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Kyrgyzstan

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These Christians belong to a church planted by evangelists who received support from Barnabas

In 2013 Kyrgyzstan tightened up its already repressive Religion Law. New rules on the production, distribution and importing of religious literature have imposed a higher level of censorship on Christian materials. Groups that are seen as “non-traditional” and therefore suspect, such as Protestant Christians, are most likely to face problems, and if their literature is branded as “extremist”, they may find themselves banned altogether.

The Religion Law of 2009 requires every congregation to apply for registration. This is a cumbersome and difficult process and requires the church to have 200 founding members. Unregistered religious activity is banned, as well as worship in homes and in public locations. Registered groups are subject to intrusive monitoring by the authorities, who may attend services, take photographs and ask questions. Religious literature must be examined by state “experts” for possible extremism, and its distribution in public places is prohibited. The law also restricts evangelism and forbids the involvement of children in religious groups.

Kyrgyzstan is 83% Muslim, and the Christian minority of around 15% is subject to discrimination; Muslims sometimes influence village elders to make life difficult for them. In particular, Christians living in villages are often refused permission to bury deceased believers in their home village. Among the ethnic Kyrgyz, leaving Islam is seen not only as apostasy but also as a betrayal of one’s Kyrgyz identity and family; converts often face severe pressure and threats from their relatives and communities. Many Christians have emigrated, reducing congregational numbers and depriving churches of leadership.

The majority of the population of Kyrgyzstan is Muslim, but often only nominally. For centuries Kyrgyzstan was ruled by foreigners who imposed their religion on the people, and Christianity is sometimes seen as the religion of non-indigenous Russians, Ukrainians and Germans. Yet over recent years the number of known Kyrgyz believers has been growing steadily.

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    • “It is not typical for a man to show or talk about his weaknesses and admit them. These days the fear and pressure from the authorities and the Muslim world reveal the condition of my heart.” A Christian leader in Central Asia shared frankly in a letter the way in which the constant pressure he faced was wearing him down. He wrote how, having finally recognised his fears and defeats, he had then received encouragement from the Lord through the words of 2 Corinthians 1:1-10. Pray for our brother “M.T.” and the countless other Christians around the world living with ongoing opposition that the Father of compassion and God of all comfort will draw close and comfort them in all their troubles. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 22 hours ago

    • Thank the Lord that, with the help of Barnabas Aid, two house churches in a strict Central Asian country were able to purchase coal-powered generators. Winters there are harsh, and the power supply can Barnabas is helping 30,000 displaced Iraqi Christians be erratic. This particular congregation used to meet in a church building, but in 2009 their permit to assemble was revoked and seven of their members were questioned at the police station. Since then the church has had to meet in members’ homes. Pray that the Lord will continue to bless their ministry and that the generators will allow the church to continue to expand despite opposition from the government. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sat, Nov 2014 00:00

    • An Uzbek Christian who had converted from Islam died earlier this year and was buried. The local Muslim leaders banned any Muslim from attending the man’s funeral. But one of his work colleagues, a radical Muslim who had been struck by the Christian’s words and way of life, attended the funeral anyway, ignoring all the threats and warnings. She was puzzled by such a hostile reaction to a man she knew to be “God-fearing”. At the funeral she heard the Gospel and decided to give her life to Christ. Pray for “F.” as she is now being disciple and growing in her new faith, that she will be strong in the face of opposition from the Muslim community. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Fri, Nov 2014 00:00

    • Pray for hundreds of Christian, Yazidi and Turkmen women held in Badush Prison in Mosul, Iraq by ISIS militants. The women are reported to be raped daily unless they agree to convert to ISIS’s brand of Sunni Islam. The UN estimates that there have been roughly 1,500 Iraqi women and children from the Christian and Yazidi communities abducted by ISIS and then forced into sexual slavery. Ask our Heavenly Father to have mercy on each one of these women and children and to deliver them from evil. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Thu, Nov 2014 00:00

    • Give thanks to the Lord that, through the generosity of Barnabas Aid supporters, over 30,000 displaced Christians in northern Iraq are being assisted through four local partner organisations on the ground. By funding the distribution of food, blankets, hygiene items and other basic needs, Barnabas has enabled them to survive their first months of displacement. But their needs will be greater now, as the Iraqi winter has set in. Pray that God will provide. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Wed, Nov 2014 00:00

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