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Helping hands find Gospel opportunities

By August 23, 2013

Kazakhstan (MNN) — Gospel workers are finally reaping a spiritual harvest in Kazakhstan!

Kazakhstan, a mountainous country in Central Asia, shares a folk Islam and Russian Orthodox heritage. (Image, caption courtesy OM)

Kazakhstan, a mountainous country in Central Asia, shares a folk Islam and Russian Orthodox heritage. (Image, caption courtesy OM)

Under Communist rule in the Soviet Union, religious worship or expression was strictly forbidden. There was a brief opening for the Gospel across Central Asia when the Soviet Union broke apart in the early 90’s.

Since then, religious freedom has declined in Muslim-dominated Kazakhstan.

In June, a report prepared for Open Doors USA noted the rise of militant Islam throughout Central Asia. The following month, the chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom said Kazakhstan is no longer a leader in Central Asia on freedom of religion or belief.

However, it’s no match for Operation Mobilization’s Silk Road Challenge.

According to its website, the Silk Road Challenge is a ground-breaking outreach of local Central Asians reaching out to other Central Asians all across the Silk Road. Countries on this historic route include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

This summer, a Silk Road Challenge team offered to help one Kazakh family collect their watermelon harvest.

“Complete strangers offering to help in such heat?” workers asked.

They gratefully accepted and when everyone took a break to share a juicy watermelon, the team had a chance to share the Gospel. The father had watched a film about Jesus and admitted, “I want to go to heaven, but I think I’ll go to hell because I am a bad person.”

He wanted to believe, so the team continued sharing. This family accepted Christ that day, starting a small house church and a ripple effect.

The outreach team visited this family daily to disciple the new believers, and the Gospel continued to spread after the summer outreach reached its end. Now, a total of seven groups meet in homes twice a week and monthly as a large group.

Praise God for this Gospel growth in Kazakhstan.

There’s increasing pressure on Muslim ethnic groups in the region to turn wholeheartedly to Islam, as millions of dollars are poured into building mosques and material aid.

Pray for the clarity and Truth of Christ to penetrate hearts and minds. Pray more doors will be opened for the Gospel in Central Asia.

Read more about the Silk Road Challenge in Kazakhstan.

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