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Hope from Afghanistan

A Christian Science perspective on daily life.

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Recently I saw the film "The Kite Runner," showing in theaters across the US. It's a movie about cruelty, redemption, courage, and love. It tells the story of a man from Afghanistan, who, after spending years in California, returns to his homeland to help an old friend whose son is in trouble.

At times the events portrayed moved me to tears, but then I was also remembering Jarryd. This is his story and mine.

Jarryd came into the Christian Science Reading Room where I was serving as a volunteer. He was holding a large envelope and a scrap of paper. I greeted him, and with a heavy accent he said, "You speak English?" I nodded. With gestures and a few words, he conveyed that he needed help filling out an application for a local university. He had only his name and address written on the scrap of paper. I filled in the application as best I could with the information he struggled to give me. He wanted to study English and math. He said he was from Kabul in Afghanistan.

He came back into the Reading Room the following week and said that he'd been accepted by the college. He worked next door as a part-time chef and came in regularly to see me. As his English improved, his life history unfolded, and I tried to share with him what I understand Christian Science to be, the laws of God within each one of us. He got a copy of "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, and started studying it.

He told me that he'd been a math teacher in Kabul, his parents were teachers, and his sister was a nurse. One day he said that the Taliban had come, demanding his sister for the use of the "troops." The family resisted. His mother and father were shot and killed, and Jarryd bolted out the back door. They shot at him, but he escaped. He got over the mountains to Pakistan, to a friend of the family, and then to his uncle in the United States. He said he didn't know what had happened to his sister, but later he learned that she had been raped and killed.

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