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Beaten and Imprisoned for Teaching the Faith

Country/Region: UZBEKISTAN

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A main street in Uzbekistan, where Christians like Aimurat and Huram face daily persecution. (Photo, Rolf Gross, rolfgross.dreamhosters.com)

Aimurat lives in Karakalpakstan in northwest Uzbekistan. It is a hard place to be a Christian, but Aimurat, who was brought up as a Muslim, gave his life to the Lord and now serves as Assistant Pastor at a local church. 

One day in June 2008 Aimurat, then aged 24, was visiting his senior pastor when police officers arrived and began questioning everyone about their church services and other Christian activities. The police kept them all confined to the house for the whole day, and would not let them eat, or even feed the baby. They searched the house and took away books, video cassettes of weddings, a computer and the senior pastor’s passport.

Hearing the commotion at the house, some of the neighbours turned out, shouting at the police, “What are you doing? Leave them alone!” Their protests made no difference. The police simply ordered the neighbours to stay away or they would be arrested as antigovernment criminals and sent to jail.

Finally the police left, but took with them Aimurat, his senior pastor and some other family members. While the rest were soon freed again, Aimurat was detained on charges of teaching religion without official approval and establishing or participating in a religious extremist organisation. During his time in prison, Aimurat was systematically beaten and told to deny Jesus. At the beginning of his ordeal he was hoping to stay strong but, weakened by the continual beatings, one day he found himself renouncing his faith. The beatings stopped. But Aimurat was immediately filled with remorse and began to pray, telling the prison guards, “You can kill me, but I do believe in Jesus and will never renounce Him!” This enraged the guards, and they began to beat him even more harshly than before until Aimurat eventually lost consciousness. When he came round, he knew that the only way he was going to survive during interrogations was by trusting the Lord Jesus.

After a month Aimurat was set free, covered in bruises and with several broken ribs, but still declaring his faith in Christ.

Persecution Postscript

The Uzbek authorities have now found another way to make life difficult for Aimurat. This year, he got married and wanted to change his internal passport to show his new status. Internal passports are very important in countries such as Uzbekistan as they are used for all important transactions from banking and exchanging currency to buying or selling property. The officials took his passport but did not give him a replacement. This leaves him without any official documents, an extremely vulnerable position in Central Asian society; the saying goes, “Without one’s passport, one does not exist.”

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christian, persecution, charity, church, persecuted, sookhdeo, Islam

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  • On this Good Friday, give thanks to God for the death of Christ and for His gift of eternal life. Praise Him too for the example of those Christians who have persevered in their faith at the risk of their lives and who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of Christ and the Gospel. Pray that their martyrdom will inspire their suffering brothers and sisters in Christ to endure whatever hardships befall them and will convince their persecutors of the truth and power of the Gospel. Pray too that their bereaved families and churches will not grieve without hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13). Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Fri, Apr 2014 00:00

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  • Pray for a church leader in Sri Lanka, S.S. Johnpillai, who was threatened at gunpoint by attackers who claimed to be Special Forces officers. The minister was in a hut next to his church building in Guadalupe, Trincomolee when, he said, the men “appeared out of nowhere”. The intruders put a gun to Johnpillai’s head and accused him of holding a Communion service in honour of the founder of the Tamil Tigers, the government’s opponents in the country’s long and bloody civil war. The government had that day made it a criminal offence to commemorate the group. The gunmen ignored Johnpillai’s protests that he had not dedicated Communion to the group’s founder, and they threatened to shoot him. Ask the Lord to support and strengthen Johnpillai as he recovers from this terrifying ordeal. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Tue, Apr 2014 00:00

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