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Afghanistan: Amidst violent extremism, Miracles

(MNN) — In Afghanistan, activists live in constant danger, especially women. Some have been killed after being lured by messages on social media promising to help them escape the country.

Tragedy and repentance

Greg Kelley with World Mission has spoken to local Christians in Afghanistan. He says one Christian activist was captured and executed by the Taliban themselves.

But then something remarkable happened. “This Taliban leader, who was overseeing this tragedy, had a dream. He was utterly convicted about what had happened. Because at the end of the day, even the Taliban understand these people are really innocent. And he knew he had just viciously killed an innocent woman. He was told in a dream to go to the victim’s family, who would help him receive peace.”

He met the woman’s husband, who was a pastor. Amazingly, the husband forgave him for what he had done. Kelley says, “But he said, ‘More importantly than my forgiveness, you can receive peace in your heart, that will come through forgiveness in Jesus Christ.’ He prayed with this man and led him to Christ. Now this man is being discipled in the truth and knowledge of Jesus.”

Guns silenced

Kelley tells another story he heard from inside the country about a Christian woman and her daughter. They wanted to flee the country, but the Taliban found them. “They told her to get down on her knees. They were going to execute her. The Taliban leader grabbed a gun, put it to her head, and he pulled the trigger. Nothing happened.”

In fact, Kelley says none of the firearms in the room would work. The Taliban became terrified and fled.

Pray God would change hearts among the Taliban and other extremists in Afghanistan. And ask Him to comfort Christians who have lost loved ones to violent extremism.

The header photo shows Afghan refugees who made it to India. (Photo courtesy of World Mission on Facebook)

Despite severe persecution, a Historic Christian Revival is taking place in Iran!

5543-iran_220w_tnAs many in the West call for military action against the nation of Iran, Joel Richardson claims an unparalleled, historical Christian revival is sweeping through the ancient land of Persia with both speed and intensity.

Joel claims, daily stories of miracles, supernatural encounters, transformed lives, and baptisms, are reported on a magnificent scale. More Iranians have come to Christ in the past 30 years than in the prior 1400 years combined! The 2013 Operation World prayer manual lists the growth of Christianity in Iran as leading the entire world with approx. 20% annual growth. This means that believers in Jesus Christ in Iran is doubling every four years. Imagine the changes to the region if this revival continues!

It is extremely difficult to send Christian missionaries into Iran. Since 1979, Christian missionary organizations have been banned by the Islamic government. Iranian Christians face increasingly severe political and religious persecution if they are caught participating in open evangelism or worship. The capacity of satellite television, the internet, and other media are the means by which the Gospel is reaching into the nation. There is now a window of opportunity the Western Church must recognize. No one knows how long this window will truly remain open or how long it will be before the present government becomes desperate enough to take more extreme measures. The imprisonment of Pastor Saeed Abedini and others reveal the regime continues torturing Christians and threatening them with death. Iran is listed #8 on the Open Doors World Watch List where Christian persecution is most severe.

When one meets many Iranians both Christians and Muslims, something stands out. Basically, the Iranian people are a very sweet, gentle and humble people. Due to the aggression of the current Islamic government, the impression often in the Western media is that all Iranians are similarly combative and given to a belligerent form of Islamism. Simply this is not the truth. It is essential the Church body recognize that after 33 years of living under the oppression of the present Islamic Revolution, the Iranian people are deeply burdened, emotionally exhausted, yet spiritually hungry. The heart of the people of Iran is in transition. Many Iranians turn to drugs and alcohol (Iran has the highest rate of drug addiction in the Middle East). Many others, while turning away from the empty religion of their youth, are crying out to their creator for a response. He is answering them!

As in other areas of the Middle East, we hear amazing testimonies coming out of Iran! Many Muslims are coming to faith through miraculous spiritual encounters, visions or dreams. The following story took place during Joel’s most recent visit with Iran Alive Ministries, it is a wonderful example of how God is working among the Persian people. At the conclusion of each live broadcast, Pastor Hormuz, the host of the show, takes call-ins. This time, a woman called to share a dream, asking if we could help her understand it. In her dream, she was standing on the roof of her home with her grandson looking up at the night sky. There amidst the stars, appeared three large clocks. As she and her grandson together gazed in wonderment at the clocks, her attention was suddenly turned to a large wedding gathering down below. Then, as she was pondering this large celebration, a man suddenly appeared in the sky and quickly began to descend to the earth. Following this man was a very large train of people. Suddenly everyone, both those at the wedding and those with the man, together began to shout, “The Bridegroom has arrived!” The woman finished recalling her dream and asked if we might know what it could mean.

Of course, anyone who is familiar with the Bible is likely familiar with the many Scriptural references to Jesus as “the bridegroom” (Matt. 9:15; 25:1,5,6,10; Luke 5:35; John 3:29) who at the end of the age returns from Heaven (Rev. 19:11) for his people to gather them together to celebrate the “marriage supper of the lamb” (Rev. 19:9). “As the woman asked what this dream could mean, and I realized that she had no idea, it was a powerful moment.”

“The Lord is revealing Himself to the Iranian people. What are we doing to partner with Him in His work?” In the Gospel of John, chapter 4, Jesus counseled and even warned his disciples not to remain ignorant regarding the abundant harvest that was ripe for the picking, right before their eyes. Having seen with my own eyes the great harvest that the Lord has prepared, I pray that every Christian who reads this brief report will also recognize the opportunity before us and eagerly join with what God is doing in the nation of Iran through earnest prayer and generous support.”

joelrichadsonJoel Richardson, is foremost an ambassador of Jesus Christ, a husband and a father committed to the pro-life and adoption movements. He is an artist, human rights activist, New York Times Bestselling author, internationally recognized speaker and regular columnist for WND. Joel has a long history of outreach to the Muslim community and has a passion to see Muslims come to Christ. Joel has been also featured on, or written for numerous radio, television and news outlets across the world. To learn more about what Joel is doing, visit his website.

For decades, a phenomenon has been recurring in the Muslim world. Men and women without any knowledge of the Gospel and without any contact with Christians have been forever transformed after experiencing dreams and visions of Jesus Christ. Reports of these supernatural occurrences often come from what are called “closed countries” where preaching the Gospel is forbidden and where converting to Christianity can invoke the death sentence. A common denominator appears to be that the dreams come to those who are seeking to know and please God. Each time I hear these stories, I am in awe of our Lord! Our God’s not dead He’s surely ALIVE and He’s roaring like a LION! He’s living on the inside…Is He asking you to MOVE? Please pray for our Iranian Christian brothers and sisters and those that persecute them. Pray their hearts are softened and that they come to our Lord!

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