Protestant gatherings raided in Uzbekistan.

By March 17, 2006

Uzbekistan (MNN)–Conditions for Christians have deteriorated over the last year in Uzbekistan as the government enacted measures restricting religious freedom.

Missionary activity and unregistered religious communities are considered illegal. A spike in raids on churches over the last six weeks suggests this is likely to continue.

Forum 18 reports raids on February 11, 26 and again March 5. The gatherings in question were unregistered house churches. However, registration is not permitted for communities with less than one hundred members.

Voice of the Martyrs Canada’s Greg Musselman explains that, as such, there is no way for smaller churches to register. He adds that religious literature for personal use is permitted, however, that doesn’t stop police from making questionable seizures of Christian literature.

Musselman says, “I think we realize that the Holy Spirit will work beyond the parameters of a government that makes it difficult for the church. So, the church of Jesus Christ will still continue to go on. We have people that are in Uzbekistan that are witnessing and giving out literature and many times in a very low-key way.”

And prayer is an essential component to ministry. “The intimidation is there, but yet, even in the middle of that, for the strong believers, they actually tend to be motivated, sometimes, so does the opposition. So, they’re still handing out literature, meeting people in their homes, and sharing the Gospel.”

Pray that the believers’ hearts will be ruled by the peace of Christ as the Uzbek government steps up its attempts to control religious activities.

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