It’s hard not to just keep refreshing my Twitter feed right now, but what good does that really do? Maybe like me, you’re wondering what, if any, good you can do for the tough situation unfolding in Afghanistan.
As we mourn 13 (at present) fallen U.S. soldiers and five times as many dead Afghans, we cry. But after the tears are done?
I realize that “doing something” might not be what’s right for you. Understood. But if God is nudging you to take action, or the person he’s wired you up to be “needs to do something right now,” here are some options:
1. Send a small gift to a Muslim friend, an imam if you know one. I just did this: A Starbuck’s e-card to an Iraqi friend. Told him I just felt like extending a bit of kindness on such a tragic day.
2. Find the closest refugee resettlement agency near you and ask what they might need for an influx of Afghan refugees. You can check here or here. (Maybe give your couch and let the kids sit on the floor for awhile, but don’t tell them it was my idea!)
3. Want to make a difference for Afghans who are displaced within their country? Text this link to your church’s missions director or pastor. These are trusted friends of mine, trusted enough that I plan to ask my church to contribute here.
4. Sign up for a six week online course that will give you the information and practical tools to build real friendships with Muslims.
5. Forward this email to your pastor and a couple of friends. Let’s rise above partisan politics and partner with God to extend love to Afghans. He’s rather fond of them.
You can still download this half page prayer guide to pray through personally and distribute to your church and beyond.
More people are thinking about Afghanistan right now than any time in history. Of course it won’t last. There is always more news around the corner.
While it does, can I ask you to flex your networker/influencer/reliable-dude muscles and invite a ton of people to pray?
Here are some ideas:
- Download this half sheet prayer guide and get it in your church’s bulletin this Sunday.
- Don’t have a bulletin? Make it available on your church’s website or app. Alternatively, go old school and simply hand it out!
- Copy and paste it on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, TicTok or in a dozen texts and messages. I’m planning to do this.
- Share this email with people who don’t have a big passion for Muslims, but who might pray and invite others to do so given the unfolding situation in Afghanistan.
Download the half page guide here. If you’d like a Word version you can adapt, find it here. (If you change more than a bit, feel free to take off the “shanebennett.com” at the bottom.)
May the Father hear and answer our prayers beyond our wildest dreams for the deliverance of many and the glory of God.
Deja fu: The eerie feeling that somewhere, sometime you’ve been kicked in the head like this before.
With the U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Taliban are feeling their oats and munching up territory. As they do, the human suffering, the fear and heartache multiply. I’d rather not think about it, preferring to chat with you about fun and hopeful things. But here we are.
Depending on how deep you want to dive, here are some resources to grow your heart and mind and inform your prayers. Also I’ll close with a hopeful story, because that’s who I am!
• This poignant first person account unveils the situation for a young Afghan woman as the Taliban extends the sphere of their control.
• Operation Allies Refuge will provide special immigrant visas for Afghans who served the US military during our time in their country. Anywhere from 2500 to 70,000 Afghans will be allowed to move to the US. Please check your closest World Relief office (or other resettlement agency) to see how you and your church can provide critical help in the resettlement process.
• A friend of mine has lived in and around Afghanistan for a number of years. His letter to Afghans at this strategic time moved me.
• A trustworthy group of believers are hosting a zoom prayer meeting for Afghanistan on Wednesday, August 18th. They’ve given me permission to invite you to join in. There’s so much we can’t do for Afghans, but we can join with sisters and brothers in prayer to the God who can do anything. Here’s the link, meeting ID: 864 4160 2533, and passcode: 925451.
• Finally, Nadia Nadim is a radiant example of the power and resilience of the Afghan heart. She was born in 1988. After losing her father to a Taliban execution, she fled with her mom and sister to become refugees in Denmark. She began to excel at soccer and now plays both for the Danish national team and for the Racing Louisville Football Club. She speaks nine languages. Oh, and one more thing, she’s one semester away from completing med school!
I wrote in a recent Muslim Connect, “If a Muslim shot someone you loved and that made you mad, I get it. Of course it did.”
My friend Kea sent a beautiful response to that comment. Excerpts of her story comprise most of today’s email.
“I’m in the very small percentage of your readers who would check the box ‘Have had a Muslim shoot someone I love,’ (a dear friend serving as a teacher in Iraq) and yes, it would be natural for that to have made me mad and for me to still be bitter nine years later.
But. . .but Jesus.
. . .but Jesus has suffered on my behalf and as an example for me, teaching me what it looks like to love and pray for my enemies.
. . .but Jesus, knowing I would need a head start to respond graciously, prompted me several years before my friend was murdered to start pleading with Him to enable me to do the impossible task of forgiving whoever was responsible, if and when my friend was killed. When I was reeling from the news, the young murderer was the only one for whom I could pray. The Lord filled me with a deep love for him.
. . .but Jesus used the death of my friend to show me the battle is not between Muslims and Christians, but between Satan and Christ. This tragedy sparked a flame that still burns, prompting me to seek out deep relationships with Muslims around me.
Don’t get me wrong if what I wrote above makes it sound like healing was easy, but the Lord’s grace is so abundantly present if we’re willing to receive it!!”
Kea is willing to be a resource for anyone who may be struggling with fear, anger or bitterness because of wrong done to them or a friend by a Muslim.
Let me know if you’d like to take her up on that. I’ll connect you.