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Korean group

As of last Thursday, August 30, the last of the nineteen hostages held by the Taliban were released. Upon returning home, a medical examiner reported that some male hostages had been beaten by their captors. Apparently they had been beaten for refusing to take part in Islamic prayers or to convert to Islam and for protecting female captives. Two of them, Je Chang-Hee and Song Byung-Woo, were beaten or threatened with death when they refused to move out of a dugout shelter and leave some of their female colleagues behind. They have reportedly fully recuperated from the attacks.

On Monday, South Korean President Roh Moo-Hyun ordered the former captives to repay some of the costs of their rescue. Public rejoicing at the release of the hostages has shifted to criticism and anger at the Saemmul Community Church for sending the team of volunteers into a hostile Muslim country.

Pray that these ex-hostages will fully recuperate from their ordeal. Pray for the leadership of the Saemmul Community Church as they face public hostility. Pray that the threats by the Taliban to kidnap others will come to nothing.

For more information on the difficulties facing Christianity in Afghanistan, click here. Check out Glenn Penner's blogs on the fallout of the concessions made by the South Korean government to secure the release of the hostages.

Current Ministry Projects

VOMC works with ministry partners to provide Afghan Christians with evangelistic and discipleship radio broadcasts to equip followers of Jesus to present the Gospel in a specialized, culturally relevant, and context-sensitive way. VOMC is also helping our ministry partners to translate scripture into the Dari language.

Project Funds: Underground Church, Relief & Development, Bible

Country Information

Designation
Persecuted

Population
37,466,414 (July 2021 est.)

Ethnicity
Pashtun, Tajik, Hazara, Uzbek and others

Religions (%)
Islam (99.7), Christianity and other (0.3)

Government type
Taliban takeover August 2021

Leader
President (vacant)

Legal system
Mixed legal system of civil, customary, and Islamic law

Source: CIA World Factbook

Pray for Afghanistan

Pray for the protection of these Afghan believers, and for the consistency of their witness, as God continues to build His church according to Matthew 16:18 ("the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it"). In addition to protecting them from physical danger and harm, ask God to insulate these minority Christians from the spiritual oppression surrounding them. May these dedicated followers of Christ mature spiritually and grow in both faith and number.

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