Ben* couldn’t wait to tell his loved ones about his new-found faith. A recent convert to Christianity who discovered the gospel through evangelical websites, Ben was bursting with joy. But when he told his family about his new hope in the gospel, their response was far from celebratory.
Instead, Ben’s family members brutally beat him.
For many of us, it’s hard to imagine such a response to any kind of news, much less an enthusiastic, personal proclamation. But, tragically, Ben’s experience is not unique. As a member of a Muslim household in Afghanistan, Ben was subjected to ongoing abuse as dictated by Islamic Law. For his family, Ben’s conversion to Christianity dishonored them and their community. This was an affront so great that had Ben’s family murdered him, it would have been considered an “honor killing.”
After a particularly violent attack that left Ben unconscious, he woke up in the hospital. Unsure how he got there, Ben knew that this was his opportunity to run for his life. Trusting in God’s sovereignty, he slipped out of his hospital bed and, despite serious injuries, fled to Kabul, the nation’s capital.
A New Home, A New Horror
In Kabul, Ben became part of a house church that helped him establish a new life, provided him with Christian community, and supported his growing faith. That is, until the day that Taliban terrorists entered the house church and murdered the pastor, his two children, one of Ben’s friends, and another Afghan boy before a suicide bomber blew up the compound.
This unspeakable tragedy drove Ben to make a decision that many Christians in Afghanistan, widely considered one of the most dangerous countries in the world for Jesus-followers, have had to make—he went underground. Staying off the radar of public life, Ben found connection and purpose through college studies and online mentorship. Physically, though, he was alone, grieving ongoing losses, and doing all he could to continue trusting God.
Little did he know, God was already leading some fellow believers to start a ministry that would eventually transform Ben’s life. All along, God had been preparing the way for Ben to find safety and a new life.
When the U.S. withdrew from Afghanistan in 2021, the sudden foreign policy shift profoundly impacted all religious minorities. Many Afghan Christians had managed to keep their identity a secret, but Ben’s faith was known. His family, loyal to their Islamic faith, exposed their son to the Taliban. At that point, Ben knew he was risking his life by staying in the country.
Through a series of God-ordained connections and conversations, Ben became acquainted with Shai Fund, a nonprofit organization that assists those living in volatile environments. Shai Fund assigned a team to Ben, moving him from a western Afghan city near the Iranian border. All communication between Shai Fund and Ben was prearranged and encoded to make sure he was interacting with their partners and not a covert member of the Taliban.
When it was time for Ben to board a plane for Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), he had only minutes to leave his house. He was a high-profile target, so the evacuation plan was exact. Shai Fund mapped out every Taliban checkpoint on the way to Ben’s flight, and his path to the airport was meticulously choreographed until he was on the airplane to Abu Dhabi, UAE.
Once Ben arrived in the UAE, Shai Fund continued working with him to find a permanent home in Canada. He is now living there, meeting with a house church of other Afghan Christians. Even now, Ben’s whereabouts and real identity cannot be disclosed for fear of those who would kill him for his faith. While the danger remains, Ben continues to pursue opportunities for friendship and a full life.
Peace for the Persecuted
There are many other stories like Ben’s—stories of suffering abandonment, betrayal, and violence because of one’s faith. Shai Fund plays an integral role in bringing these brothers and sisters to safety, and these discreet, complex extractions are only possible with the support of friends like you.
Since 2014, Shai Fund has directly assisted over 170,000 people with practical and immediate assistance. They work tirelessly with teams on the ground to assist those most at risk, find long-term solutions, and offer support to those still in Afghanistan.
Ben will never forget those days, a time in which he faced life-threatening danger but also found a new beginning in Christ. He can now envision a new life, with a God-given future and hope. Your gift can bring another persecuted person to safety, empowering them to experience peace and possibilities—just like Ben.
*Ben’s real name is being withheld for his protection.