How Chaos Led to the Ultimate Opportunity

John HeeremaBy John Heerema5 Minutes

In 1999, I was a successful business owner. My wife, Kathy, and I enjoyed a leisurely lifestyle in the resort city of Naples, Florida. Sitting on the floor one evening with our young daughter and a son on the way, we reflected on how we had built the “perfect life.” Shortly thereafter, I was blindsided by a question in a book. The question that pierced my heart was this: 

“Are you living a little life in your own little world, or are you willing to live a big life, a life with a big impact for the Kingdom of God?”

I began to struggle with the realization that my perfect little life was perfectly shallow. After wrestling with God, I walked away from my business to join God, where He was already working and a ministry called Biglife was started, which, today, serves in over 160 countries and reaches millions of people with the Gospel in some of the darkest strongholds on earth, including Afghanistan. 

It is hard to believe that two years have passed since the United States’ harrowing withdrawal from Afghanistan. While the world witnessed the Taliban’s shocking insurgency against Kabul in 2021, The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan as we once knew it, was no more. 

The fall of Kabul marked a pivotal moment in modern history, with far-reaching implications for the region and the world. It was during this upheaval that our organization, Biglife, catapulted into a role that we never expected. Since Biglife’s initial start in Afghanistan in 2010, our work has focused on reaching Afghans with the Gospel and training indigenous leaders to become disciple-makers.  

Many vulnerable Afghan communities, including Afghan Christians, faced an uncertain and perilous future. The risks to these groups escalated overnight under the Taliban’s new rule. Biglife began receiving details about Afghans who were under death threat by the Taliban. With a network of over 10,000 people on the ground, we knew that we were in a position to help in a massive way. Quickly, Biglife shifted its work to spreading the Gospel to Afghans while also providing humanitarian assistance and means for relocation away from the Taliban.  

We established coalitions with organizations like Task Force Pineapple, a volunteer group of US veterans, to extract at-risk targets safely and swiftly. These individuals were evacuated to safer areas of Afghanistan or outside of the country and later, connected with refugee organizations such as The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for food, temporary housing, medical assistance, and immigration paperwork.  

 Chaos led to an opportunity that we could have never fathomed.

Routine global work for Biglife quickly transformed into a substantial operation that has helped thousands of Afghans flee from the Taliban’s hold. Over 55,000 men, women, and children who were under Taliban death threats because of their faith or ethnicity have successfully been evacuated by Biglife since August 30th, 2021. As a result, those who had never heard of Jesus before, have come to know Him, and His unconditional love. As more persecuted communities come to us, we expect to see the Lord continue to move His sovereign hand. 

The call to this mission has not been without its cost. In the last week, the Taliban martyred 5 men who were a part of the Biglife network because of their faith in Jesus Christ. Regardless of the opposition members of Biglife face in Afghanistan, it has not hindered their spirit to share God’s word. Instead, it has empowered them to bring communities closer to Jesus, despite the dangers and challenges faced.  

The chaos of the fall of Kabul has led to an unimaginable opportunity for Biglife not only to minister to the people in Afghanistan but also to rescue and put them in a place of hope. Two years later, as international headlines have grown silent on Afghanistan, we are committed to continue ministering to the physical and spiritual needs of the persecuted.

Perhaps the chaos you may be facing in your life is really an opportunity from God. I am praying for you to join us in living the big life.