Supporting Pastors and Christian Workers
Country: Central Asia
Central Asia (the former Soviet republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan) is the vast area between the Caspian Sea and China, with Russia to the north and Afghanistan to the south.
In many parts of this region churches are raided and Christians are arrested – especially if they are meeting in homes because they cannot get their church registered. Pastors have been prosecuted for allowing children to attend their meetings, and have been fined, imprisoned, and had their activities banned. Promotion of faith can also result in prosecution and imprisonment, while Bibles and Christian literature have been confiscated and destroyed.
‘People who become Christians are forced out of society and face many problems at work,’ says pastor Anton, from Tajikistan. He described a teenager who became a Christian. When his family found out, they locked him in his house and beat him. ‘They made him lie on a cold floor for months,’ said Anton. ‘I praise the Lord that he gave him strength not to give up on Jesus. Eventually he managed to escape.’
The Supporting Pastors and Christian Workers project supports 22 workers across the Central Asia region and has been running for more than 15 years. These workers lead churches that are generally too poor to support them so many of them have part-time jobs. Release International provides additional support to supplement their income so they can devote sufficient time to ministry.
The workers regularly report how non-Christian neighbours in trouble turn to them and find wonderful answers to prayer which lead them to put their trust in Jesus and become his followers. These new believers are then built up in faith.
What Your Support Achieves
Twenty-two Christians workers are being supported across Central Asia. People living in remote and under-evangelised areas are being reached with the gospel and are coming to faith in Jesus. Bibles, Christian literature, and study materials are also being provided.
This committed long-term support is a great encouragement to the workers and enables a consistent Christian witness in hostile environments.
If you would like to support this project, or others like it, please visit releaseinternational.org/give and select ‘Christians suffering oppression for the sake of the gospel’ from the drop-down menu.