Pastor Amin* is one of the most gentle people you will ever meet. He diligently serves the Lord in his Central Asian country, planting and pastoring a church, organising summer camps for Muslim children and founding a rehab centre for drug addicts and alcoholics.
Recently however, he received the same kind of death threats as those which led up to the murder of a fellow pastor some time ago.
Amin worked as a deacon in his church for many years where he helped another pastor named Rashid. Several years ago, Rashid said to Amin, “I feel that death for the gospel follows me. But I won’t hide. I will be exactly where God wants to see me.”
One day, Rashid left the ‘prayer house’ and got into his car. Suddenly, a man wearing a black mask approached the vehicle, pulled out a gun and shot him through the window. The bullet hit Rashid’s head and he died on the spot. The gunman was never found.
Amin is now a pastor of a big church that consists mostly of former Muslims. A Christian couple, Shamil* and Aisha*, were devoted Muslims, but came to faith in Jesus through relationships with people in Amin’s church. Now they are dedicated to preach the gospel to their Muslim friends and relatives. “We want to share Christ in our native language. That is very important because Muslims in this country call Christ ‘a Russian God’. We want to help them accept the truth.”
A couple of months ago, Amin was called to the federal security service. “The officers told me they had indications that extremists were planning to kill me and my family. They said I needed to be careful and stop my ministry. They said it would be even better if I left the country for good. Just a couple of weeks ago, I received another warning from them.”
The threats came closer to home when aggressive people showed up at his door. One of them said: “I am a faithful Muslim, so I have to participate in ‘jihad’ to do my God’s will.”
“Do it if you must. Here I am,” Amin responded quietly. The attackers were surprised by his courage and calmness. After several minutes of conversation, the Muslim man admitted: “I came to kill you because you preach about an alien God and turn faithful Muslims into Christians, but something prevents me. I don’t understand what is happening, but I will come again.”
In Amin’s country, radical Islam is on the rise, which makes the situation harder for the small number of Christians. But Amin continues his ministry there, and echoes the words of his deceased mentor: “I will never hide.”
*Names changed for security reasons
- Give thanks for Amin’s faith and service for God. Pray for him and his family, for protection, especially in the light of growing threats against them.
- Give thanks for Amin’s church, and the members who reach out with the Gospel to their own people. Pray for them, for a strong faith and witness, and for many in this country and region to come to follow Jesus.
- Pray for good, culturally appropriate resources to disciple new believers to maturity.
- Pray for protection for Christians across Central Asia, a region where it is becoming harder and harder to openly be a Christian.
Proverbs 2 vs 7 – 8: “The Lord … is a shield to those who walk blamelessly, guarding the paths of justice and preserving the way of his faithful ones.”