The following is an interview with a Christian from Kazakhstan: You are from the country of Kazakhstan. What is life like there? This is the largest of all ‘the Stans’ and is a very diverse country. On the western side is the Caspian Sea, and on the eastern side is China. Almaty is the country’s largest city, and is surrounded by a mountainous range. The winters are very cold and the summers are very hot. Often times, we only hear about the negative aspects of a country where Christians face persecution. What do you like the best about your country? The thing that I like the most about my country is that the people are not materialistic. About ten years ago, we had an ‘oil boom’ and this increased wealth in our nation. Many nations would have seen a great shift in their culture, but the people of Kazakhstan have not chased after materialism. For the most part, the people are still happy with the simple things. I think this is due partially to their nomadic roots. Also, the Kazak people very much value freedom, which is another admirable trait. What kind of persecution is the church facing today (compared to when the country was part of the USSR)? When the country was part of the USSR, people were not allowed to have Bibles in their homes, and churches had to meet in secret. The only church that was allowed to remain (in parts of the USSR) was the Russian Orthodox State Church (but even this church struggled). Persecution varies from region to region today. Under the Soviet Union, persecution came from the government. Today, it can come from the government, but often comes from family members or society. Today in Kazakhstan, indigenous believers, especially converts, are harassed by their own family, neighbors and religious leaders. How can we be praying for the church in Kazakhstan? Pray for church leaders trying to register their churches with the authorities. Pray that God will protect them and grant them favor. *Names, photographs and other information have been changed for security purposes
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