Tension rises in Central Asia

By October 12, 2012

Turkmenistan (MNN) — Earlier this month, Forum 18 News Service reported that police raided the home of an elderly couple in Turkmenistan. They beat the woman's hands until they bled and dragged her husband into the street. Eleven believers who were present when the raid occurred have been fined two months' average wages, said Forum 18.

"This sort of thing is intensifying across Turkmenistan and some of the other Central Asia and former Soviet Republics," said Joel Griffith with the Slavic Gospel Association.

One believer told Forum 18 the situation in Turkmenistan had gotten "markedly worse since July" with no clear indication of cause.

SGA is trying to exercise caution in light of recent attacks. Griffith said the ministry no longer mentions names of pastors serving in various SGA ministries, which include church planting, leadership training, and youth ministries.

"We're just trying to be a lot more careful on how we handle information because we don't want to draw undue attention and possibly put [ministries] in jeopardy," Griffith said. "We try to keep our services to the churches there as discreet as possible."

Learn more about the work of SGA here.

While danger rises for believers in Central Asia, Griffith encourages believers to hope in the Lord. "We have to remember who the Lord of the Church is," he stated. "We have to take this before the Lord because He is the One that can change the hearts of the rulers and the authorities. He also, of course, has the power to protect His people."

Ask God to protect His people in Turkmenistan. Pray that the Gospel would continue to spread throughout Central Asia.

"We know that He's promised to build His church no matter what man does," Griffith added. "We just need to make sure that we continue not only to support our brothers and sisters through prayer, but also through SGA–trying to get them the resources they need for effective ministry."

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