Many of you have been following the case of Pastor Bakhytzhan Kashkumbayev, a pastor who served 9 months in prison on false charges of “intentional infliction of grievous bodily harm” to a member of his church. You may recall that his accusor alleged that the red tea served for communion was a hallucinogen that caused physical harm to a congregant. The supposed victim, whose close relative brought the accusations, has denied that the tea caused any harm. The pastor was also accused of spreading extremism.
This past February, Kashkumbayev, who had already served 9 months in prison, received a suspended sentence of four years in prison and three months’ probation. He was released from prison and allowed to return to his family, but has now been notified that the side of accusation filed a notice of appeal and requires tougher sentencing. According to his lawyer Nurlan Baysikeev, the Court of Appeal still has the right to tighten the sentence. The Court of Appeal will hear the appeal on April 18, 2014.
Please be in prayer for Pastor Kashkumbayev this week as Friday’s trial looms on the horizon. In a recent letter, he wrote, “While in prison, at every moment being there, I felt His protection, His mercy and the peace of the Lord, who is always with me and who mightily used me in my imprisonment.” Pray that this same peace will fill him and his family this week.
Father, we are filled with hope as we consider the many ways Your presence has clearly been with Pastor Kashkumbayev. We pray this week for Your peace to fill him and his family. We pray for justice to be accomplished during Friday’s trial, that the sentence will not be increased. We pray that You would soften the hearts of the accusers and we even ask boldly that You would draw them into saving faith. We pray Your protection over the girl whose family brought the charges that You would comfort and protect her. And as we consider his witness that went forth during his time in prison, we pray for those who heard the gospel of Christ preached that You would bring others into their lives to disciple them. In the name of Jesus, who works everything for good for His church, Amen.