Central Asian Doors are closing, Christians not backing down

By September 15, 2006

Central Asia (MNN) — “Things are really going back to almost what was happening prior to the collapse of the former Soviet Union.” That’s the message from Malcolm Smith with Bible Mission International who just returned from Central Asia.

According to Smith, local religious officials are taking the law into their own hands and persecuting Christians. He says their work has been affected. “We’ve had to change the way our staff is operating in some of the Central Asian countries. I can’t give you specific names and locations just for fear of reprisal. But, we’ve had several ministry programs that have had to be drastically altered.”

Smith says they’ve even had trouble coordinating discipleship and follow up to their summer outreaches. This is happening despite many of these countries claiming they have religious freedom.

Smith says Christians have, “Repeatedly been taken to jails, harassed by the local officials, threatened by the local Imams, watched their literature being burned. They have watch the gates being torn down from the churches; they have been told they will be killed in two weeks; they are not backing down.”

Despite the increasing persecution, Smith says, their workers are willing and ready to continue to do ministry.

Christianity is now facing competition and it’s popular, Smith says. “Other religions are really stepping up their evangelistic campaigns, if you will. They’re stepping up their building programs. They’re planting at a rate of about 20 of theirs to one of our (churches).”

While funding is needed to get Bibles into the hands of believers, Smith says he needs you to help every day. “Just pray. And, pray without ceasing. Because literally every day people are meeting in houses and they’re sharing the Gospel with people who desperately need to know God.”

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