A Story of Persecution in Uzbekistan- Lazar
Have you ever read a story that made you realize how much persecution affects every part of someone’s life? This was one of those stories for me. Naomi, an Open Doors Journalist shares Lazar’s story:
“Two days ago the police raided our house,” Lazar said. “They took away all the Bibles and Christian books that we had in the house.”
He is a Church leader in Uzbekistan, a country which does not often get mentioned in the news, but is known by Open Doors for the persecution of Christians. The roots of Communism have not seemed to wither yet. Uzbek Christians strive to live with faith in God’s promises, despite the fear of surveillance, intimidation and imprisonment.
On the corner of a busy street, I wait for Lazar. I don’t know what he looks like or what kind of car he’s driving. He knows equally little about me. Both of us only know the junction where we have agreed to meet. This is how it is with almost all my meetings in Uzbekistan: only a place and a time. If no one turns up, it may be that at that moment it’s not safe for the Christians to meet me. The surveillance in Uzbekistan is extensive. As a traveler, you’re made very aware of this. I have to register every day and the hotels issue me a confirmation that I had slept there. Upon leaving the country, I have to be able to demonstrate where I was from day to day.
Then a car stops and I suddenly realize: this is him. Lazar has recognized me as a Westerner. I get in, we introduce ourselves to one another and Lazar drives off, looking for a place where we can talk quietly. Lazar has barely been talking for two minutes when he tells me about the raid, two days previously. “Actually, the question was not whether the police would come but when,” he said. “Still the moment itself was nerve-wracking. Suddenly there were ten policemen on the doorstep. I was taken off in handcuffs as if I were a criminal.”
*not actual photo of Lazar