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Kyrgyzstan

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These Christians belong to a church planted by evangelists who received support from Barnabas

In 2013 Kyrgyzstan tightened up its already repressive Religion Law. New rules on the production, distribution and importing of religious literature have imposed a higher level of censorship on Christian materials. Groups that are seen as “non-traditional” and therefore suspect, such as Protestant Christians, are most likely to face problems, and if their literature is branded as “extremist”, they may find themselves banned altogether.

The Religion Law of 2009 requires every congregation to apply for registration. This is a cumbersome and difficult process and requires the church to have 200 founding members. Unregistered religious activity is banned, as well as worship in homes and in public locations. Registered groups are subject to intrusive monitoring by the authorities, who may attend services, take photographs and ask questions. Religious literature must be examined by state “experts” for possible extremism, and its distribution in public places is prohibited. The law also restricts evangelism and forbids the involvement of children in religious groups.

Kyrgyzstan is 83% Muslim, and the Christian minority of around 15% is subject to discrimination; Muslims sometimes influence village elders to make life difficult for them. In particular, Christians living in villages are often refused permission to bury deceased believers in their home village. Among the ethnic Kyrgyz, leaving Islam is seen not only as apostasy but also as a betrayal of one’s Kyrgyz identity and family; converts often face severe pressure and threats from their relatives and communities. Many Christians have emigrated, reducing congregational numbers and depriving churches of leadership.

The majority of the population of Kyrgyzstan is Muslim, but often only nominally. For centuries Kyrgyzstan was ruled by foreigners who imposed their religion on the people, and Christianity is sometimes seen as the religion of non-indigenous Russians, Ukrainians and Germans. Yet over recent years the number of known Kyrgyz believers has been growing steadily.

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Daily prayer

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  • On this Good Friday, give thanks to God for the death of Christ and for His gift of eternal life. Praise Him too for the example of those Christians who have persevered in their faith at the risk of their lives and who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of Christ and the Gospel. Pray that their martyrdom will inspire their suffering brothers and sisters in Christ to endure whatever hardships befall them and will convince their persecutors of the truth and power of the Gospel. Pray too that their bereaved families and churches will not grieve without hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13). Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 22 hours ago

  • Cry out to the Lord for Christians in the Central African Republic (CAR) who have been driven from their homes by the violence that has engulfed their country. Attacks by Islamist Séléka militants and retaliation from “anti-balaka” militias has generated a huge humanitarian crisis in which around two million people, many of them Christians, are in need of emergency assistance. Give thanks for the work of Barnabas partners who have been providing food rations to hundreds of displaced believers in the capital, Bangui, and distributing food, medicines, clothing and seeds to thousands in various regions. Pray that the aid will reach those who need it most, and that the Lord will comfort the relatives and friends of the thousands who have been killed in the fighting. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Thu, Apr 2014 00:00

  • “Jesus Christ performed tremendous miracles in all our lives through this Shalom Camp.” A pastor spoke of how God had worked through a Barnabas-sponsored weekend Bible camp for persecuted Christians in Sri Lanka. The camp was attended by believers from five different churches that had been the target of threats or attacks by Buddhist or Hindu extremists. The participants heard teaching on the Biblical basis for persecution and took part in group discussions; they came away refreshed and encouraged, and for many the camp was a time of great spiritual renewal. Give thanks to the Lord for the peace He has brought to these persecuted believers, and ask that the weekend will continue to bear much fruit in their lives. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Wed, Apr 2014 00:00

  • Pray for a church leader in Sri Lanka, S.S. Johnpillai, who was threatened at gunpoint by attackers who claimed to be Special Forces officers. The minister was in a hut next to his church building in Guadalupe, Trincomolee when, he said, the men “appeared out of nowhere”. The intruders put a gun to Johnpillai’s head and accused him of holding a Communion service in honour of the founder of the Tamil Tigers, the government’s opponents in the country’s long and bloody civil war. The government had that day made it a criminal offence to commemorate the group. The gunmen ignored Johnpillai’s protests that he had not dedicated Communion to the group’s founder, and they threatened to shoot him. Ask the Lord to support and strengthen Johnpillai as he recovers from this terrifying ordeal. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Tue, Apr 2014 00:00

  • Lift up to the Lord persecuted Christians in Sri Lanka, where at least 65 anti-Christian incidents took place during 2013, including repeat attacks on several believers and their property in October 2013. However, a Sri Lankan government minister from a Buddhist nationalist party denied the accounts, saying that they might be “made up”. The minister claimed that Sri Lankans are “one family … trying to live together after a long civil war”. Pray that the Sri Lankan government will recognise the danger that our brothers and sisters face from militant Buddhists and that the authorities will provide effective protection for vulnerable Christians. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Mon, Apr 2014 00:00

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