(Publisher’s note: Joshua Youssef of Atlanta, president of Help The Persecuted, joined radio talk show host Erick Erickson to share what his team is doing in Afghanistan to get hundreds of families out, even though the U.S. government has given up. The following are interview excerpts.)

Erickson: … I bet you’re tired. … just tell people about what you’ve gone through these last couple of weeks.

Youssef: We got word that the Taliban had taken over Kabul …and our field team began mobilizing and trying to get out of Kabul airport and just were unsuccessful. We tried all sorts of ways to get them out. It’s about 150 staff with families and could not get them out … (so) they ended up heading a different direction. And in that time …some of them decided to stay back and help more people escape. So, we’re moving some of the team out of the country, those that are more vulnerable or what we call higher value targets. And then we’re keeping a core group of people in country to help others get out either by ground or by air.

Erickson: How does Help the Persecuted help those in the country avoid capture, torture, death? How do you protect them?

Youssef: Right now, we’re looking at (distributing) funds through a system and we’re topping up their cell phones … to be able to keep communicating. And then …we’ve got some air movement where we can get some of these people out. For the ones that stay, we’re using a specific banking system to be able to get funds to them.

Erickson: I know you can’t reveal everything that you guys do, but what goes into building a network of people willing to help inside a country like Afghanistan?

Youssef: My number two, and he’s really my partner in this ministry, he had spent a lot of time in Afghanistan. He was one of the first ones in with the troops after 9/11. And he had a partnership with an organization that had all these staff. These staff are now part of our team on the ground. For the last 20 years, they worked women empowerment and schools, preschools, all sorts of agricultural projects. They were working with the U.S. government, USAID and others to partner to do this.

Erickson: Once you get someone out of the country, what happens? Where do they go? What do you do?

Youssef: It’s really complicated right now, but if they have an SIV or a P2, a U.S. passport or green card we can pretty much get them to a holding facility in Doha or in Rammstein, Germany, and then they get processed. Now, the State Department has not been helpful here, I mean, super unhelpful. They have changed the bar and moved the bar so many times. And we keep hearing from even other nations … saying your government does not want this. They do not want these people moving. … I don’t know if they don’t want the optics of it or what the political reason is, but they have created this huge mess. And then they’re just trying to push this lid down and keep all these people in.

Erickson: …Your dad, Michael, is the senior pastor at Church of the Apostles. What got you into particularly helping the persecuted church around the world. I mean, why is this mission for you?

Youssef: 9/11 was a seminal moment for me. I realized at that moment that this was not going to be a war necessarily won by bombs and guns and on a battlefield, but on a spiritual level. So I became really just touched by these MBBs, these Muslim Background Believers, and what they would share with me. … We were hearing about dreams and visions that these Muslims were having about Jesus. These kinds of conversations uplifted me in such a way that I realized that this was the way that we were going to win this war against groups like ISIS and Taliban. So I started in a media ministry towards these people, and then became just really passionate about more of a ground game effort.

Erickson: I appreciate the work you’re doing. If you want to help, Help the Persecuted, text the word donate to 33777, and you will get back a link from me. Josh set this up, so you guys will get credit for helping them track through that URL, and anything you can help. They have got to raise some money to keep getting people out of Afghanistan. …

Youssef: Well, I’m grateful, Erick. …

Erickson: Thank you. Help the Persecuted … still has got to evacuate people, even though the U.S. government isn’t. If you want to help, text the word donate to 33777. Every dollar goes to helping them evacuate people from Afghanistan.


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