Forum18 reported how people in Tajikistan have expressed concern about revealing their beliefs to the state in a recent nationwide census.
This is the first time a census has asked individuals to give their religious affiliation since 1937, when Stalin ruled Tajikistan as part of what was then the Soviet Union.
Some fear that those in authority may use the information to target people for freedom of religion and belief violations. “We are afraid that through this the authorities are trying to identify our members and where they are located”.
Believers fear that officials and others in small towns or villages could use the information against them, which could result in severe persecution including imprisonment.
The apostle Paul reminded young Timothy that he was suffering trouble, even to the extent of being in bonds ‘but the Word of God is not bound’ [2 Timothy 2:9].
So it is for our brothers and sisters in Tajikistan. While persecution and even imprisonment are very real possibilities for them, plans are in place for the Word of God to be printed and distributed!
SGA and its Partners in Mission have embarked on an ambitious project to provide 10,000 Bibles in the Tajik language. This will be a set of two Bibles – a Children’s Illustrated Bible and an adult Bible, costing £10 per pack. Praise the Lord that the funds have been raised and our desire and vision is to reach 10,000 Tajik families with God’s Word.
Central Asians enjoy stories and become engaged through narrative. This is the reason behind providing Children’s Illustrated Bibles which contain references to where the full account can be found in the adult Bible. It is felt that through the Biblical narratives Muslim people will be drawn into the full Scripture accounts.
While believers may face fresh faith restrictions, even imprisonment, God’s Word is not bound.
Pray that the 11 SGA Project70 missionaries in Tajikistan and others will be able to distribute God’s Word and that the Holy Spirit will enlighten darkened souls.