Uzbekistan violence is a concern for believers

By April 2, 2004

Uzbekistan (MNN) — Islamic extremists are being blamed for recent violence in Uzbekistan. Suicide bombings, kidnappings, and other violence may be coming from those seeking an Islamic state in the Central Asian region. It may also be in response to Uzbekistan becoming a U-S ally after the September 11th bombing.

These attacks, however, aren’t a surprise to Bible Mission International’s Malcolm Smith. “We know that folks in this part of the world have been stirred up by the obvious conflict in Iraq,” says Smith. He says, “We just know that this is a real hot spot because what it’s done is it’s kind of flushed some of the extremists out of the other hot spots and into this area. It’s not something new, but could have serious consequences for us.”

While this may be backlash to western influence in the region, Smith believes their work should be fairly protected. He says, “We’ve made a choice as a mission that we would not be involved there using a lot of western people. And, for that reason we did training with the nationals, so that if the westerns were expelled from the country our work would continue.”

Bible Mission is assisting local churches in their “Central Asia 300” project. It’s an effort to establish 300 churches. “In May we will be having a gathering of leaders and church planters and getting a mid-term report. And, by some definitions of churches, we’ve already reached our goal,” says Smith.

Youth ministry is also a major initiative. Smith says, “The majority of the people that we’re working with there in the Central Asian regions fall in that 4 to 14 window, four years of age to 14. So, we’re seeing a great harvest there. We just ask people to continue to pray for the work in that part of the world.”

Leave a Reply