My Watershed Moment

Open your mouth for the speechless, In the cause of all who are appointed to die. Open your mouth, judge righteously, And plead the cause of the poor and needy. PROVERBS 31:8-9, NKJV

From my desk, I could see the office park pond through the wall of windows. Its tranquility belied the tumultuous day ahead—not just for me, but for our nation. The workday had barely begun when tragic news spread through the office. I pulled up a news site on my computer to watch the surreal footage for myself. As an airplane pierced a New York City skyscraper, I covered my mouth in horror, then continued to watch in disbelief as another plane hit the second of the Twin Towers. They both collapsed in flames, spewing a pulverized poison into the air. My heart went weak in the crush of an invisible hand as I realized, this was no accident.

A third plane struck the Pentagon, a fourth crashed in a field in Pennsylvania, and for the weeks and months following, with the rest of America, I stayed glued to the television. Together, we grieved the lives we lost and marveled at the courage of those who raced into burning buildings or stormed the cockpit of the plane barreling toward the seat of our democracy.

In the aftermath of our collective nightmare, documentaries aired about a barren patch of earth on the other side of the planet, a forgotten land where our enemies had laid their evil plans to drive a stake into our nation’s heart. I also realized we were not the only ones being terrorized.

My attention shifted to a place where a regime claimed to rule in the name of God, but seemed to have bubbled up from Hell itself, where burqa-clad women were executed in a soccer stadium, where a million widows starved or were flogged with steel cables for begging without a husband or brother or son, where daughters were snatched from their families with no Amber alerts or search-and-rescue squads. They were married off to Talib soldiers, their lives and innocence simply stolen.

Sarai Shah’s documentary, in particular, pulled on the thread that would unravel my life. She tells the story of the Taliban commandeering a family’s home when the father was away. The mother begs them not to do it—it’s all she has left. They answer her pleas with a bullet to the head. For the next three days, her little girls were trapped with her killers as her body grew cold in the courtyard. When asked what the men had done to them, they wept silently. My tears were not so quiet. A dam broke inside me. I fell to my knees sobbing in my living room. God, this ought not be. Please stop this. How many other Afghan girls like these are in trouble? I prayed.

I wanted to whisk those girls out of danger, bring them home with me, tuck them into bed, and never let anyone touch them again. But what could a thirty-year old divorcé do? I wasn’t independently wealthy. And, besides, a great gulf lay between us and our worlds. I hadn’t been to Afghanistan, and didn’t even know anyone who had.

But I asked anyway, God, is there anything I can do?

That prayer was both a question and an offering of the little I had, and the little I was, and would prove the first wobbly step of a thousand across a high wire to Afghanistan, with nothing but God’s outstretched hand to steady me.

In answer after answer to prayers, God charted a path for me, opened doors I could not open—to visit Afghanistan multiple times, to do a pilot project to test a concept, to launch a social enterprise, to send girls to school, and to train mothers and daughters in valuable skills. Ultimately, as my labor of love took over more of my life, I had to decide between it and the one that paid my mortgage. So, I quit my job, sold my condo, and left behind all that was familiar to move to Afghanistan.

What I discovered through the experience is that God is eager to reveal His goodness and power to everyone, eager to engage us in the most important work on the planet, of reconciling the lost to Himself.

I learned that He hears me, that my prayers for the oppressed are powerful, that there is no person He can’t use, no dream impossible, and no ask, too big. I learned, if we dare say to Him, “Is there anything I can do?”, He will answer. And the answer is always Yes. No matter how big the problem, our God is bigger, and no matter how inadequate we feel in asking, He is more than enough.

Eva Priest
a blue-eyed blonde, with a bad sense of direction and more than a few anxieties, started a business venture to help the women of Afghanistan rebuild their lives. Her work over the last 25 years has taken her to Guatemala, Peru, Afghanistan, India, Kenya, Switzerland, and even South Carolina. Subscribe to Eva’s newsletter at to be notified when her book launches later this year! To schedule her for a speaking engagement, email or call (843) 256-6813.

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