They kicked him repeatedly in the head as he lay helpless on the floor. They fractured his jaw, smashed his teeth and left him semi-conscious, saying they would come back and kill him if he did not leave the village. This is how angry Muslims in Kyrgyzstan treated Eldos, a Christian convert, who refused to return to Islam. Then they threatened to falsely accuse him and drag him through the law courts to prison.
In Uzbekistan, “Umida’s” husband was so angry when she became a Christian that he slit her throat.
Convert churches, suffering together for the Lord
Many Muslims in Central Asia are turning to Christ – and very soon learn what it is to suffer for Him. Muslim-background churches are telling us that every believer in their fledgling congregations is facing some form of persecution or pressure.
For Eldos and Umida, it was brutal physical attacks. Others are thrown out of the family home. Some are repeatedly arrested and fined by the authorities.
Severe poverty is the price that many new believers pay to follow Christ
Many new Christians lose their jobs. Often they have to quit because their employer insists that every worker attends Islamic prayers several times a day. Then they cannot find another job, as Muslims usually choose to hire fellow-Muslims. Eking out even a meagre living can become nearly impossible.
And then winter comes
The harsh winter is already beginning to bite in Central Asia and the seasonal summer work from fruit picking and tourism that many Christians rely on for a little income has come to an end. The bleak winter months stretch ahead, when food prices soar and money is needed to buy fuel to heat homes against the deadly cold.
Hard-pressed but close-knit, new convert churches are asking for help
Convert churches in Central Asia are small and close-knit. They do all they can to minister to their congregations in practical ways as well as spiritually. But, with very limited resources, they cannot care for all those in desperate need, and have asked Barnabas Aid to help.
Barnabas is enabling some of these most vulnerable poor convert families to endure another harsh Central Asian winter with monthly food parcels during the cold half of the year.
Tears of joy
“Marina” was in tears when she thanked her pastor for the bag of food a few days ago. Her son's new shoes had been taken from him by Muslim boys at school. He had nothing else to put on his feet but slippers. Marina’s husband earns only £55 ($70; €62) a month, barely enough to feed the family. But a child cannot keep going to school in slippers, especially when there is snow on the ground. If Marina bought him shoes, there would be no money for food. That is why she cried for joy at the bag of food from Barnabas Aid.
Help us bring joy to more poor and persecuted convert families in Central Asia
It costs an average of $32 to provide a monthly food parcel, distributed through local churches, containing nutritious staples including buckwheat, canned beef, vegetable oil, rice, flour and pasta for one Central Asian Christian family.
Will you help these brave converts, despised and rejected by their communities, to know that they have a new Christian family that cares for them?