BY SCOTT GRISWOLD
For the last five years, the RWND team has been reaching out to Afghan Muslims, primarily at a specific apartment complex we’ll call Eastern Circle, where people from many countries mingle on the porches, and children play in the parking lots.
Over the last year, volunteer church members have helped us provide a vibrant Pathfinder and Adventurer program. Every other week, Afghan children and their parents come out to the nearby park for activities, crafts, stories, and lots of love.
Throughout this time, Julie and I earnestly prayed for someone who could speak their language to join us. God guided Pastor Shahbaz and his family here a year ago. He was such a blessing, connecting quickly with the refugees during the eight months they served before returning to Washington. When they moved on, we prayed all the harder for someone who could speak Dari, the language of many of our friends.
“I don’t know of a single Seventh-day Adventist Afghan in all of America,” I told Julie. “It would take a miracle.” But God was working years before with two individuals in Afghanistan whom we’ll call Jahnbee and Bazgigi. Jahnbee’s father became a Seventh-day Adventist Christian while visiting another country. He taught his family that Jesus is coming soon and the importance of honoring the Creator by keeping the Sabbath. His son Jahnbee, especially soaked up the new truths about Jesus and how He died on the cross for his sins.
A growing group of worshipers began to meet in their home secretly, since in Afghanistan, extremist Muslims have killed people for such things. One young lady named Bazgigi saw in Jahnbee’s family a kindness she’d never known. Though her entire family was Muslim, she decided to follow Jesus. Eventually, she married Jahnbee.
Soon two boys were born to the couple, and one day Jahnbee decided it was too dangerous to stay in Afghanistan any longer. His 19-year-old brother Abi joined them as they managed to escape and get a visa to a country in South America. They traveled through jungles, often carrying their children for hours on end. Finally, they crossed into the United States and pled for asylum. They were given a court date on which the government will decide if they can stay.
Meanwhile, our audacious prayer for just such a person kept going up. On the day before leaving for a mission trip to Thailand, a friend called to tell me Jahnbee’s story. The person on the phone said, “Now they are somewhere in Houston, Texas.”
“But where are they living?” I wanted to know. “Houston is huge, and there are over seven million people here.”
“Look at the next text!” Julie and I shouted. “They are right in Eastern Circle!”
We were astounded. Truly, God brought them all the way around the world and placed them in the exact place where we were pleading for someone who could share the gospel in the language of our Afghan friends.
We have enjoyed getting to know them over the last few weeks. Together we are navigating the details of life in America for them as asylum seekers who are not allowed to work, yet have to find a way to rent an apartment and live. Church members across Houston are rising up to help them.
My greatest joy has been taking Jahnbee with me to visit friends and interests that we know. Jahnbee is very friendly, and he loves to tell stories. I know God is going to work mightily to see His work advance among the Afghan people. Please keep this family and ministry in your prayers.