There are several ongoing projects in Tajikistan working to reach Afghan refugees with aid along the Tajikistan/Afghanistan border. FBR has been in collaboration with a team embedded in the area who is working hard to reach the population of refugees who fled during the pull-out of American troops in Afghanistan. FBR sent a team to Dushanbe, Tajikistan, to see how we could bring aid to those trapped in the crossfire and fleeing across the border from the Taliban, who now control the Afghan government.
One of the greatest ways FBR has been able to contribute is by assisting and aiding a team of local Afghan believers who are working to help Afghan refugees who have fled to Tajikistan. They have built the bedrock of a firm foundation to meet the needs of the refugees both practically, by meeting physical needs, as well as spiritually, by sharing the gospel and making disciples for Christ.
The AFG (Afghan) team has held several outreaches along the Tajikistan/Afghanistan border for the Afghan refugees, including an FBR-funded food distribution that fed 263 families. Another type of outreach they do is called “Slingshot Ministry.” This is where the team slings mp3 players with scriptures recorded on them across the physical border to Afghans on the other side. This type of ministry can be a bit more perilous as the Taliban have been directly across the border watching our team as they try to share the good news with those just beyond their reach. They have also witnessed the Taliban expanding their military perimeter along the border, and their defiant behavior towards the former Afghan military demonstrated by destroying and abandoning government vehicles in the river.
The AFG team is not only boldly sharing the gospel by any means possible, they are also running a full-on discipleship school for new Afghan believers. The school is eight months long, broken into eight monthly courses that began on 5 September 2022. The primary goal of this discipleship school is to make disciples and to equip them for the work of the ministry among Muslims and refugees. After their graduation, they will receive diplomas to work among Muslims, refugees in camps and towns, and go wherever God calls them to serve. We have seen incredible fruit from their labor to prepare the hearts of these refugees who they are ministering to. In this year alone, they have baptized 28 Muslim Afghans who are now followers of Jesus.
These students of the Word go through a monthly course broken up into a 10-day lecture period followed by a 20-day practical application towards outreach in their communities. These students have been gathering regularly to fellowship and worship outside of school, encouraging and building each other up in the hope of Christ in them.
Another way the AFG team was able to help these Afghan refugees was by sending nine Afghan children from Panjshir and Kabul to a Tajik school in the city of Dushanbe. Not only did they cover the cost for their enrollment, uniforms, and supplies, they also arranged and paid for the cost of transportation from the refugee city of Vahdat into Dushanbe, where they attend school. There were lots of other illiterate refugee children who could not be sent to this school, so instead the team opened up their very own Afghan schoolhouse for refugee children to learn to read and write. This has not only been a success for the children, but there have also been 11 Afghan women who have joined the class so they too could learn to read and write. The teacher on staff is also a refugee, a former journalist from Afghanistan, who gets a salary and housing allowance for teaching the children and women.
FBR will continue to aid and support this blossoming ministry as much as we are able, and as long as we are called. Thank you for your support and prayers for the people of Afghanistan and Tajikistan.