Police Scrutiny of Christians in Turkmenistan Escalates
Recent incidents in Turkmenistan have signaled increased scrutiny of those who possess Christian literature, keep CD’s or DVD’s with Christian content, or gather together for worship or Bible study. Many believers are now afraid that state officials may cut their gas or water pipes or take away their land that they depend on for planting crops. Believers are also concerned that the state representatives could cause problems for them at their work places. Some secret church members have resorted to gathering for worship services outside of the cities or holding services under cover of darkness. Some of the local pastors have also been followed by the police as part of surveillance efforts that are carried out everywhere. Local police officers have even warned some pastors that if they are proven to be distributing banned literature and illegal meetings, they will be sent to the jail.
Pastor Zaurbek* of the Protestant Church in Turkmenistan is under constant police scrutiny, followed everywhere by secret police officers who are watching him day and night. Police know that Zaurbek has a brother in Europe who works for a Christian TV station, which doubles the attention on Zaurbek from the secret police. Please pray for Zaurbek’s security and God’s protection of Zaurbek’s church and his ministry.
Pray also for Pastor Nurjamal*, leader of a local church in Turkmenistan. The police follow him everywhere, even trailing him when he visits his family. Please pray for God’s protection of his family, especially for his children and his wife. His wife Madina*, who is a doctor at the local hospital, recently learned that there is a real possibility that she will be fired from her job. It is becoming clear that their family’s faith in Christ is the reason she may be fired. In March 2015, Nurjamal was fined two weeks’ local wages after the police raided the private house of his friend and found a Bible and an Injil (Gospel in Islam). The police accused Nurjamal of distributing religious literature.
Zaurbek and Nurjamal are just two of the Christian pastors subjected to this constant scrutiny. Please remember the Christians of Turkmenistan in your prayers.
*Names are changed for security
Father, we do pray for fellow believers in Turkmenistan. We thank You for their faithfulness in the midst of this opposition. We pray that You will grant them much wisdom—wisdom to worship in secret when necessary and yet boldness to stand faithfully for the truth of Christ when it is called for. Close the eyes and ears of the authorities to the presence of Christian materials that might implicate them and those to whom they minister. Give the believers opportunity to share the gospel of Christ in ways that are careful and effective and that Your Spirit would draw others to faith. In the Name of Jesus, whose kingdom we serve, whether we live in America, Turkmenistan or any other country of the world, Amen.