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Raided by Government Spies, a Church in Central Asia Endures Unthinkable Persecution

May 31, 2017 by Nick Nichols in

Nadine couldn’t stop the tears…

She’d never met the precious life growing inside her, but she’d never felt more alive, more in love or more connected.

But the weight of persecution she was forced to endure was too much. The stress. The tension. All of it overwhelmed Nadine and her unborn baby. And just as quickly as she cried for joy at her pregnancy, she cried tears of grief and loss.

Nadine, enduring the most painful of circumstances, finds hope believing her baby is now in the arms of Jesus.

And she can even smile, knowing the perfect love of Christ is all her baby will ever experience. But even in her hope, she can’t escape the sting of loss as she continues to live out the gospel—and paying the painful cost of faith.

The reality of persecution in Central Asia

Nadine and her husband, Tammar, pastor a young church in Central Asia.

In this area of the world, secrecy is critical for the survival of the church. Many believers are former Muslims who face violence and intense pressure from friends, family members and especially the government when they accept the gospel. 

Shavkat Mirziyaev, the new Prime Minister since late 2016, continues to resurrect the ideology of communism. His leadership leverages old cold-war tactics to expose Christians—underground church raids, threats, hefty fines and detention and interrogation. The government’s ideology is based in blinded paranoia. And their efforts at mind-control are relentless.

That’s why churches are required to register with the government. And the penalty for refusal is severe. But a successful registration is seemingly impossible, and risky. Because the government is quick to imprison anyone who doesn’t believe the teaching of the state-sponsored Islam.

Infiltrated and raided

When Nadine and Tammar realized their church had been exposed, it was too late. A few individuals, claiming to be Christians, but were government spies infiltrated their group. And a government force, based on the intel of their spies, raided their church on Easter Sunday.

Under the threat of pain, every believer signed a confession–admitting their involvement in illegal activity. And Nadine and Tammar paid a hefty fine.

But to ensure Nadine and Tammar got the message, the individuals who had infiltrated their group cut a dog’s head off and left it in their yard with a sign that read, “We’re watching you.”

The cruelty was too much for Nadine to handle. The pressure. The tension. The stress. And it ultimately cost her the life of her baby.

When our team on the ground met with Nadine and Tammar, they asked for prayer—for comfort and peace to fill the hearts of each member in their young church.

But it’s astounding, even after experiencing such a tragic loss, Nadine could say, “Because this is happening to us, we know we are on the right track.”

Releasing the treasure in jars of clay

This is evidence of the incredible power of God at work—revealed through the brokenness of His people. It’s just as the Scriptures say, “We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us” (2 Corinthians 4:7).

That’s why we believe persecution is one of the greatest vehicles of expanding the gospel throughout the world.

When believers endure, when their bodies are broken, when they’re stripped of their dignity, when everything is taken from them and yet they stand upon the words and promises of God—God’s strength is made manifest.

Just like a jar of clay, when the vessel is cracked, the content on the inside comes out. Sometimes slowly, even imperceptibly. But eventually you can see the presence of the content. You can feel it. And anyone who handles the vessel, the substance transfers upon them.

For the believer in Jesus facing persecution, when they faithfully standing strong through the storm the light of the gospel  illuminates the darkness.

This is why—and how—we pray for persecuted Christians 

So we pray fervently for believers like Nadine and Tammar. But not for God to remove them from persecution. Rather, we ask God to empower them to stand strong. So that their suffering, and their endurance, will demonstrate the gospel. For God’s glory to be revealed to:

  • change the hearts of their captors
  • transform lives of those who wish to do them harm
  • build His Kingdom in Central Asia and throughout the Earth

Will you join us in praying for our persecuted brothers and sisters?

Can we pray for you too?

And can we pray for you—and any situation, pain or struggle you may be facing today?

God will never give you anything you can handle on your own. Because He wants you to depend on Him. He when He accomplishes His will in your life, He wants the credit and the glory. So, even when it seems too hard or impossible, embrace your struggle and your weakness, and allow God’s strength to work His purposes in your life.

And please allow us to stand with you. Just leave your request in the comments so we—and all our brothers and sisters—can pray for you.

May this word from the Scripture encourage you, no matter what may be weighing you down:

“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body” (2 Corinthians 4:8-10).

Nick passionately supports the persecuted church by leveraging his God-given gifts to share their stories with the goal of making the reality of persecution unavoidable for the worldwide Body of Christ. You can connect with him on Facebook.

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