Tajikistan (MNN) — A few days from now marks the one-year anniversary of the implementation of the religion law in Tajikistan. It greatly limits the rights of believers from many religions. Sammy Tippit Ministries is still coming to the aid of Christians even in the face of legal restrictions.
At the end of 2006, Sammy Tippit went to Tajikistan to train church leaders in prayer. Despite the law, they received no opposition because of their strategy. "We did it very privately. Normally when we go into Muslim areas and Muslim countries, we try to do our leadership training in a very quiet way and not something where we make a lot of noise," said Tippit.
"God has been moving in a tremendous way in the country. There has been some real persecution in the past, but at this moment, there seems to be an open door and a little more freedom to move and to do some things," Tippit said.
About 50 leaders were in attendance, primarily fromTajikistan but also from Uzbekistan and Afghanistan. Church leaders helped others from the surrounding area and nearby countries to attend.
The conference focused on teaching leaders to develop a personal prayer life. "We believe that any great work of God must begin with the leaders' prayer life, so that's where we began with them," said Tippit. He helped prepare them to reach others in their villages and their families.
Tippit's session on "Praying for Your Family" hit a chord among the leaders who come from non-Christian families. "We really feel like the best way to do evangelism is to start with that circle of people around you who are the closest, and God must prepare their hearts to receive the Gospel. And we are seeing in that region of the world God do a mighty work among families," said Tippit. In neighboring countries such as Iran, entire families are coming to Christ.
Tippit reported that since the conference, there has been fruit. One leader's wife began praying for her father who was a Muslim and has many wives. He has since begun attending church with them and is now open to the Gospel. "He sent us an e-mail and was just really thrilled about the new openness that has been in her father about the Gospel of Jesus Christ," said Tippit.
There are already plans for more leadership training conferences. "They're wanting us to come back quickly and do a broader one with all of the surrounding countries because it went so well. As a result of the conference, the Lord has been blessing the evangelistic outreach of the leaders who were there with us," said Tippit.
Prayers are the greatest need of Tajik Christians, especially in the face of one of the most repressive religion laws in Central Asia. "Tajikistan is a place that really needs a lot of prayer. I mean it is a needy place. The Christian community is not large there. It is small," said Tippit.