Central Asia 11996
Glory to God! We Continue to Work
by the National Director
A few years ago, a new religious law was passed which limits opportunities for Christian churches and other faith organisations. Many missionaries have been deported, and those who remain are observed by law enforcement bodies. It is now very difficult to register a Christian church; to be more precise, at the moment it is impossible. But glory to God! We continue to work. There is no pressure on us from the authorities, and it is not forbidden for us to sell Christian literature. We are open to the public and strategically located in the centre of the city, near to government ministries and the university.
The First CLC Bookshop in Central Asia
by Ed Keene
The USSR had just recently collapsed and virtually all the departments and functions of government had melted away. Even the system of laws had ceased to exist at the practical level. Everyone was left to do as they deemed necessary. Earning a living became almost impossible, and infrastructure of any kind began to seriously deteriorate. Spiritually, it was a very dark and hopeless place. Suicides were epidemic. Though nominally a Muslim land, in fact, religion had very little influence in peoples’ lives. They had been forced to abandon their traditional language, culture and religion. These conditions proved to be fertile soil that the Lord had prepared for the preaching of the Gospel.
We bought a small ground floor apartment and converted it into a bookstore. There was at first no legal way of getting Christian literature into the country, so we began by smuggling our stock on trains from Moscow. One dark morning we were discovered by a customs officer and it seemed we were in a lot of trouble. Providentially, at the same time, a person who was loading his contraband computer next to us attracted the attention of the customs officer as well. Since he could expect a larger ‘fine’ from the man with the computer, he let us go. When this happened, we realised that God could provide a legal way of importing books if this store was really His doing. We decided we would no longer be smuggling, but we would trust God to provide. This He did. Not long after this, we received a shipping container of books from Grigori Torchillo from CLC in Belarus. People came from all over Central Asia to get our books. There was not another source of Christian literature within 1200 miles!
Books Outside the Bookshop!
On a regular basis, there is a table with free books and tracts outside the bookshop. Although we rarely know who takes this material, one year a girl took a book and, as a result, became a Christian. Only six months later did she return to the shop to tell her story!
Another time an elderly man took a tract and read it. He was so excited that he came into the shop, holding the tract, saying “this is the truth!”.