Published: 00:01 GMT Standard Time - Wednesday 14 December 2011
Advent Prayer - Uzbekistan
Country/Region: Central Asia, Uzbekistan
This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 1 John 4:9
|Barnabas Fund supports ministry among Muslims in Uzbekistan, where religious activity is severely restricted|
“I have prepared an axe for you, which will be flying after you, observing you, and if need be get you.” This was the threat made by a senior police officer in April 2011 to Anvar Rajapov, a Christian in Uzbekistan. Mr Rajapov was fined 80 times the minimum monthly wage for evangelising and holding illegal religious meetings following a raid on his home in Tashkent. Local Christians believe Mr Rajapov was targeted because he had left Islam to follow Christ.
Uzbekistan is officially a secular state, but a strict religion law severely limits all religious activities, making it one of the most restrictive countries for religious freedom in Central Asia. Police frequently raid all types of Christian gatherings, from those held in churches to meetings taking place in private homes. Examples of harassment in 2011 include these: a Baptist church in Tashkent was raided; Bibles were seized and the Bible Society of Uzbekistan was fined over the importing of Bibles; and a Christian woman was fined for giving a children’s Bible to a work colleague.
Barnabas has provided funding to support theological training conferences in Uzbekistan to equip church leaders to minister in a context of rising persecution and injustice. We have also funded projects to help Christian converts from Islam to set up small businesses that enable them to earn a living. We supported Pastor David (Dmitri) Shestakov and his family during his time in prison. David was released on 24 January 2011 after serving four years at a remote labour camp for “incitement to religious hatred”. Since his release, he has been under “administrative supervision”, which includes a curfew and a ban on visiting public places. Local Christians fear this is intended to suppress him and his church.
Pray for Christians in Uzbekistan as they endure harassment, threats and raids. Pray for an end to the persecution, for compassion from the authorities and for a change in the law so that Christians will be allowed to meet together for fellowship without fear of punishment. Ask for the Lord’s protection over His people in this country, and pray that the Church will continue to grow. Give thanks for David’s release, but pray for strength for him and his family as they endure the added restrictions placed upon him since his release.
Barnabas Fund projects in Uzbekistan include:
This article is taken from
“Praying for the Persecuted Church in Advent 2011” -.