Kate McCord, former Christian humanitarian aid worker in Afghanistan, invites us into faith-exploring conversations with Afghan Muslims in her book, In the Land of Blue Burqas.
Even before 9/11 I wanted to help Afghan women and children. Like most Americans, I’d read about the Taliban and their brutal oppression of women in Afghanistan. When the twin towers fell down, I knew I’d go.
I spent five years living in Afghanistan. Throughout that time I managed aid projects that benefit both women and men. I learned the language and entered our Afghan neighbor’s lives.
I was surprised by what I found.
Most Afghans welcomed me as their guest who had come to help. They invited me into their homes, shared their food with me and taught me their faith, culture, and language. Their hospitality was beautiful. Often, a woman would say to me, “You are far from your family. Don’t be sad. Come to my house and have tea.”
Afghans shared their stories with me. Often those personal histories were heartbreaking to hear. As a capable American, I wanted to fix their problems, but of course, I couldn’t erase 30+ years of war and a culture that oppressed women. In Afghanistan, it is normal for girls to be forced into marriage and hidden women behind the walls outside their home and the all-encompassing burqa.
Early in my journey a woman told me her own experience. A Taliban bomb had fallen on her house, taking seven of her sons and leaving her with only the infant in her arms, buried under the rubble. What could I say? I couldn’t give her sons back. I couldn’t remove that day from her life. All I could tell her was that God still loves her. That God is with her.
Over the years, Afghans shared their stories with me. They often talked about God and what He meant to them in the context of both their experiences and their day to day lives. Talking about God was the most natural thing for us to do. I listened, prayed for them, and shared with them the stories God gave us in the Bible. I told them about Moses and Joseph, David and of course, Jesus.
As we talked, my new friends met Jesus-Messiah. They came to love Him and to know God through Him. Their own stories changed, infused with a new faith.
I wrote the book, In the Land of Blue Burqas, to describe those faith-sharing conversations. In the pages of the book, the reader enters Afghan life, comes to understand Islam through our neighbor’s perspective, and hears Jesus speak into some of the hardest stories of our time.
How do you find ways to share your faith in everyday conversation here in America?