Entering the Forbidden Land of Afghanistan
Throughout Christy’s four years with IVCF, his passion to find a way into Afghanistan never diminished or wavered. Shortly after the first IVCF missions conference, Christy learned of a posting on the bulletin board at Columbia Teachers College in New York stating that teachers were wanted in Afghanistan. Although his friends tried to dissuade him, saying that going to such a closed country would be foolish, he applied for the position. Hearing no reply for several months, Christy made alternate plans to study at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.
The very day he boarded the Queen Elizabeth to sail for Scotland, a letter arrived at his home asking him to come to Washington, D.C., for an interview. The letter was forwarded to Christy in Scotland, and he promptly replied, “I am now working on a doctorate but would be more than willing to interrupt my studies if you want me to go to Afghanistan.”
The reply stated, “There is no need for you to return to the States for an interview. We have had enough applications. Continue your studies and reapply after you have earned your degree.”
Christy was disappointed. However, that first delay allowed him to earn his doctorate in Islamic studies, and the knowledge he gained during his two years in Edinburgh proved valuable during the twenty-two years he would spend ministering in Afghanistan.
Eventually, after four more years beset by several setbacks, Christy and his new bride, Betty, first set foot on Afghan soil in the summer of 1951, having been invited by the Afghan minister of education to teach English in Kabul. No businessman, no explorer, no tourist, and certainly no missionary was allowed in Afghanistan. The country was a no-man’s-land with a strict “no trespassing” policy. But now Christy found himself standing on soil where few Christian witnesses had ever stood before.
As the years passed, Christy soon found himself in several new roles, including serving as personal tutor to Afghanistan’s crown prince and pastoring the international community in Kabul.
Pastoring the Only Church in Afghanistan
While Christy taught English to Afghans, they in turn taught him some of their treasured proverbs. One of them was Du tarbuz da yak dest gerefta na mesha. An English translation might read, “Two watermelons can’t be held in one hand,” meaning that if you have too many preoccupations, you will succeed at none of them. Christy experienced this pearl of wisdom firsthand as he sought to balance his teaching assignment and additional pastoral roles.
Christy sensed the Lord guiding him to devote his full-time energies to pastoring, and in late 1952, he and other teachers planted the Community Christian Church of Kabul (CCCK) for the foreign community. Christy was formally chosen as their first pastor, and they initially met in the Wilsons’ home before a building could be constructed many years later.
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