May 4, 2017
Today, Fred, myself, our translator, a colleague from Bible Mission and our driver made our way to a community near the Chinese border to visit with a couple serving in this area. On the way we saw the Tyan-Shan mountains and saw some of the natural beauty of Kazakhstan.
The area is a particularly challenging one for evangelism. The population is less than 100,000 and is made up mainly of Uigers and Kazakhs with only a small percentage of Europeans. Uigers and Kazakhs are Muslim peoples. Shamanism is also mixed in with the Islamic religion and the Uigers particularly believe in curses and superstition.
The Bible Mission organization originally bought a house in the area with the hope to plant a church and reach out to this area which desperately needs to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Two previous families tried to live there to plant a church but were unable to start the work, finding the task impossible. Through church contacts in Almaty, this couple answered the call. They have three boys and one girl. They live and work in the community and create relationships among the Uigers and Kazakhs.
We met the couple in their home which they had recently repaired themselves. The husband is very good at construction and helps neighbors with construction. He also started a small greenhouse business with another man to grow produce. It is important in this culture that people work and in this way they get respect and build relationships. On Sunday they do have a kind of service in their home. From time to time people from Almaty do visit them for encouragement and fellowship.
They gave us a wonderful lunch, and while we were there, the husband shared his testimony. Although he was raised in a Christian home he rebelled against Christ. He was caught as he was preparing to break into a place to get cigarettes. He served three and a half years and was released because of good behavior. In prison he found Christ and studied his Bible. He came out a changed man.
We were very impressed by the dedication of this young couple to go to an area where there is no church for the express purpose of planting a church. They are like Paul who worked as a tentmaker as he served as a pioneer for the Gospel. As Jesus said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
May Calvary have a similar passion to reach people for Christ!