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The Gospel within the coronary heart of Central Asia

The Church is rising in Kazakhstan.(Photograph: Getty/iStock)

Kazakhstan is the biggest nation in Central Asia by way of its territory and it ranks ninth largest by landmass on the earth. It’s thought-about a Muslim majority nation. The inhabitants of 20 million individuals could be very multicultural, tolerant, multi-religious and open. Politically impartial Kazakhstan is proud that the virtually 100 totally different ethnicities coexist peacefully. Amongst them, Kazakhs characterize roughly 75 per cent of the entire inhabitants. As well as, Slavic peoples, comparable to Russians, Ukrainians, Byelorussians and Poles comprise 20 per cent.

Whereas a beforehand giant German minority has virtually totally moved to Germany, the Chinese language diaspora is rising by the day. There are additionally giant communities of Koreans.

Kazakhstan is strategically and geopolitically very effectively positioned between China, Europe and the Center East, with a rising and vibrant evangelical church to affect this a part of the world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Right now virtually 30 per cent of the inhabitants in Kazakhstan is Christian. Whereas nearly all of them are nonetheless from a non-Kazakh background, the variety of Kazakhs who confess to observe Jesus Christ as their Lord is rising.

Up to now, the Kazakhs had been to a big extent Christian and carried the Gospel so far as China and Mongolia. Solely slowly, Islam unfold by nearly all of the inhabitants. Later, in Soviet occasions atheism grew to become the dominant ideology of the nation.

The brand new begin of evangelical Christianity among the many Kazakh tribes goes again to the Nineties. Certainly, there have been no indigenous Kazakh-speaking church buildings at the moment and solely a only a few Kazakhs who got here to religion within the Russian talking church buildings.

The primary Kazakh-speaking church was began in 1992. Because the very first Kazakh-speaking church pastor, Malik began the Rakhim (Mercy) church in Alma-Aty with a small group of Kazakh believers. After which the evangelical Christian Baptists started to work with the Kazakh inhabitants, and the Kutkaruly Zholy church (translated because the Means of Salvation) was began.

After that missionaries started to return from Europe, North America and South Korea and from different nations. From 1993 to 1998, many Kazakh congregations had been planted with the assistance of overseas missionaries. These years are thought-about essentially the most fruitful years for Kazakhstan, and revival and church development soared.

Growth, development and alliances

The variety of evangelical registered church buildings in Kazakhstan right this moment stands at roughly 400, together with all Russian-speaking and Kazakh-speaking church buildings. The overwhelming majority of them belong to the Evangelical Alliance of Kazakhstan (EAK). You can find ethnic Kazakhs in virtually all the evangelical church buildings right this moment, about 100 of that are registered Kazakh church buildings.

Most of these church buildings are positioned within the south and south-eastern a part of Kazakhstan. There are difficulties in organizing Kazakh-speaking church buildings within the north, east and western elements of the nation because the majority of Kazakhs dwelling within the north and east are Russian-speaking, whereas the West is distant and extra immune to the Gospel.

Not all Kazakh-speaking church buildings are registered but attributable to their measurement or political circumstances. There are about 150 Kazakh-speaking evangelical church buildings in Kazakhstan right this moment, together with registered church buildings and unregistered home church buildings. Kazakh church buildings are sometimes not very quite a few, with normally about 50 church members on common. However there are additionally just a few giant ones, numbering roughly 600-800 members.

Kazakh believers have fashioned their very own affiliation known as Kurultay – ‘conference’ in English. The primary aim of the Kurultay is to foster and convey unity to all the Kazakh evangelical church buildings and take away denominational boundaries, thus serving as one Physique of Jesus Christ and increasing the Kingdom of God in all of the areas of Kazakhstan.

The Kurultay was began in 1999 with the assistance of the Kazakh partnership, a Kazakhstan-based affiliation of overseas missionaries. At first solely the pastors of Almaty gathered for the month-to-month prayer conferences. And in 2000, the primary convention of Kurultay was organized in Almaty. From the very starting, Kurultay was intently related with the Evangelical Alliance of Kazakhstan, constructing a nucleus of unity amongst Christians of the nation.

Right now the Kurultay contains church buildings from virtually all evangelical or Protestant denominations represented within the nation. That features Pentecostals, Evangelical Christian Baptists, Impartial Baptists, Charismatics, Presbyterians, Methodists, and different unbiased Protestant church buildings.

The Kurultay of Kazakh pastors is among the most necessary annual conferences in Kazakhstan. Right here they arrive collectively to fellowship with one another and talk about crucial present points among the many Kazakh-speaking inhabitants. And so they share with one another the issues that hinder the expansion of God’s Kingdom within the nation. The steering committee of the Kurultay consists of 12 pastors from numerous elements of Kazakhstan. The present president is Yerkinbeck Serikbaev.

