WHY WE’RE REALLY HERE
(A Christian Soldier’s Perspective on Afghanistan)
Fighting in Afghanistan is like the sun and sand; it’s always been part of the landscape. The event that drew America in to this continuum of violence took place in 1973, but actually had its genesis in 1958. Then President, Dwight D. Eisenhower, asked the King of Afghanistan to allow the international community to erect a Christian church in Kabul, so Christians would have a place to worship. Twelve years later, in 1970, the King granted that request and allowed construction of the first and to date, only public Christian church in Kabul.
Internationals living and working in Kabul worshiped Christ in that church freely for three years, without persecution. In 1973, under pressure from hard line Mullahs, the King declared that the Christian Church in Kabul must come down, because Afghanistan was an Islamic Republic and allowing “infidels” to practice their religion here was no longer acceptable.
A German business man in the city warned the king if he destroyed the church, his government would be destroyed with it. The king paid no attention and ordered the church razed to the ground. Before the dust from the church settled on the streets of Kabul, that night the King was overthrown in a coup, and his government fell, too, just as the business man had prophesied. This event ushered in a period of war and instability in Afghanistan that continues till now.
God in His infinite wisdom and mercy still had a plan for Afghanistan, despite that door for the Gospel being closed. He said He would make a kingdom of His own from every people, tribe, nation and tongue. In Afghanistan there are seven major ethnic groups, and God has called a remnant from each of them to be His own people, in Christ. Nothing satan or man does will keep this divine proclamation from coming to pass. (Google Search: The Untold Story of Afghanistan)
America played a supporting role in Afghanistan during the Soviet occupation from 1979 to 1989, providing aid and advisors to the Afghans. Then, America watched the rise to power of the Taliban in 1996, culminating with the attacks of September 11, 2001. Within a month after that terrorist strike, US forces were pouring into Afghanistan. In the natural, America was exacting revenge on a terrorist enemy, but in the Spirit, God was again opening a new door for the Gospel, using American and coalition military forces to hold it open. He did the same thing in Iraq in 2003, allowing missionaries to pour into that country as never before.
Currently, there is a coalition of 34 countries with military forces and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in every region, province and districts of Afghanistan, reaching out to this people with the love of God. There are dozens of Christian organizations here, too, many of them operating businesses and social and economic assistance programs, while ministering the Gospel through what I call a ministry of presence, anywhere they can.
It is still illegal to preach the Gospel openly in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, but the Gospel of Jesus Christ is a love story which is unstoppable, and Jesus said giving someone a cup of cold water in His name was a big deal to Him. That’s what many here are doing through so many avenues: demonstrating the love of God through Christ, to the Afghan people.
I have been in Afghanistan for eleven months now, serving as a military mentor to the Afghan security forces and serving our own service members in a coalition headquarters in Kabul. I have met dozens of Christians, some living here, and others just passing through. All of the missionaries I’ve met tell me the same thing: the coalition military forces in Afghanistan are holding open the door for the Gospel in this country. They all say that when the military eventually leaves Afghanistan, they already know by the Spirit that the door will close behind us.
I have heard many stories of miracles in this country. God literally raised a little six year old boy back to life from the dead, right here in Kabul a few months ago. After his mother called two Afghan Christian ladies and asked them to pray over his body. Doctors declared him dead that morning from disease; and as is the custom, the family brought him to the home to lie in state, awaiting burial the next day before sundown. The morning of the funeral, after the Christians had prayed, the mother went in to view her son’s body and he sat up and asked for breakfast.
I heard another story of a Christian man whom the Afghans wrongly imprisoned, and how God worked mightily through his situation, not only to build his faith, as he was a new believer, but to give him opportunities to share his faith with his fellow prisoners who were Muslims. After a few months, God delivered him out of prison unharmed, but not before some of the Muslims had come to faith in Christ.
I have heard other stories of many Afghans seeing visions of a man in a white robe with long hair and a beard, telling them He was the Son of God and instructing them to go to certain people who would tell them about Him. The Lord directed them to missionaries, who explained the man was Jesus shared the Gospel and led them to Christ. God is truly moving in a mighty, supernatural way, here. This is the book of Acts being lived out, here in South West Asia.
