Central Asia 2018-02-19T20:27:56+00:00

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Central Asia – ‘the least reached region’

Firstly, what do we mean by Central Asia? The Turkic- and Persian-speaking peoples encompass an area stretching from Southern Russia to Pakistan and from Turkey across to north-west China. This region of Greater Central Asia accounts for half a billion of the world’s population. If we narrow it down to the former Soviet Central Asia, we are really talking about the countries of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

What unites these countries is that they are Muslim states run by post-communist regimes. Their people are not devout in their adherence to orthodox Islam, preferring a more pragmatic folk Islam.

When the Iron Curtain collapsed in the early 1990s, a door was opened for workers to meet the very real needs of the people and, at the same time, share the gospel. Churches quickly sprang up over the region, as Tajiks, Uzbeks and others turned to the Lord. However, the political mood changed again and mission workers found themselves persona non grata (not welcome). Turkmenistan was the first to expel mission workers, followed closely by Uzbekistan.

Protestant denominations have always been present despite opposition and repression. Following more than two decades of relative freedom for gospel work, there has been fruit. Churches look very different – some are big, some are small, some sit down to sing while others stand, some are in Russian and others use the local language.

Persecution of the church in Central Asia comes from two directions, and we we might identify three main motives behind persecution…[end of sample extract]

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