A Central Asian Protestant church leader, who is currently actively involved in distributing Christian literature, began his ministry with a simple prayer, “Lord, I want to help, but I don’t know how.”
Sunni Islam and the Russian Orthodox Church are recognized as the traditional religions of Central Asia; all other religious movements are either considered illegal or subjected to serious harassment. In the ongoing fight against non-traditional religious groups, the government of one Central Asian state has almost completely banned the importation and printing of Protestant Christian literature. The country has no officially registered Christian bookstores other than the Russian Orthodox Church stores, which sell candles, icons and Orthodox prayer books. Other Central Asian countries have similar restrictions.
Vasiliy* (50), pastor of a Protestant church, realized the seriousness of this problem. He saw that in order to obtain good Christian literature, Protestant believers would have to travel to Russia or Ukraine to purchase books there. They would then have to risk carrying the books through customs.
While pondering this problem one day, Vasiliy prayed, “Lord, how can I help?” God answered by showing him a way to aid the church in Central Asia. Through one of his friends who was partnering with Open Doors, Vasiliy accepted the challenge of participating in literature distribution to churches in Central Asia.
Pastor Vasiliy recently delivered a large number of books to a Protestant church leader. The pastor was excited to see Pastor Vasiliy, knowing he would not come with empty hands.
“In our country, there is no fundamental Christian education,” the pastor told Open Doors. “People read books from unskilled writers. That is why there are so many problems in the church, and why there are arguments and disagreements leading to divisions and splits. The books that Pastor Vasiliy brings unite God’s people around sound faith and the grace of Christ. I can’t express in words how much we appreciate your help to the churches in our country! Everyone who reads the books brought by you is going through changes and becoming ardent followers of Christ. They receive consolation and encouragement to walk in faith despite difficult circumstances. I’m so grateful to the Lord for you and your work!”
Last week, Vasiliy received a new batch of books to deliver. Calling the pastor of a church in another neighboring town, he received an eager greeting: “Of course, we are waiting for you, Pastor Vasiliy! Come visit us!” Before leaving on his trip, Vasiliy shared, “Each time I distribute books among churches, I imagine that each donated book will open one more soul to the Lord. Thank you to our partners who bless our ministry making it possible to reach people with the gospel in Central Asia and allowing people to open their souls to God!”
Brother Vasiliy currently distributes Power of Praying by Stormie Omartian, Beautiful Outlaw by John Eldredge, and Ten Men of the Bible by Max Lucado.
*Name changed for security reasons
Father God, we stand in amazement that You have chosen to use us, Your humble servants, in Your kingdom work. Thank You for what You are doing through Vasiliy to build Your church in Central Asia. Use Your Word and the counsel of godly authors to bring unity to Your church, to strengthen their faith and to align their purposes with Yours. With the Psalmist David in Psalm 18, we proclaim with our words and our lives that, “As for God, his way is perfect: The Lord’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him. For who is God besides the Lord? And who is the Rock except our God?” Teach them, Father, and make them Your mighty servants. In the Name of Jesus, the living Word, Amen.