Last week in Uzbekistan police ransacked the house of a local church member as they searched for Christian materials. She was also taken to the police station for questioning. While searching her house, police confiscated her personal literature, her computer and her passport. Though she has been released from police custody, the court hearing on her case is pending. The police also questioned her about a key ministry person in the area. Please pray that the police will not find anything among her belongings to use against her in court, as well as for His protection over her and the whole ministry in Uzbekistan.
Also, please pray regarding the illegal confiscation of two buildings belonging to a non-registered Christian church in another Uzbek village. Back in 2000, a US citizen, Mrs. Pyang Hyun Kyung, purchased two houses in one of the villages in Tashkent region for the local church to be used as facilities for church services. In 2005, she was killed by unknown assassins. After her tragic murder, Stas, a local pastor who was given legal authorization and power of attorney by the children of Pyang Hyun Kyung, and took over responsibility for the church and its facility. Pastor Stas had been taking care of the church facility, paying all of the expenses, and keeping the building in very good condition since that time. Recently, Hakim, the mayor of the village, illegally appropriated the buildings, claiming that the buildings had no owner. When Pastor Stas protested, the court not only rejected his protest, but also canceled the power of attorney issued earlier by the state notary. Pastor Stas is asking that we join in prayer, asking for the buildings to be returned to the church and that they will be declared the rightful owners.
Additionally, prayer is requested for Pastor Bakhytzhan in Astana, Kazakhstan, who is still being detained by authorities. The investigation surrounding his case was scheduled to be completed by Nov. 15 with the court hearing to follow. However, the court hearing did not take place and the lawyer who is defending Bakhytzhan is suing the prosecutor for illegal confinement of the pastor in prison. Pastor Bakhytzhan’s health has reportedly been declining in prison.
Faithfully pastoring the church since 1995, Pastor Bakhytzhan (67) openly preached about the spiritual freedom one receives through forgiveness in Christ. This made some angry and strong opposition came against his ministry. In October 2012, a criminal case was initiated against Pastor Bakhytzhan, who was then investigated on charges of “intentional infliction of grievous bodily harm” to one of the members of his church. Police raided the church, confiscating literature and money. Police alleged that church members were given “a drink with hallucinogens.” The alleged “hallucinogen” was red tea from a local distribution network, which was used as a soft option for the Holy Communion.
On May 17, 2013, he was arrested and charged with this alleged criminal offence. Awaiting formal charges Pastor Bakhytzhan remains in police custody and faces the possibility of a long prison sentence.
Father, we pray for this dear Uzbek sister who is facing a court hearing. We pray for the protection of this woman and others with whom she works as police go through the materials confiscated from her home. Fill her with Your peace as she faces the trial. No matter the outcome, we pray that Your presence in her will shine forth in a dark world, and that You will use the circumstances to increase her faith and continue the spread of the gospel throughout the region. We pray for Pastor Sas that You will grant him favor in the courts as he seeks to re-establish his power of attorney and have the use of the buildings returned to the church. And we pray for Pastor Bakhytzhan in Kazakhstan, that You would preserve his health as he remains in prison, that You would hasten the court hearing and bring about his release, that You would grant strength and peace to his family as they wait, and that wherever he is, Your presence in him would be evident to those around him, drawing many to saving faith. In the name of Jesus who hears our cries and acts on behalf of His church, Amen.