A Glimpse Into A Forbidden Church

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By Emily Watt | 14 August 2020

In Central Asia, government officials suppress all Christian activity, monitoring and arresting anyone showing “suspicious” religious behaviour.

But hidden away from the watchful eyes of authorities, an illegal church service is taking place. And it is full of children.

In this country (which cannot be named for security reasons), sharing the gospel with anyone under the age of 16 is illegal.

The secret church is in a quiet residential area, tucked away inside an old, crumbling building. Church members travel hours to attend, bringing their families to hear about Jesus. Children get the rare opportunity to learn from the Bible and eat food.

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Image: A young girl reading encouragements, in her family's house church. (Central Asia)

The service begins with worship. Church leader, Kurban*, leads with a booming voice, no fear of who may be listening outside. Someone shares from the Word, followed with an opportunity for the congregation to share openly.

A young girl named Treasure comes to the front. She recites a poem she has memorized about Jesus. At home, Treasure sleeps in a single-room house where her mother earns a living as a sex worker. It’s a dangerous life for a child, but at church, Treasure finds hope and acceptance.

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Image: Treasure enjoying hearing a piano played. (Central Asia)

For local partner, Kurban*, his dream is to transform the church into a Centre of Hope for children, like Treasure, who are all too familiar with the reality of poverty and hunger. Many of them grow up in broken homes, filled with addiction and abuse.

Kurban’s ultimate hope has been to grow and strengthen the next generation of Christians in Central Asia who will continue sharing the gospel, no matter what the future holds.

“When the Church stops saving lives, it starts to decay. It begins to fall apart. The only hope the Church has is to save just one more.” – Open Doors’ local partner.

Thanks to those who supported Treasure at Open Doors Live 2019, Kurban’s dream became a reality and the Centre of Hope was built, giving many children a safe place to learn about God and receive life-saving support.

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Image: The next generation of Central Asia believers and leaders.

This year, you have a chance to do it again!

Open Doors Live has been postponed to 2021. But just because we can’t meet together, doesn’t mean we can’t change the world.

By empowering the next generation, like Treasure, you can strengthen the church in Central Asia as they follow Jesus, no matter the cost.

*Names changed for security purposes.

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