Christians in Kazakhstan fear loss of religious freedom.

By September 10, 2003

Kazakhstan (MNN) — Will religious freedom continue in Kazakhstan? Christians in that predominatly Muslim nation are wondering as well. Bible Mission International’s Malcolm Smith is there now and says there’s a rumor that the government is toying with the idea restricting it.

Smith says prayer is needed. He says, “There (are) just tremendous opportunities for the Gospel and at the same time there’s oppression. There are whispers of a new law on religious limitations, where they would like to restrict the activities of evangelicals.”

Church leaders have a goal of planting 300 churches in the region by 2005. Bible Mission International is coming along side churches to help.

Smith says he’s amazed at the response of the Gospel in that country. “Every time I’m here I see God doing some incredible things among the national workers. One one hand, it’s great to hear the stories about how God has given them eternal life.”

However, the stories are also very sad. Smith says, “In the reality of day to day living they have to deal with persecution from their husbands beating them, from their families rejecting them. Just a lot of tough things that come with people embracing the Gospel in a Muslim country.”

In the meantime, Smith says their ministry is doing well. Churches are being planted with the help of children’s ministry. “Through summer camps (they) can get to parents so they can develop a core group of believers,” says Smith.

They’re also focusing on one segment of society that’s been somewhat ignored. “The youth are largely untouched. What we’re proposing is to come in an take 30 of the key youth leaders, get them involved in the discipleship, mentoring program where they’re working right along with these frontline pioneer church planters.”

Funding is needed to help train these leaders.

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