Kazakhstan’s religion law is a concern, but it’s not stopping ministry

By June 16, 2005

Kazakhstan (MNN) — Reaching people when they’re young is the key to changing a life for eternity. That’s why Slavic Gospel Association is investing heavily into summer youth camps throughout the Commonwealth of Independent States (the former Soviet Union).

SGA’s Joel Griffith says they anticipate reaching 6,100 children in Christian camps throughout the CIS. “In Russia we got camps going in about 14 regions and that should reach about 3,000 children. In Uzbekistan there are about 630 children. In Ukraine, we’ve got about three regions where camps will be held and that should reach about 500 children, and then Kazakhstan we’re expecting to reach about 200. Then in the nation of Armenia, it’s going to reach about 1,750 children.”

Even though Kazakhstan’s religion law change could limit outreach to children, SGA is still planning to hold camps in Kazakhstan. “It’s still really too early to tell in Kazakhstan what will happen. Go back to Russia when that original religion law was passed. There were some rather dire predictions. Well, it got passed, but by and large, incidences of what I would call real oppression have been somewhat sporadic and regional.”

Griffith thinks he knows why these types of laws are being passed. “I think many of the government leaders in the ‘Stan’ countries are concerned about radical Islam taking place. Because of that fear about radical Islam I think some of them might perhaps think that they have to put the clamps down on everybody.”

But, Christians are relying on God, says Griffith. “It definitely bears watching, it definitely bears prayer, but we serve a sovereign God who opens and closes doors as He wills. The churches, they’re trusting in God to get the Gospel out no matter what happens.”

Your financial support is vital to making these camps happen. Griffith says it’s a worthwhile investment as these summers camps are some the most effective youth outreaches they have.

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