Since the fall of Afghanistan in August 2021, it has been nearly impossible for Afghan Christians to find fellowship.
Not that it was easy before.
“There was no local church where I could explore my questions about God,” said Parwin Hosseini, now living in Turkey. “But once I found answers abroad, I accepted Jesus.”
Her last name has been changed for security reasons, to protect her visa status.
A university graduate from Mazar-i-Sharif, Hosseini left her home country in 2019 and, unlike most local Afghans, is not a refugee. She fled her uncle’s arrangement of her marriage to a man nearly twice her age and obtained residency pursuing a master’s degree in economics. In Istanbul, a Turkish pastor gave her a Bible in Dari, her native language, and introduced her to an Afghan church when she moved to Ankara.
She had heard of the Good Book before. Today, she facilitates its study.
“I want to help evangelize women,” said Hosseini, coordinator for the nascent Afghan Bible College (ABC), “and then equip them for ministry.”
Begun in 2020 by a Korean missionary in Turkey, ABC is an online college with some in-person training. With ten affiliated lecturers, including three with PhDs, it aims to prepare leaders for the next generation of Afghan Christians—estimated to number up to 12,000 before last year’s takeover of their homeland by the Taliban.
No one knows how many remain in Afghanistan—but 12 are ABC students.
Many other Christians joined the national exodus sparked by the US military’s sudden withdrawal. Of the nations welcoming displaced Afghans, southern neighbor Pakistan tops the list, hosting more than 1.5 million Afghan refugees and asylum seekers (and 8 of ABC’s students). Neighboring Iran to the west and Germany follow (with 3 students each), while Turkey hosts 140,000 displaced Afghans (and 20 students). Out of ABC’s 50 students spanning five nations, Hosseini gets to be a mentor to its 15 women. And with the Taliban’s late-December suspension of college education for female students, her cadre is…
This article was originally published at Christianity Today on January 4, 2023. Please click here to read the full text.