(source: Joshua Project & Operation world)
Borders with five countries: Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan. Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan.
Being a majority Islamic nation there is a great need for both church planting and the maintainance of church fellowships. A society that is based on fear and repression needs the Gospel to bring freedom and peace.
Proselytizing is illegal. Tashkent is the capital of the country, and also the “Islamic capital for Central Asia” in terms of influence and numbers. Because of this, the evangelical churches face persecution and harassment daily. Persecution tactics include public humiliation, property seizure, Bible burning, and losing employment or student university placements.
The underground Church is well organised and networked, which helps to create stability and support during times of persecution. However, there is the challenge of many villages yet to be reached – up to 63% of Uzbeks live in rural areas.
Biblical Training: The indigenous believers are offered Bible teaching through Almaty Bible Institute and the Independent Bible Correspondence School [Christian education by extension]. Many students who attend Almaty Bible Institute receive grants.
Sponsoring Leaders: SGA is supporting 5 missionary families.
Christian Literature: This is a pressing need in this country, especially the availability of the Bible. SGA has funded the publication of the Uzbek Bible, but more are always required.
Hope Centres offer much needed practical and spiritual support to vulnerable young people and orphaned children. While some are true orphans, many are ‘social orphans’ whose parents are unable to take care of them, or who have been removed from parental custody due to abuse or neglect.
Joy of Christmas project provides Christmas gifts for many neglected and orphaned children while offering valuable opportunities to share the Gospel.
Widows’ Project provides for many vulnerable in society. Some of these have been converted to Christ from a Muslim background. This can mean abandonment by their husbands and being disowned by their families. SGA classify these as a ‘ cultural widows’ who also require support.
Christian Radio: SGA is providing funds for radio sets and pre-programmed SD cards which are being distributed to isolated Christians and interested non-believers.
Funding for radio programmes is an essential means of providing Biblical teaching and introduction to Christianity, as well as encouragement for persecuted believers.
Evangelism: 1-10 Evangelism – each believer is encouraged to reach ten non-believers with the Gospel through literature packs.
Church Buildings: SGA has helped finance buildings. These provide essential accommodation for believers to worship.
- That a new generation of Christian leaders will be well instructed through ABI and the IBCS. That they will be well equipped especially for leading underground churches.
- That the Uzbek Bible will reach many Muslim families. Praise God for reports of Muslim people reading the Bible and coming to faith in Jesus Christ.
- For SGA sponsored missionaries who are seeking to spread the Gospel in faith restricted conditions. That the underground churches will grow, and a strong network of Gospel advancement take place.
- For those who are persecuted for their faith, that pastors and church leaders will be wise and bold. That Christian radio programmes will bring encouragement and strength through God’s Word proclaimed.
- That all who are helped through SGA’s Crisis Response ministry will feel the love of God and come to Him in repentance and faith. Pray for openings for believers to show their love and care, and freedom to express Christ.