One gentleman in the congregation went to Kabul’s mayor and prophetically warned, “If your government touches that house of God, God will overthrow your government!” The mayor responded by ordering the congregation to turn over its church building for destruction, thereby eliminating the need for the Afghan government to pay compensation.
“This building does not belong to us but to God,” the people of the church replied. “We can’t turn it over for destruction.” And they proceeded to serve tea and cookies to the soldiers who were destroying their place of worship.
Rumors had reached the Afghan secret police that an “underground church” existed in Afghanistan. So while the workers demolished the church, they carefully dug twelve feet below its foundation in search of this secret subsurface sanctuary—but to no avail.
Before long, Christy Wilson was declared persona non grata by the Afghan government. Students were becoming followers of Christ, and certain Afghan officials were determined to rid themselves of the corrupting influence who was behind all of this. Eventually, on March 24, 1973, Christy and Betty departed Afghanistan, each carrying only a suitcase of personal belongings. They were leaving the land in which they had lived and ministered for twenty-two years. As they made their way to the airplane, Christy shook the dust from his feet.
Just four months later, on Tuesday, July 17, 1973, the Afghan soldiers completed their destruction of the church building. That very night, King Mohammed Zahir Shah, who had ruled for forty years, was overthrown in a coup, and the 227-year-old monarchy in Afghanistan came to an end forever. When Christy heard the news, he fell to the floor and wept.
Professor of World Evangelization at Gordon-Conwell
Christy spent the following two decades serving as a professor and mentor to hundreds of students at Gordon- Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, Massachusetts. When he began his professorship in September 1974, he insisted on being known as a visiting professor, holding on to the hope that he would one day return to his beloved Afghanistan. He also insisted that his title be “professor of world evangelization” rather than “professor of missions,” feeling that this more clearly described his passion and his desired role at the seminary.
Every fall, Gordon-Conwell published a community directory with photos and personal information about each student, professor, and staff member.
This was commonly referred to as the Facebook (long before this term was used for another purpose). Christy prayed through the entire Facebook each week, praying for each person individually. When students encountered him on campus for the first time, they would be surprised to hear a professor they had never met address them by name. When Christy and Betty traveled, his Facebook went with them. Christy would drive, Betty would read the names to him, and Christy would pray. He also established a prayer room on campus; every noon, he and a band of students united in prayer for the peoples and nations of the world.
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