Tammar and Nadine pastor a young church in Central Asia. Back in April, Nadine was thrilled with the news that she was pregnant. But this joy soon turned into mourning.
Unbeknownst to them, government spies posed as Christians and infiltrated their church. On Easter Sunday, the government raided their church, forced confessions from church members and levied hefty fines on Tammar and Nadine. To ensure Nadine and Tammar got the message, the individuals who had infiltrated their group cut a dog’s head off and left it in their yard with a sign that read, “We’re watching you.”
In the trauma and anxiety of these events, Nadine lost her baby. Her only comfort was knowing that this precious child was in the arms of Jesus. She could even smile, knowing that the perfect love of Christ is all her baby will ever experience. But even in her hope, she couldn’t escape the sting of loss as she continued to live out the gospel, paying the painful cost of faith.
The prayers and encouragement they received from Open Doors inspired them to continue with their ministry. “God showed to us through your help His Glory and Mercy to us and our people,” declared Nadine. “Now we keep praying for you. It is so good to know that we have brothers and sisters abroad and that we’re not alone! Thank you again!”
But their troubles were not over. Recently, Tammar, as pastor, hosted 18 Uyghur people who wanted to be baptized. There was also a Korean pastor present who decided to make this baptism a big celebration as they typically do in Korea. Tammar was not sure this was a good idea, but he didn’t want to go against this pastor’s decision. They rented a swimming pool for two hours and dressed themselves with white tunics and crosses. They started to sing loudly and the Korean pastor preached, also very loudly. After that, they prayed and baptized the 18 Uyghurs. During the baptisms, security officers and police raided the place, arrested them all and questioned them for several hours. Someone had secretly shot a video of this event with his mobile phone and texted it to the police.
The local church members present were fined 710 euros each. Tammar and Nadine were also fined and they are now under police surveillance The Koreans hired a lawyer who appealed to Tammar not to pay the fines for some time and to stop his activity for a month or so. Tammar is very worried about that; he thinks that an appeal could worsen the situation. “They would summon all the believers for questioning as witnesses by threatening them,” he said. The Korean believers wanted to serve, but they were not aware of the situation in Central Asia. It was not wise to have such a noisy “baptismal party” in a Muslim country.
Adding to Tammar’s troubles, a foreign missionary was in regular contact with several Christian believers who now visit Tammar’s church. Recently, this missionary came to the country, angry with Tammar. “You stole my sheep!” he charged. Tammar is very upset because of this and replied that he didn’t “steal” believers. They came to Tammar because they wanted to be part of a Christian community. When the missionary was asked how he got in contact with “his sheep,” he answered, “Through internet!”
Because of all the tension with this missionary and the raid, Tammar and Nadina are emotionally exhausted. They still haven’t healed from the loss of their baby and to now experience so much stress is too much. They are taking a sabbatical from their church work, having moved for a while to another place to recover. Please join us in praying for them.
Father, our hearts break for Tammar and Nadia, for all the suffering they have experienced because of their faith in Christ Jesus. We pray Your protection over them and over this house church he pastors. We pray for the appeal to be successful that no further fines will be required and we pray for the police to withdraw their charges and cease their surveillance of Tammar and Nadia. We pray that the conflict with the foreign missionary will be resolved, that the name of Christ will be honored and glorified in their city. And, for now, we pray Your healing balm to heal the grieving and troubled places in their souls. Refresh them, body and soul, during this sabbatical from their work. And when they have been restored, we pray for a great harvest for Christ in their ministry. In the name of Jesus, our shelter in the storms of life, Amen.