On Sunday 7th February, a group of seven or eight Christians, some of them children, were arrested in the Samarqand region of Uzbekistan when police stormed a Christian gathering.
The believers were taken to the police station and held until 4 am. One of the women in the group lost consciousness and an ambulance had to be called, and some of the children have since become ill from the cold.
Among the Christians who had gathered were a church leader and his family. Police seized his documents and ordered that he return the next day for questioning.
Churches and house meetings are often raided in Uzbekistan, and the believers treated like criminals. All churches are required to obtain official registration, but this is made almost impossible through bureaucratic demands.
Anyone found guilty of attending a Christian meeting, teaching the Bible, or training leaders can face a heavy fine, even when the churches have the required authorisation.
In terms of religious freedom, Uzbekistan is the most repressive of the Central Asian republics. Evangelism is illegal and the publication and distribution of religious literature is subject to intense state control.
- Pray for believer in Uzbekistan, for courage in the face of often intense oppression, and for a strong faith and unity.
- Pray for Church leaders, who are often subject to questioning and harassment. Pray for protection for them, their families and their churches.
- Pray for the Uzbek government, that they will come to allow freedom of religion and worship for all Uzbek people.
- Pray that they church will continue to grow in Uzbekistan, and across Central Asia.
Ephesians 6 vs 12: “For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”