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Mar 05, 2024
Central Asia
Editor’s Note: The following story is about an SGA-supported pastor in Central Asia.

When is the right time to be bold for our faith in Jesus? For many, it is in the context of our Sunday morning service. For a few more, it might be the grocery store and someone you meet when shopping. But how do you feel about sharing your faith when it might mean you are fired from your job or might lose a friend? How about even under the threat of death? 

There are many through the history of the Soviet Union who testified to Christ shortly before they were executed. An estimated 175,000 followers of Christ are martyred around the world for their faith each year. For Stephen, who stood before angry men with rocks in their hands, that was the perfect time to share the Gospel (Acts 7). For Paul, dragged before politicians to mount a defense (Acts 24) or shackled to the Praetorian Guard (Phil 1), it was the perfect time. In the same measure, we are exhorted to be ready with the Gospel in all circumstances, to give praise to God in all times, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus (I Thessalonians 5:16-18).

A faithful pastor in a predominately Muslim region attempted to hold an Immanuel’s Child supported Christmas outreach and was immediately arrested. “Yesterday, the pastor and his team were detained by police after conducting IC program in one of the villages. This is one of the villages in which he distributed humanitarian aid in the past where the need is great. Through this ministry of mercy, with the assistance of SGA, he opened a new location for preaching the Gospel and has been conducting Camps and IC outreaches there for several years. This time he came with his team (his oldest daughter is in the team as well), and by the end of the event, 15 police officers had arrived and began searching the house where the service was taking place and began interrogating him and also the owners. The search yielded nothing except books and stars. But all the books were officially approved by the government, so the police could not label them as illegal or terrorist literature, as they originally wanted.” 

It is not a surprise that darkness hates the light, and that those who preach the Gospel boldly will be persecuted. As they persecuted Jesus, so they world will persecute those who walk in His footsteps. This pastor was brought before the authorities and interrogated.

“This pastor and his team were put on a bus and taken to the police for questioning. During this trip on the bus, he was asked questions and he answered them, testifying about Jesus that He is the Son of God and the Savior. He referred to the Bible and citing some passages from the Bible, and the two policemen listened very carefully. One of them remembered that Christians once treated him very well when he was at another job, and the other asked how to make a savior save you. 

“The pastor told them . . . and this policeman said Amen, that Jesus is the Savior. When they arrived at the police station, the bosses began to threaten and accuse him of terrorism, and these two policemen tried to defend him. It took more than seven hours before they were released. He was then summoned to an “anti-terrorist” office the following day where he left copies of the New Testament and again shared the Gospel for which he was detained. After being released again, he went to the next village and held an Immanuel’s Child supported outreach.” 

This brother walks in the footsteps of his Lord and master Jesus Christ. It is in such times that our Lord is most ready for us to share of our hope within. Be faithful, for God is always faithful.

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