He wrote to me: “All contributors brazenly share in a pleasant environment about urgent issues, pray collectively and search for methods to cooperate. We attempt to contain as many pastors from totally different church buildings and denominations as doable. In fact, there are pastors who want to be a part of the Kurultay however there are some denomination leaders that don’t enable pastors from their denomination to hitch.

“We imagine that now could be the time to wish collectively and unite like by no means earlier than. One of many important challenges in our nation is to succeed in Muslim Kazakhs and different minority Muslim individuals teams. Regardless that we come from totally different church backgrounds and have variations within the methods and approaches to evangelize the Muslims, we get collectively to debate and discover higher methods to try this.

“We yearly convene pastors and leaders from all areas of Kazakhstan. It is a platform for all pastors to get to know one another, pray collectively to share their expertise, experience and make plans and methods for the longer term.”

Working collectively for the dominion

The checklist of missionary exercise motivated by the Kurultay is lengthy. Kurultay holds outreaches through the largest nationwide vacation known as Navruz (the Central Asian new yr celebrated within the spring), with the aim of sharing the Gospel. Unsaved associates, family members and acquaintances are invited and the identify of the Lord is proclaimed.

Particular conferences and coaching seminars for leaders, youth and girls in addition to summer season camps for youngsters and youngsters are organized by the Kurultay. However essentially the most thrilling ministry is their mission outreach.

Serikbaev states: “We imagine that God has positioned us strategically and given us, the Christians of Kazakhstan, a missionary calling to take the excellent news to Muslim peoples dwelling close to and much. Kurultay organizes short-term missionary journeys and sends long-term missionaries.

“This occurs not solely inside Kazakhstan, but in addition outdoors of Kazakhstan. Kazakhstani pastors and missionaries go to different nations of the Turkic world due to our cultural affinity and non secular background to plant church buildings.”

For instance, a bunch of pastors and different brothers and sisters, went to the Bayan-Ulgi area in western Mongolia, the place primarily Kazakh individuals reside.

“On the final missionary journey there was a bunch of 30 of us travelling on a bus there,” stories Serkinbaev. “We carried out a three-day seminar for believers. And, additionally shared the Gospel with the locals. And each Mongolian Christians in addition to listeners to our evangelistic preaching, expressed their deep gratitude. Listening to the Gospel proclaimed of their mom tongue is particular to them and the acceptance of the reality was overwhelming.”

Right now Kurultay is within the means of registering with the Kazakhstan authorities. The management has already submitted all of the paperwork for registration to the state authorities and hopes to get the official registration by the top of 2022.

Fundamental wants – a convention centre within the metropolis of Almaty

With a rising and aspiring evangelical inhabitants Kurultay wants a middle to develop and manage extra ministries and serve the broader physique of Christ in Kazakhstan and within the surrounding nations. The centre can be tailored for every kind of ministries within the church buildings at dwelling and past. The leaders of Kurultay envision a mission coaching centre for coaching Kazakhs in their very own language to ship missionaries, ministers and employees to nations and locations in Kazakhstan, the broader Turkic world and past.

Kurultay plans to arrange outreach journeys to totally different areas three to 4 occasions a yr within Kazakhstan, particularly to areas the place assistance is urgently wanted, such because the northern, western and jap areas the place there are fewer church buildings and Christians. And so they plan to arrange missionary journeys to Mongolia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Center Japanese nations like Saudi Arabia and different nations the place the church buildings are uncommon and missionaries are welcomed. The potential missionaries will want coaching and the proposed centre will serve them effectively.

However the centre might host many different ministries. Kurultay hopes to ascertain a studio for audio-video recording, web media ministries, a printing press, tv and radio broadcasting studio, prayer centre, dormitories and a corridor for holding mass occasions.

They’re additionally praying to arrange a Christian college by Kurultay. For this they have already got concrete plans and companions that may assist. This may give the kids of Kazakh believers the next Christian training and assist put together a brand new era of followers of Jesus.

In a letter to the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) the management of Kurultay urgently pleaded for the assist and help of the worldwide church.

“Brothers and sisters in Christ, we hope on your assist and prayers. We imagine that we are going to overcome all our difficulties and desires collectively,” mentioned the president of Kurultay.

“We’ve got two choices. The primary is to buy a constructing with a convention corridor and bedrooms and so forth., which we might use for numerous conferences and seminars. That kind of a constructing approximate prices within the metropolis of Almaty 2 to three million US {dollars}. There’s a second possibility, to purchase a plot of land and construct a Turkic heart ourselves. And it prices roughly 2.5 million to three million US {dollars}. For this, we have now plans and initiatives for building. This would be the centre for Turkic-speaking church buildings of our nation and wider Central Asia. At this level we have now raised 100,000 US {dollars}. In fact, this quantity will not be sufficient to purchase an appropriate place or to purchase property and construct. Thanks very a lot! Might the Lord bless you and your church buildings, ministries!”

Because the evangelical household on the earth we rejoice with the Kazakh believers and thank God for the superb development of their church buildings in Kazakhstan. And we must always reply to their plea for assist in prayer and giving. There has by no means been a greater time for this.

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