A couple of weeks ago, we went to a part of Istanbul where there are tons of minorities - and finished up at the seafront performing to hundreds of Afghan nationals, mostly refugees living in the area. Despite the very friendly and interested reaction we received with our fancy show, we struggled with language issues. Most of them didn't speak too much Turkish (or English). But we thought it would be good to go back - this time with some Farsi speakers and Dari/Farsi materials.
We didn't have much of a show to draw a crowd this time - just a couple of guitars and a shaker really. But we did have three Iranian believers and three Turkish believers keen to share the faith and (one other foreign worker who happened to speak Tajik - which is a language related to Dari and Farsi). It didn't take long to draw an interested crowd with a couple of songs. One of us proceeded to tell a story in Turkish with a gospel message (with an Iranian sister translating to Farsi for those with weak Turkish). And then we just stood back and let the Iranians share the good news with the Afghans when the questions came. All the music had done was draw a crowd and provide these Iranian brothers and sisters with some people to share with! It was fantastic to watch.
Standing beyond the main group, an Afghan with reasonable Turkish could hear that there was religious talk going on, and approached one of the Turkish national believers with us to find out out what was going on. "I know you must be a Muslim," said the Afghan "but these foreigners, what are they?" And of course, this provided our local brother with an opportunity to tell him that actually, no, he was no longer a Muslim but also a follower of Christ!
The group dynamic is always fascinating in scenes like this. There are usually one or two main people engaging the main speaker with questions and various objections to the claims of Jesus. These folks will almost never give up any ground in front of everybody else. But the rest of the group are not quite so emotionally attached. Like watching a game of tennis they listen to both sides and - hopefully - engage a little more objectively with what is actually being said. On this occasion, they were often the ones who would quietly approach after the conversations had finished (when their friends weren't watching too closely) and ask for an MP3 player with a Dari translation of the New Testament or some other book.
I am well aware that Iranians are actually culturally quite different from Afghans - but I am pretty sure that the words of our Iranian friends who have turned to Christ in a familiar (albeit slightly different) language will have had more impact than on these Afghan men than mine. But it was just a privilege to be able to use a few simple songs and stories to set the stage for them to do their thing.