For Pastor Omar (not is real name) in Central Asia, preaching the gospel could very well cost him everything. Last week, the National Security Department summoned him with a warning that he must stop holding church meetings, threatening arrest and imprisonment should he not comply.
Technically, church meetings are legal in Pastor Omar’s country, yet tight restrictions make gaining the necessary government registration almost impossible. As many in his congregation travel from nearby villages to attend church meetings, the church is refused registration on the grounds that they lack enough members in a single location, which leaves Pastor Omar with an impossible choice: risk everything to continue the ministry, or protect himself, his family and his congregation by complying with the government’s demands?
Currently, church members are meeting together secretly and will continue to do so while their church is denied official registration. Their situation is not all that different from the churches in the New Testament, who risked it all to gather together for fellowship, baptism, communion and worship, and this church in Central Asia also recognises the importance of meeting together to encourage and support each other in these difficult times.
- Pray for Pastor Omar and his congregation as they continue to meet together. Pray for protection for them, their families and property.
- Pray for the government to grant registration to this church, and to many churches like this who are struggling with the ever tightening government restrictions.
- Pray for unity for the Church in Central Asia.
- Pray for Christians to not lose heart, but to encourage one another, support each other and stand firm in their faith.
- Pray for a move of the Holy Spirit across the nations of Central Asia, that many will hear and respond to the Gospel and come to know life and hope in Jesus.
Hebrews 10 vs 24 – 25: “And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.“