The population of Kyrgyzstan is 86% Muslim and there has been a revival of Islamic practices since the country gained independence from communist Soviet rule in 1991. Kyrgyzstan was the most relaxed towards Christians out of all the Central Asian countries after independence, until the passing of a restrictive Religion Law in 2009. A June 2020 law on the Manipulation of Information, to enable censorship of online media, was passed but in August the president signed objections to it, saying it needed revision.
As at September 2020, there were 259 evangelical churches registered in Kyrgyzstan, with approximately 32 new churches added since April 2019. But many other churches, mostly small (10-20 members), are unregistered and therefore operating illegally. Christians can be punished for sharing their beliefs in public places and religious literature requires state censorship before it is imported or given away. However, most persecution comes not from the authorities but from Muslim clerics, relatives, employers and the community, especially in rural areas.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, Christians were very active in helping the needy. When the authorities saw one congregation’s zeal in feeding those quarantined in their church building (including the homeless), they gave them a list of isolated elderly people to feed as well.
Emigration is affecting the economy and also the Church, as church leaders leave the country in search of work.
In Kyrgyz culture there is great concern about what happens to the body after death; converts fear being given Muslim funerals because there are very few Christian cemeteries.
Massive protests followed parliamentary elections on 4 October 2020, the results were annulled, and the president resigned.
Thank the Lord for continued Church growth. Pray for protection for Christian converts and ask our heavenly Father to provide for those who cannot get work to support their families because of their faithfulness to Christ. Ask that Christian leaders will stand firm in the face of persecution.
The above content can also be found in the Praying for the Persecuted Church (2021-2022) booklet