A photo taken by a CMS worker in Afghanistan (2002).
Reflections from a member of our international mission team, who worked in Afghanistan, on the developing situation and the urgent need for prayer.
“Everyone is crying. What should we do?”
“I lost my job. There is no way to flee. We are forced to stay here and struggle with problems.”
“The situation is so bad. I don’t know what will happen to me and my family.”
These are some of the many messages I have received from people I know in Afghanistan, who have expressed their fear about the unfolding situation there and about the future. Some of them might be able to leave, but the majority will remain.
Afghanistan is often represented by the media in a very negative light. Certainly, it’s a country not without its problems, but in the years I worked there, I had the privilege of meeting, working with and getting to know many Afghan men and women, several of whom I now call my friends.
The lasting memories I have are not only of the fascinating and stunning country, but of a personable people who are happy to show hospitality: to welcome visitors to their homes, to share a meal, to have numerous talks over a glass of tea. And being in the field with 15 guys, eating, working, laughing and sleeping in a single room for a month. I also worked with some wonderful women who were given the opportunity to fulfil their potential, contributing to the communities where they were working.
These last 20 years have provided many opportunities for girls and boys to go to school, to further their education, to express and fulfil their ambitions to become professionals and to help rebuild their country with their unique skills and qualities.
We have all been greatly saddened by the pictures we’ve seen of fighting, destruction, mass displacement, frantic attempts to gain passports and visas to leave the country and chaotic scenes at the airport in Kabul. Those affected most are the women, children, elderly and people with disabilities.
The Islamic call to prayer rings out from mosques, traditionally from the minaret, summoning Muslim people to prayer five times a day. Afghanistan needs our prayers particularly at this time. I am wondering if you could stop to pray regularly for the people there?
Here are some things to pray for:
- We are grateful that presently, the situation in the capital is calm (though tense). Pray for things to be calm, not only for Kabul, but for the rest of the country.
- As the country goes through this period of transition, pray that those who want to leave will be able to, and for those who remain, that they will remain safe, particularly women and those from minority groups.
- Pray for the many thousands of people who were displaced, that they will receive humanitarian aid swiftly, and that they will be able to return safely to their homes.
- And pray that, as the country looks to the future, girls will continue to be able to go to school and university, that women can contribute to society and the light that was lit for so many during these last 20 years would remain visible.