Azim Janbakiev is the pastor of Rakhym Presbyterian Church in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Recently, the city administration has forbidden the congregation to hold their worship in their building, despite the fact that it is owned by the Rakhym Church. The City claims that the building does not have the status of a religious building. Pastor Azim recently shared:
“Since the beginning of the year, we were forbidden to hold services in our building until we bring all of the building documents into the order. When we decided to find out what’s going on, we found out that there are some ‘neighbours’ who have written a complaint to our church. These neighbours do not like the fact that there is an active Christian church in their area, contrary to the faith of their ancestors, their traditions and national values. There are 47 ‘activists’ who have signed the complaint, putting pressure on the authorities to close the church. By law, it was necessary to check who these ‘activists’ are who are inciting inter-religious strife and turning society against another religion. Instead, public authorities support them and have selectively put pressure on the Christian church. Our attempts to renew the documents and status of the building for worship services are blocked by the authorities.”
In addition to the hardship for the congregation, Pastor Azim is under additional pressure as they have also lost their family’s income.
- Pray for Pastor Azim, his family and for other Kazakh Pastors, who face similar pressure from the authorities. Pray for provision for their families, for faith that stands firm and for encouragement for them and their congregations.
- Pray for the Kazakh Church, to grow strong and with a deep, mature faith in God. Pray for those needing registration, to find favour in the eyes of the authorities.
- Pray that Kazakh Christians will have opportunities to share the truth of the Gospel with their neighbours and that many will come to know Christ.
- Pray for the Kazakh government to see Christianity, not as a threat, but as a positive influence in their country, and to allow freedom of worship.
1 Peter 3 vs 12: “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer.”