Kyrgyzstan (MNN) — Central Asia's smallest republic has a history full of political turmoil. Each ruling government forced its religion upon Kyrgyzstan, from 17th Century Islam to 19th Century Russian Orthodoxy.
Today, Audio Scripture Ministries aims to introduce the hope of Christ to this country with many different religions but no faith. ASM is in the process of combining recorded Scripture with Christian Kyrgyz folk music to impact the isolated nation.
The majority of Kyrgyzstan is culturally Sunni Muslim, and Islam has a growing influence on state politics. Many attempts have been made to make polygamy legal and arrange for government officials to travel on a tax-free pilgrimage to Mecca. Most leaders have expressed their support for a restoration of religious values; the former president's daughter remarked positively on Islam's growth in a 2007 interview. She said that increasing Kyrgyzstan commitment to Islam was "not a bad thing in itself. It keeps our society more moral, cleaner."
As well as being the smallest republic, Kyrgyzstan is also the poorest of Central Asia's republics. Marriage by abduction, or bride kidnapping, is a common practice. A young woman, usually under the age of 25, is kidnapped by a man who desires her. She is then forced by the man's family into marriage; this practice remains active under Kyrgyzstan's officials, although bride kidnapping is considered a sex crime by most nations. Abducted brides are victims of force, fraud, and coercion, like many trafficking victims.
For this country which is desperately in need of the Gospel, ASM is currently producing God's Word in audio form for distribution, along with digital players. A team that recently returned from the country nestled between China and Kazakhstan has requested 200 players. Estimated costs to supply this request are around $10,000 total. Pray for funding to support this project.