Uzbekistan Christians under attack

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!

Barbara has been involved in missions for over 25 years, both in the field and in publishing.

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5 Comments

  1. minifarms

    Several years ago I was in U for three weeks teaching a farming workshop. I flew to Nukus I handed out 100 Bible DVDs in Tashkent at the airport and Nukus..

    Ate supper in the home of a Muslin. Upon returning home I mailed him a Bible dvd. He wrote me back that he appreciated it and that he has been reading the bible. If anyone in Ugoes to Nukus I will give you his name and address. Would the brethren there like to have the Jesus film in their language? I have a Bible dvd in Russian.

    Ken Hargesheimer, minifarms@gmail.com

  2. MooseHanson

    I certainly will pray for this situation, but as a church of Christ member, there are some things about this report that disturb me.

    First of all, I’m not aware of any church of Christ in the former Soviet Union, or even anywhere in Europe, that has 500 members. Perhaps one of the larger churches in Ukraine is approaching this number, but that estimate seems high.

    Second, it’s my understanding that there are no known churches of Christ in Uzbekistan at all.

    I have seen secular reports on this as well. Is it possible that this is merely a congregation that chose the name “Church of Christ” as is not one of “ours?” Did BNc investigate this possibility?

  3. melissarose

    This is a Church of Christ. Vladimir and Muza and I are members of the same church. He gave a report to the church in which he stated the same things he stated here.

  4. MooseHanson

    melissarose, can you tell me what church you go to? I’d like to look into this myself and see if there’s anything we in the States can do to help … thanks.

  5. minifarms

    I was in U in July, 2004 and understood there were no members of The church in that country. There were less that 3,000 Baptists who were being harrassed. I would like more info as I would like to mail them a Bible DVD as well as the Jesus film [sinner’s prayer deleted]. Or someone take it to them.

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