Persecution Intensifies in the “Stan” Countries of Central Asia
As tension escalates Christian children have become targets of abuse in many countries in Central Asia. Open Doors colleagues share of some of the recent trails that they face and ask for our prayers.
When residents in a remote village in Central Asia learned about several families’ change of faith, they prohibited them from using the village’s only water source. Local teenage boys were put in place to guard the well day and night. If they spotted Christians coming for water they would call for adults who would prohibit them from gaining access to the well. Also, if the teenage guards saw children coming, they would throw stones at them. Being especially cruel in their attack against children, they would aim for their heads as threw the stones.
In Kyrgyzstan, a new law is being considered that would, in part, go so far as to ban children from being involved in religious organizations. In a similar move, the church in Tajikistan has to deal with new legislation, the Parental Responsibility Law, which mandates how children are to be taught religion. The law states that the only children allowed to participate in any religious activity, apart from funerals, will be those at state-approved religious education establishments. According to officials, the measure is meant to prevent children from skipping school to attend prayer services in the mosques, but in essence is meant to target the Christian community.
In Central Asia, a volunteer at a Christian camp reflects, “We experienced persecution in our town, sometimes I go with the children of our church to the park, because we know that the police are watching our house to catch us. When we are in the park we pray and sing quietly to the Lord.”
Open Doors colleagues in Central Asia are asking for our prayers, “Will you pray with us for a media project we started especially for children. We distributed the first 1,000 CDs with the theme “Fruit of the Spirit” all over the Central Asian region. Now we are planning to distribute 6,000 CD’s. Please pray for a safe distribution. Pray that many children can receive a CD.”
Father, You are sovereign over all things, including water sources. As you provided for Your people wandering in the desert, we ask that You provide water for Your flock in this village. And Father, we ask that You soften the hearts of the villagers so that they no longer persecute their neighbors; while also drawing them to Yourself. Father, we join in asking for protection over those who gather in Your name, and especially for their children, in all the countries in this region, and for protection for the distribution of the CD’s. That through these faithful saints, and these materials many more will come to know You and call You Lord. Amen