Editor’s Note: This report was received from Vladimir and Muza Vakhrushev, missionaries to Russia.
TASHKENT, Uzbekistan (BNc) — In March of 2009, Russian authorities cracked down on a church in Smolinsk that was teaching the Bible to children. We prayed fervently for that situation, and God heard our prayers and reversed that decision on appeal.
Now a similar problem, but potentially much more menacing, is facing one of the largest churches of Christ, with approximately 500 members! This church is located in Tashkent, capital of Uzbekistan (formerly a part of the Soviet Union). The church was established in 1999, and owns its own property.
Tashkent was the third largest city in the former Soviet Union, after Moscow and Leningrad. The population of Tashkent is now primarily Muslim; Russians make up about 40% of the population.
One man entered a charge against this church for teaching the gospel to his son without his permission (very much like the previous case in Smolinsk), and the government officials moved in. Eight leaders of the church were arrested (detained for 24 hours), and were told to stop all church activities.
We fear that this is an effort to frighten Christians, likely a test case in how to stop Christians from worshiping at all.
Appeals will certainly be made, and our prayer is that the result will be dismissal as it was last year. Believing fully that God answered our prayers last year, we ask that we all join in constant prayer for this church and for a softening of government’s heart in these matters.
Please remember our brothers and sisters under such pressure in Uzbekistan, with prayers that God will not only work in the hearts of their leaders, but that he will grand them courage to stand up in the face of this present danger!