Afghanistan: Was it worth it?
I'm trying to make sense of the situation unfolding in…
Last November, a special contribution on “Orphan Sunday” at the Rolla Church of Christ in Missouri included an anonymous donation of wadded-up $20 bills totaling $5,000.
A note wrapped around the bills said, “For the Christians in Afghanistan and China.” But how was the Rolla church going to get funds to a country with Muslim extremists controlling the banks?
Six months earlier, Andy Cassidy — one of the elders of the Rolla church — and his wife, Cathy, had learned about the extensive internet work of World English Institute in Afghanistan and receptivity of Muslims there. They became teachers and helped the many Afghans registering as students.
Related: Afghanistan: Was it worth it?
“It got us more and more involved and interested in helping the Christians there.” Andy Cassidy said.
He began corresponding with the oldest Christian in Afghanistan — converted 12 years earlier — offering his personal encouragement.
“More and more, I shared with our missions committee and the Rolla congregation the desperate state of affairs for the Afghan brethren,” Cassidy added.
“When the Taliban took over Afghanistan in August, we knew it was just a matter of time before our brethren there would need assistance.”
Indeed, 90 percent of Afghans lost their jobs. Winter was coming on. People were already wearing coats inside their houses and eating one meal a day.
After the anonymous donation, Kirk Davis — the church’s missions ministry leader at the time — and the committee were all fully supportive of sending funds as needed to help provide food and heat for their Afghan brethren through the winter months. Elder Loyd Waite, head of Rolla’s missions program, wholeheartedly agreed.
It was decided to send four families $300 a month as long as Rolla’s $5,000 lasted. They would use Western Union, the only money transfer institution that had done business with Afghanistan the previous year.
But for a month, numerous efforts of private Christians to get money to Afghanistan failed. They were told it seemed to be a combination of the U.S. blocking the funds for fear they would get into the hands of the Taliban and distrust by the Taliban of anyone connected with the West.
Kirk Davis, a former missionary, persisted with ideas on how to get the funds to go through. Even attempts to send the money through Canada, England or some other country did not work out.
Related: Afghan mission becomes a race to save lives
But the Rolla church remained stubborn. One day, a member of the congregation sent funds to Afghanistan in their name, and they were blocked. Immediately, a second member of the congregation sent funds in their name, and they were blocked. Then, a third member of the congregation sent funds — and they were accepted.
On Dec. 11, the first funds from Rolla to suffering Christians in Afghanistan were received. One by one, using the “stubborn method,” funds were sent to all the secret Afghan Christian families. The $5,000 lasted through March.
A few individuals, hearing about this, sent more funds to the Rolla congregation. Elder Loyd Waite, along with the rest of the congregation, agreed to become the official sponsor for Afghan relief work and to receive contributions from other brethren. Today, both governments have eased restrictions because of the humanitarian crisis. Funds can now be sent without issue to Afghanistan by following the rules set up by the Taliban.
Meanwhile, “Cathy and I continue to be active as WEI teachers and have seen the power of God’s word at work in the hearts of the Afghan people,” Cassidy said.
To continue feeding the Afghan families each month and providing heat in the winter, an average of $1,200 is needed. Donations may be mailed to the Rolla Church of Christ at 1303 Nagogami Rd, Rolla, MO 65401, or sent through their website.
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