At the same time, God is also moving among the American and coalition forces around the country, too. We have had several mighty moves of God’s Holy Spirit in the camp where I live and I’ve heard of revivals at other camps, too. God is indeed alive and well and moving anywhere people will give Him room, regardless of race, gender, or affiliation.
I recently saw news coverage from a huge Christian worship gathering in my home town of Nashville, Tennessee and so many Christians were bashing President Bush over the war in Iraq, and saying our presence there is wrong, and we should pull out and come home now. They were all repeating what the media had said about lies, wasted lives and wasted money. I’m not saying That wasn’t their own heart felt belief, but I’m a Christian too, and I’m living over here, not back in the States, and I see God moving mightily here, everyday. Why would I want to leave?
I recall Jesus once asking, “What would a man give for his soul?” How much are the eternal destinies of the Iraqi and Afghan people worth to American Christians? Are we so dull of understanding, we can’t see the bigger picture and what God is doing in these countries for His Kingdom through our presence here? The Bool of Revelation says we are the ones who “overcame him (satan) by the Blood of the Lamb, and the word of our testimony, and love not our lives to the death.” Was God really talking about us, or not?
Many American Christians don’t seem to understand what is going on in Iraq and Afghanistan and how God can, does and is moving through this conflict to win people’s hearts for His Kingdom. These Muslim countries have their own “Iron Curtains” against the Gospel, and our troops have pierced them and are holding them open for the Gospel to go forth to oppressed peoples. Our prayer should be that our forces hold those doors open till God says to close them, not congress. We need to stop listening to the media and to start listening to the Holy Spirit!
It’s too bad so many Christians are sucked in by what the liberal media is saying and the images they see on the “Communist News Network”, as I call it. Every news outlet has its own agenda, but we seem to, in many cases, just accept anything they say as fact. I know there are many intelligent Christians out there who do research and understand the deeper issues, but these liberal news outlets won’t show you the literally hundreds of new schools, hospitals, roads, public works, government infrastructure and other projects our engineers and many NGOs have completed and are completing in Iraq and Afghanistan. That would be encouraging and show the real progress being made. They will, however, remind you daily of the US body count and ensure you don’t miss one image of blood and carnage from the latest suicide bombing, in order to re-enforce how they think we are “failing”. I tell you, we are not failing!
The “real” truth is that there is much more good going on in these two countries than what is depicted on the TV screens of America, but unless you came to Kabul and see thousands of little girls waling to and from school everyday, who never would have darkened those doors under the Taliban, you don’t understand the impact we’re having, or why Soldier Patriots are willing to lay their lives down for it.
I’m assigned to the Maneuver Support Center at Fort Leonard Wood, MO. And when our current commanding general came out of Iraq, where he served as the Commander, Iraq Engineer District, he told us in the sixteen months he was there they completed more than 1,600 engineering construction projects, rebuilding the infrastructure of Iraq. Where are the good news stories about those accomplishments? Not on CNN, that’s for sure.
There is a move of God going on in these countries equal to the Book of Acts. I have heard stories of the same thing I’ve described here in Afghanistan, happening in Iraq. The body of Christ needs to look beyond the politics and media into the realm of the Spirit and see how God is moving in these nations. Our senses are so dulled from what we see and hear on TV and the internet, we can’t see what the Spirit is doing, or hear what the Spirit is saying to the church. We need to side with God for the hearts of men, and get off the “world’s” side, which says nothing is worth fighting for. Not because war is right, but because of the life of God that is going forth into a dark part of the world because we’re here.
No, God isn’t in favor of war, but He works through what the enemy intends for hurt, and turns it to good for His purposes. Every Christian must pray for peace as the Word instructs us, but also pray our leaders have the mind of Christ in this, and that we don’t pull out of either country until God says to. When is the last time you heard someone say, “Let’s pray and see what God would have us to do,” instead of piling onto our leaders with the liberal left?
In “That Day” I want to be one of the ones to whom God says, “Well done thou good and faithful servant. You resisted the world and listened to My voice, and look at all these Muslim souls won in to the Kingdom on your account!”
By: Howard L. Malone (LTC) USA