New Birth and True Worship among the Remnants

I don’t know too much about Light House, a group that started out as a charismatic church about twenty years ago and ended up imploding in scandal and acrimony around six years ago. It prided itself on being “pure Kazakh,” but it attracted some Uyghurs too, who set up their own Uyghur language service and had written some worship songs.

I was invited to a “prayer meeting” hosted by the remnants of this group who want to re-establish a real Uyghur/Kazakh church. I was worried about the spirit that would control the gathering, but decided to go anyway. It turned out to be one of the best evenings of ministry in our 26 years here.

The people who had been so deceived in the past were moving in the right direction as they read Ezekiel 34. One of the men told me he had only believed in Isa (Jesus) for the last month and a half and has been reading the Bible for the first time ever since. (He had been in Light House for about a year in the past.) I had several opportunities to forcefully proclaim the truth and how to avoid pitfalls of the past. There was no resistance.

At the end of the meeting, 85 year old Jacob, who became a believer only two months ago, told me his great desire is to “write songs so that people like these (pointing to the three young boys present) will sing them as praises to God long after I die.” What an amazing desire for an 85 year old recent convert who spent his life teaching music!

He says he can write music easily, but he needs someone to provide the lyrics. I thought back to the previous day’s conversation with Zaman, a senior believing woman. She emphasized again and again that we should take the words for our praise and worship songs right out of the book of Psalms. But Psalms is not readily available in Cyrillic Uyghur, although I do have access to two drafted translations on my computer. I decided I need to print those out for Jacob in the near future.

I’ve spent lots of time recently working with various musicians to put Uyghur songs into a smart phone app. Using this app to spread knowledge of Uyghur worship songs is just beginning. In addition, people are starting to add songs in several more Central Asian languages.

Working with worship people from several fellowships is one way to bring a bit of unity to the horribly divided remnants of the Uyghur church in this nation. In the first fifteen years of post-Soviet independence, thousands and thousands of Uyghurs came to “churches” because they were promised, “Come to God and He will help solve all your problems.” The Word of God, sacrifice (other than tithing), and the Lordship of Christ were neglected. That is not the foundation of a lasting movement – remember the house built upon the sand? – and we are busy toiling with the semi-faithful remnants of that false “gospel.”