According to reports from Russian youth ministries, the Gospel is moving in the isolated Central Asian country of Tajikistan. One of the poorest countries in the world, Tajikistan is a Muslim majority country that is culturally closely related to Afghanistan and Iran. Russian Ministries School Without Walls uses its youth adventure learning in the Central Asian country to help spread the Gospel through sports, festivals and children’s games. In the months of July and August, these youth groups were able to reach over 8,000 people with the Good News. Please pray for the continued success of this ministry.
9/9/2013 Tajikistan (MNN) – The Spirit of God is moving in Tajikistan through an unexpected group: kids.
According to Wally Kulakoff with Russian Ministries, Tajikistan is the “least-known” of the 15 former Soviet Union republics. The country has 7.5 million inhabitants, and 2.6 million Tajiks are between the ages of 5 and 16.
“We’re talking about a lot of young people to be reached with an alternative to…the Sunni Muslim people groups in that part of the world,” says Kulakoff.
Sitting on the northern border of Afghanistan, Tajikistan is the poorest nation in Central Asia. Islam is the country’s majority religion, and most belong to the Sunni branch, sharing language, culture, and history with Muslims in Afghanistan and Iran.
This summer, the Russian Ministries School Without Walls (SWW) program shared the Gospel in a “gentle” way, introducing Christ through sports, festivals, and children’s games. During the months of July and August, SWW reached over 8,000 young people.
“It’s not making an altar call, it’s not making a public confession of this and that; but it’s planting the seed, planting the Gospel seed,” Kulakoff explains.
By choosing culturally-relevant channels, SWW students connected with Tajik youth in three different regions. In the capital city, students worked with government and city administrators to organize a “cycling marathon” through Tajikistan’s rugged terrain.
“Some of our School Without Walls [students] are professional, semi-professional bicyclists,” says Kulakoff. “They did a five-day tour where they traveled on their bikes during the day, [and then] they camped.
“As they camped, they had Bible studies and showed a Christian film or a Christian movie.”
The approaches SWW students use may seem casual, but since they’re relevant to Tajik youth, the effects are eternal.
“Many of the young people who were involved in this extreme bicycle marathon…came to understand that to be a Christian is not just going to church and praying,” Kulakoff states.
One young man realized that Christianity is about more than church and praying.
“He said, ‘Because my family is a Muslim family, I will now begin to pray to Jesus Christ, who is the Savior of the world,” Kulakoff recounts. “I will read the Bible and I will pray, and as opportunity allows me, I will go to church.'”
Pray for this young man to stand firm in his new faith. Many Tajik believers who hail from Muslim backgrounds face hardship.
“They’re ostracized, and there are Christian families who adopt them,” explains Kulakoff.
But there is hope.