By Open Doors 9 July 2024 4 MIN

What Secret Faith Looks Like In Afghanistan

Medina* is a believer from Afghanistan. She was born in a poor village in a remote part of the country. But even as her life was hard, she was able to attend school and graduate.

The next milestone in her life came when her father arranged her marriage to a wealthy man who was also a close relative. After getting married, Medina moved away from home to live with her husband in her father-in-law’s house, as is customary in Afghanistan.

Here, she encountered many challenges and difficulties. Despite the circumstances, Medina says she loved her husband dearly. However, he was not always so kind to her. “He worked in a government office and was displeased with my rural background,” she remembers, “often expressing his dissatisfaction.”

Two years after getting married, Medina gave birth to their daughter. She and her husband were overjoyed with their new baby.

A Risky Decision: Choosing Jesus

Around this time, an old school friend of her husband’s entered their lives. Medina wasn’t sure how to feel—until she saw how the friendship was changing her husband. “Initially, I resented my husband’s friend as my husband’s attention shifted away from me and our daughter,” Medina says. “However, he began sharing stories of Abraham and Moses, and I listened with enthusiasm and love.”

Through his friend’s witness, Medina’s husband accepted Christ, and over the course of the next few months, her husband began sharing the Bible with her. She decided to follow Jesus, too. “I embraced Christianity,” she says. “This newfound faith brought happiness to my life, and my husband and I became content together.”

As they grew in their faith, the couple made the risky decision to share what they had learned and teach other believers. “We later began teaching disciples, with my husband having nine and myself having four,” she says. “Despite the challenges, our work continued.”

In Afghanistan, these challenges are very real. Afghanistan has been in the top 10 of Open Doors’ World Watch List for years. Converts from Islam can face oppression, violence, and even death if they are discovered.

The Joy of Life, the Grief of Death

Medina and her husband were happy teaching—and they were even happier when Medina found out she was pregnant again. Soon, she gave birth to their son.

But then, something strange happened.

“Two people visited my home, claiming to work for my husband,” Medina remembers. “They left without conveying any specific message. I was very concerned, but my husband reassured me there was nothing to worry about.”

Soon after the men arrived, Medina’s husband disappeared. Since that day, she never saw him again.

“Forty days passed with no news, and one of our Christian leaders comforted me, urging me to stop mourning and be happy that my husband was now with Christ,” Medina says. “I found solace in reading the Bible and praying for my husband and our fellow believers. I did not lose my faith and continued following the path of Jesus.”

A New Difficult Reality: Life Under the Taliban

As the Taliban regained power in Afghanistan in 2021, Medina acknowledges the many difficulties that women face in the new reality. Restrictions prevent women from travelling alone; their lives are challenging. But the limitations have not prevented Medina from continuing the work she believes God has called her to do. Together with other believing brothers and sisters, they take risks to bring a message of hope to others.

“In our group, we work skilfully holding meetings,” she says. “We remain happy in our lives because we have Jesus with us, who continues to bless and strengthen us.”

She is also thankful for the help she receives.

“I express my gratitude to all our believing brothers and sisters who have supported us with study materials, food, and fuel,” she says. “May God bless them abundantly.”

*Representative name and image used for security purposes.

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