Uzbekistan (MNN) — Uzbekistan, one of 15 nations formerly belonging to the Soviet Union, is pretty heavy-handed when it comes to religion. Uzbek persecution puts the country at #15 on the Open Doors USA World Watch List–a ranking of 50 nations where the persecution of Christians is most severe.
According to Operation World, there are “14 different government agencies that monitor religious activity.” Sergey Rakhuba of Russian Ministries says their School Without Walls (SWW) students are feeling the heat.
“Authorities are scared of any evangelical activity,” Rakhuba explains. “[The] evangelical Church is very limited, very much under pressure today, in their outreach activities.”
SWW teaches Uzbek believers how to share their faith with others. *Oltingul, an Uzbek SWW student, was recently interrogated by the police and fined for having Bibles and Christian literature in her home.
“I had to walk [to the interrogation] with my 11-month-old child in freezing weather. As a result, my child got sick,” the student shares with Russian Ministries.
“Because we couldn’t afford the right medication, his illness developed into second-degree pneumonia, but our fellow SWW students generously raised enough funds to pay for my child’s treatment.”
The student’s investigation lasted three months, and she was found guilty of “missions and proselytism” when her case went to court. As a result, the SWW student was fined $1,500, more than any family earns in an entire year.
According to Forum 18, officials often destroy the “illegal materials” confiscated from Christian homes before courts even reach a decision. In addition, “women…are often targeted by officials for pressure. This can include torture…and the threat of this, including rape threats.”
Russian Ministries does what they can to replace Bibles and other resources confiscated by the police. Click here to help by selecting “Schools Without Walls” from the drop-down menu on Russian Ministries’ Web site.
The Russian Orthodox Church enjoys a slight degree of freedom in Uzbekistan, Open Doors shares, but evangelical Christians are equated with terrorists. Please pray for the Body of Christ in Uzbekistan.
“Despite all the circumstances and threats, they continue overcoming all these obstacles and continue spreading the Gospel,” Rakhuba shares.