Earlier this year, Berik Aryn, Kazakhstan’s vice minister for religious affairs and civil society, was at the United Nations in New York. He was at a global event called “Religious Leaders for a Safe World.” Aryn gave a keynote address where he talked about the upcoming Congress of the Leaders of World and Traditional Religions that is held in the Kazakh capital of Astana every three years. About 100 delegations from more than 40 countries are expected to attend. The Congress’ stated purpose is to “address vital issues such as the growing efforts of religious actors to collaborate with political leaders and civil society, their commitment to foster tolerance and respect for religious and cultural diversity, and to engage young people across the world to prevent them from falling into violent extremism.”
Ironically, evangelical churches across Kazakhstan and the other nations of Central Asia frequently face pressure—if not outright persecution—from governmental authorities! Our prayer is that such a global spotlight will help encourage governments to protect the rights of churches to worship freely, so that countless millions will recognize that a saving relationship with Christ is the only way to true, lasting peace.