I’ve personally witnessed beautiful worship by the underground persecuted church. It’s raw. It’s authentic. And I think it’s the closest I’ve come to experiencing heaven on earth.
My experience probably has everything to do with my grief over what is happening in Afghanistan. While the country of Iran has the fastest growing church, Afghanistan is second.
In their countries, when house churches gather, they sing songs of praise as lips move but no sound escapes their mouth. Why? If their faith is known, they will be arrested, possibly murdered.
Years ago, I was invited to a foreign country to meet with leaders of the underground church of Iran. The majority of the participants had not met one another prior to that week but they embraced each other as beloved family. They totally enjoyed their freedom to worship without fear.
I was asked to speak first at this gathering and I was given the topic “Intimacy with God.” I prepared, I delivered and they graciously listened and asked questions. But by the end of the week, I realized they knew so much more about that topic than I did. It was humbling. The persecuted know intimacy with God in a way that most of our souls long to know.
During the week, each participant grabbed me so they could share the very personal experience that led them to wholeheartedly follow Jesus. Most had dreams and visions of “the man in white robes,” “the man with a dove on His shoulder,” or “the bright, blinding light.” Their faith had been tested and tried and proved to be steadfast. They will not deny Christ…even if it means their death.
The most humbling moment came near the end of the week when my new friends shared that they had once believed the church in the west was totally dead. They gathered around our small team of men and women from the US and Great Britain, placed their hands on us and prayed for our countries. We responded by falling to our knees and weeping.
Our nation was prayed for by the persecuted underground church. How can we not respond by praying for them? It’s been our turn for a long time!
What we are witnessing in Afghanistan and the evil that drew us into that country in the first place will never be corrected by man’s efforts. It’s as old as Abraham, Sarah and Haggar. This is God’s battle and He has asked that we partner with Him by praying for one another.
I listened to Jennie Allen’s podcast with Pastor X, a man I spent time with at the conference. He, his wife and his mother in law were all present. As one of the older participants, I actually danced at a celebration with the mother in law, who had once been diagnosed with MS.
Please pray and if you want to do more, listen to this podcast.
“What we are witnessing right now is the decimation of the country and people of Afghanistan. The Taliban has a hit list of known Christians that they are targeting to hunt down and kill. But these believers are not hopeless… I’ve had 3 conversations this week with my friend Pastor X and his team that have changed my faith. History has shown that persecution grows the church and you guys.. these Jesus followers on the ground in Afghanistan are still on mission, hopeful, and willing to die for their faith.” Jennie
Who knows if my experience with the underground church was all about imploring you to join in the battle for our brothers and sisters in Afghanistan…for such a time as this?