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Posts Tagged ‘Christian Aid’

Precious in the sight of the LORD
Is the death of His godly ones. (Psalm 116:15)

I got a call from Afghanistan early one morning in August and learned that my friend cheryl beckettCheryl Beckett had been killed, along with nine other aid workers. They were ambushed by Islamic militants. I can’t allow myself to even think about how she died. She was a beautiful soul who never failed to lift my spirits with her joy in Christ. … I don’t expect a good answer to why at thirty-two years of age she should be taken. She brought so much strength to the team, and she put Calvary love on display for the Afghan people to see. There are already so few there, so few willing to got there. It still hurts to write about her.       (Tim Keesee, Dispatches From The Front, page 226)

Over the past few years many women have sacrificed their lives in order to show the love of Jesus to the poor in Muslim countries. These women know the dangers. Not only do Muslim men treat women with disdain in their countries, they also especially target all Christians, even women, for arrest, persecution, and/or death.

Religiously, the Muslims are probably among the hardest people in the world to reach for Christ. Muslims are held in bondage to a religion that is very easy to get into – you only need to recite the prayer claiming that Allah is God and Mohammed is his prophet. It is at the same time the hardest religion to get out of – adherents are threatened with death if they think about converting to some other religion. Islam is not a religion of peace; it is a religion of slavery. It is a very dark religion and Muslims need the light of Christ very badly.

Christians have been going to Muslim countries like Afghanistan when they are able to get in. Doctors, nurses, and other caregivers go to help the victims of the Middle East wars. In places like Kabul the Christians are caring for the poor and destitute; the Taliban is not. The Taliban has been targeting aid workers for decades killing many. In spite of this people who care about the innocent women and children in these countries keep going hoping to bring as much aid as possible to those in need.

One such woman was Gayle Williams. (See last week’s post for more on Gayle’s story.) Gayle was a physical therapist who went to Kabul to work with children who were injured by landmines. Gayle had been working in Kandahar, but the threats of death and kidnapping were so great that she went to Kabul. On her way to her office she was gunned down. The Taliban took credit for the slaying saying that Gayle was guilty of the crime of spreading Christianity. Gayle was only one of many Christian aid workers who had been kidnapped or killed.

On August 5, 2010, ten aid workers from International Assistance Mission were killed in Kuran, Afghanistan, on their way to Kabul. Again, the Taliban claimed responsibility for the murders.

The group consisted of six Americans, one German, one Briton and two Afghans. International Assistance Mission organized the trip. The group, led by team leader Tom Little with over 35 years of experience in Afghanistan, was going to distribute eyeglasses, toothbrushes, pain relief, and prenatal care in remote villages that they were traveling to on foot. In short they were on a mission of mercy.

Beckett_WebOne of the team members, Cheryl Beckett – aged 32 at the time, had already traveled around the world. She had been on many church sponsored mission trips and went to Afghanistan six years before this. With a degree in biology, Cheryl wanted to do something really useful for the women and children. Cheryl planted vegetable gardens and tried to establish a park on the east side of Kabul on ground that had been devastated after years of war in Afghanistan. Her hope was that teaching the people how to grow food would help them survive. This is why Cheryl Beckett found herself in Afghanistan. Cheryl loved Christ and Cheryl loved people.

Cheryl also worked in women’s clinics. She worked with women and children to teach them about health. She loved the Afghan people. Cheryl once organized a relief effort for more than 200 Afghan families staying in one dilapidated building with no electricity or heat during the winter. She was not discouraged because her heart of love for the people gave her hope to continue.

Cheryl knew the risks of traveling to remote villages with a group of foreigners. Because of her familiarity with the language she was invited on the fatal expedition. She was going as a medical worker and translator. She was excited about an opportunity to be the “hands and feet” of the Lord Jesus Christ to these needy people. She willingly took the risk because her love for the Lord and these people was so great.

The needs are so great. Christians know that following Christ may cost them their lives. These martyrs are just a few in a long line of those who love Jesus and others enough to take the Gospel wherever they are called. Despite the attack on Cheryl’s group other Islamic Relief groups continue to work in Muslim countries. How can they refuse the call of their Savior to take the light of the Gospel to lost people along with the works of mercy that the Lord Himself would perform?

Many gathered at Cheryl’s funeral in Knoxville, Tennessee. Sadness was expressed at how theCherylBeckett-IAM Taliban treated those who went to their country only to show love. How tragic that the killers took the life of one who denied herself many freedoms in order to live with the Afghan people abiding by their customs and laws.

One of the last to speak at her funeral was Cheryl’s father, Charles. He said that Cheryl was “full of life and laughter.” Cheryl just wanted to get married, live on a farm, and raise children and a garden. She did get to do these things, but only for a short time and only in Afghanistan where she served the Afghans whom she loved so much.

Truly Cheryl showed the love of Jesus to the Afghan people. She sacrificed for them. Now she is with the One Who sacrificed for her.

 

 

 

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