warriors, please take time to watch this video to prepare your heart to pray for the people of Afghanistan.
- Pray for appropriate and expedient solutions to ongoing threats of violence.
- Pray for Afghans who are seeking Truth to boldly embrace a new identity in Christ.
- Pray for protection over Afghan believers and perseverance despite suffering.
- Continue in our prayer as the Father will lead us.
We will also remember these dear ones:
Leah Sharibu and Alice that they will be set free from Boko Haram captivity.
- Leah Sharibu was kidnapped along with 109 other students on February 19, 2018 when Boko Haram attacked a boarding school in the city of Dapchi, Maiduguri Diocese, in north-eastern Nigeria. A month later, some of the girls died in captivity and all the others were released, except Leah. She was the only Christian in the group.
- Alice Loksha Ngaddah was kidnapped during the Rann attack on March 1, 2018. She was a nurse working with Unicef and is a mother of two.
- Pastor Wang Yi to be released from prison, for his family, the children, and the church in China.
- Anita an Iranian Christian, persecuted by the Islamic regime seeking asylum.
- Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani from Iran, for his release and his family as their persecution continues. At present he is serving his six-year sentence.
- The Harvest – “And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” Luke 10:2
The Lord’s servant,
Nadia Dybvik, Persecution Watch Prayer Conference Call Leader
Prayer Conference Call Details
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What is Persecution Watch?
Persecution Watch is a U.S. national prayer conference call ministry that prays specifically for the global Persecuted Church. For over a decade, Blaine Scogin led this national network of believers who faithfully pray for the persecuted and the global harvest for the Kingdom of God. The group meets via a free call-in service every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday night at 9pm Eastern time in the United States (please check your time zone). Blaine also served as Prayer Director for Voice of the Persecuted, and the missions became one. Brother Blaine passed into glory on December 26, 2019. It was truly a blessing for all of us to serve alongside this dear man of God and he will be greatly missed. The prayer mission of Persecution Watch remains an important part of our mission. Voice of the Persecuted is committed to continue the prayer conference call for the persecuted along with the dedicated Persecution Watch prayer warrior team.
Prior to the passing of Brother Blaine, he confirmed the passing of the torch as prayer conference call leader to Nadia Dybvik. Nadia has a burdened heart for the persecuted and is a prayer warrior standing in the gap for them. She joined the Persecution Watch prayer team in 2013 and has been part of the core ever since. Before becoming the prayer call leader, she served in the role of prayer moderator since 2015. Blaine chose Nadia for her faithfulness to pray for the persecuted and her strong commitment to the Persecution Watch mission. We are blessed not only with her gift of prayer, but her genuine love for every brother and sister in Christ that comes on the call to pray. May the Lord continue to bless Nadia and the prayer team in the mission and their personal lives.
“Pray for us” is the number one request that we hear from the persecuted. As the members of the first century Church were moved by the Holy Spirit to pray, we too must continue to serve those suffering persecution by lifting them up to the Lord through prayer.
On occasion, persecuted brothers and sisters have been invited on the conference call to share the trials they are facing. The team serves to encourage them by washing their feet in Spirit led prayer. Time is often reserved for those on the call to ask questions. We believe this helps to gain a better understanding of the situation that persecuted Christians endure in their specific nations. Q&A also helps us to focus our prayers based on their current needs.
Persecution Watch also hosts callers who want to pray united from other nations. If your heart is perplexed by the sufferings of our persecuted brothers and sisters, you no longer need to pray alone.
We welcome all who desire to pray for the persecuted church and consider it a joy to pray together with you. If you are new to the call and cannot find your voice, listen in and pray silently or on mute. We are grateful and thank the Lord for bringing us all together to pray in agreement for our persecuted family in Christ. We can all be prayer warriors on this call!
God bless and protect you in your faithfulness to serve.
Lois Kanalos, Founder, Voice of the Persecuted, Nadia Dybvik, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Leader and the Persecution Watch Prayer Team
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Note to Voice of the Persecuted (VOP) readers: The Persecution Watch prayer team is also the prayer team of Voice of the Persecuted. SIGN UP today.