Christian literature is seen as the oxygen of Protestant churches in Central Asia. Getting hold of a Bible or other Christian literature in countries like Azerbaijan is not as easy as it may seem. In one particular Central Asian country (which cannot be named for security reasons), only 10% of the population has access to a Bible. In this country, religious literature is banned.
Meet Alisher* (45), pastor of a secret Church in Central Asia. Husband of Mariam* and father of three children, Alisher is actively involved in Bible and literature distribution in this specific country.
Recently, Open Doors workers joined Alisher on a road trip across this country to distribute literature to the secret church there. “Once or twice a month I take literature and Bibles to different churches,” Alisher explained. “The literature I bring is very diverse and covers different subjects. There are books about financial management, there are books about raising your children, and very often I have books on theology. Of course I also bring the most popular book – the Bible.”
For five years, Alisher has engaged in the transportation and distribution of literature in Central Asia. After receiving books from an OD coordinator in one of the cities of his own country, he secretly delivers books to churches in other regions. Because he has built relationships with pastors from different denominations, Alisher always knows who needs what.
“Alisher is a very important person for us,” says Rasoul*, pastor of the Baptist underground church. “Without the literature that Alisher brings to us, it would be extremely difficult to lead the Church.” Visiting Rasoul in his house late at night, they unloaded boxes of books and brought them into his house. “I know of only one Christian bookstore in our country, but it is very far away and books out there are very expensive! Besides, they do not always sell relevant books. Alisher knows what we need and brings exactly what we are looking for,” Rasoul said with a smile of gratitude on his face.
After just two days, the trunk of the car was empty. All of the books had been given away. The road trip was over. “Next month I’ll bring Bibles and children’s Bibles into the villages,” shared Alisher. “Not everyone has the opportunity to get a Bible. We need to make a difference. Delivering Bibles and literature is risky, but I intend to continue in this work. Faith comes by hearing.”