Sadly, up until a few years ago I knew very little about the former Soviet country of Kyrgyzstan. But Kyrgyzstan has been in the news in recent days and many in the world are now looking at this nation as they deal with ethnic clashes and violence. Reports say that as many as 77 people have died in the fighting between the ethnic Uzbeks (natives of Uzbekistan) and Kyrgyz, this has forced many Uzbeks to flee to the border of Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. Due to the influx of people attempting to enter the country, those trying to flee have been stopped at the border because Uzbekistan simply cannot handle anymore people coming in—many of them are women and children.
Kyrgyzstan is the poorest of the Central Asian countries. It borders China, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan. They gained their independence from Russian in 1991. There are over 5 million people living in Kyrgyzstan. While 78% of the people are Muslim, Kyrgyzstan is a secular state with allowed religious freedom. Those who claim Islam and Russian Orthodox would like it to be otherwise. But Islam is more cultural than it is practiced and most of the people of Kyrgyzstan hold to shrines and spirit worship over anything else.
Only 7.83% of the population would claim to be Christian. This is seen as a significant increase and answer to prayer considering that in 1990 there were only 20 known Christians in the country. In 2000 that number had risen to 3,200.
Ways to pray:
- Pray against the barriers to the Gospel. Like many cultural Muslims, to become a Christian in Kyrgyzstan is to deny your family and your culture.
- Pray that God would continue to grow churches and Bible schools in Kyrgyzstan. They have grown numerically since 1990, which is a praise.
- Pray that God would use the economic despair to show the people of Kyrgyzstan that Christ is the supreme treasure and hope for them.
- Pray that the fighting in Kyrgyzstan would cease and the true peace through Jesus Christ would be attained through this turmoil.