Like millions of Afghans, Sister Fazlia’s life was turned upside down when the Taliban seized control of the country last summer. A visit from an Open Doors local partner has given her hope – a hope shared by other Afghan Christians. Please continue to pray for our brothers and sisters from Afghanistan, which is now the most dangerous place in the world to be a Christian.
One day Sister Fazlia* was a schoolteacher, the next she was jobless. One day she was preparing for her wedding, the next it was put on hold. One day she was respected by the community, the next she was fleeing for her life.
The turning point was last summer, when the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan and even came looking for Sister Fazlia.
“Her dreams are now kind of held midway,” shares Hana Nasri*, an Open Doors local partner who visited her in a neighbouring country. “Her wedding dress was all ready but now the whole world changed for her. We held each other crying. And she kept pointing to heaven. That’s where her strength to endure comes from.”
Sister Fazlia left Afghanistan with seven school children, as well as some nephews and nieces. Now out of the country, she continues to teach the children, but with Bible songs.
“Having lived all her life in a culture where a father, a husband, a brother or a son provides protection and safeguards a woman’s decisions and journey, the stretch of road she’s on now is particularly challenging as she assumes those responsibilities herself in an alien environment,” explains Hana Nasri.
It means that Sister Fazlia’s own dreams may go unfulfilled, as she faces the possibility of having to sacrifice her hopes of a wedding and a family of her own, as well as her career. Her priority today is the children in her care. “I have always loved them very much,” she says. “And I wouldn’t trust anyone else to take care of them. I made the right choice, but I don’t know how my story will end.”
“At that moment,” Hana Nasri continues, “Fazlia took my hand and said, ‘Your hands, for now, are like God’s loving hand on me.’ She then pointed to heaven, from where she gets her strength.”
Sister Fazlia’s experiences as a schoolteacher are a grim reflection of the way women and girls are inhibited under Taliban rule.
The group promised the opening of schools for girls on 21 March – a move welcomed by the international community, as it suggested that the new government would not revert to their old ways of not allowing women to study or work.
But on 23 March, just hours after schools officially reopened, the ministry of education overturned their previous decision – secondary schools for Afghan girls were suddenly closed, to the heartbreak and dismay of thousands of young girls and parents in the country.
“The women are confused, angry, disappointed and afraid, both inside the country and outside,” Hana Nasri continues. “Those who are in the country contend with the restrictions being imposed on them, while women who have fled to neighbouring countries as refugees have put their lives on hold.”
1. Learn more and pray: Get our free glow-in-the-dark World Watch List Map and find out more about the places where faith costs the most. Get your map here…
2. Pray regularly: Every Monday night at 7pm we’ll be praying one prayer for one minute for the one in seven Christians around the world who face persecution. Set an alarm and tune in…
3. Choose to Lose: Raise money by getting sponsored to lose something you love for a short time. Sign up and we’ll send you a fundraising pack…
4. Send a message of hope: Imagine getting a letter from a Christian on the other side of the world who’d heard about you and was praying for you – encouraging right? Well, you can send encouragement now to young Christians facing persecution. Do that here now…
*Names changed for security reasons
We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.