Every year, churches around the world join together to pray for and offer help to those who serve the Lord while faced with persecution. And this year, too, on the week of November 3, a worldwide prayer will be held for the persecuted church.
Russian Ministries established the Foundation for Religious Freedom to support the brothers and sisters facing persecution as they serve the ministry in the countries of the former Soviet Union. We are doing all that we possibly can to spread the word about the persecution, to mobilize churches and the public to defend the Right to Religious Freedom and to provide practical assistance to those who find themselves in bondage.
It's no secret that the status of religious freedom in Central Asia, the Caucasus, and in regions of Russia continues to deteriorate. Changes in legislation aimed at stifling religious freedom under the pretext of fighting extremism have swept across all the countries of the former Soviet Union. This has resulted in raids on the assemblies of believers, the confiscation of literature, administrative arrests and fines, a ban on preaching the Gospel, the repression of members of the indigenous population who converted to Christianity, and prison sentences for ministers. Unfortunately, a growing number of countries are beginning to engage in these methods of dealing with the Christian Church. And the following illustrates what our brothers and sisters are forced to deal with:
One of the most egregious cases right now is in Kazakhstan, where Pastor Bakhytzhan Kashkumbaev has been arrested and detained on absurd charges. The Pastor has been subjected to abusive treatment, forced to submit to punitive psychiatric practices, and despite the lack of any intelligible charges, each month the judge continues to extend his incarceration.
In Uzbekistan, the recently converted Tohar Haydarov continues to serve a 10-year (!) sentence resulting from fabricated criminal charges.
In Azerbaijan, one of the largest churches in the capital city of Baku, the Greater Grace Protestant Church, was closed. This country, in which 98% of the population is Moslem, has only two registered churches. The rest are forced to congregate "illegally," risking criminal prosecution.
In Turkmenistan, Pastor Ilmurad Nurliev, who served a prison sentence based on a trumped-up case, is again under pressure from the authorities.
In Russia, no action is being taken for the plundering and destruction of the Church of the Holy Trinity in Moscow.
Neither the leaders of these countries, nor Western governments are willing to strengthen the freedom and security of the Christian communities in Muslim countries and the countries of the former Soviet Union. While Western leaders express their enthusiasm over the "Arab Spring" that swept across many Muslim countries, no one even remembers the "bloody winter" for Christians that occurred at the same time in the same countries. The interests of big business rank higher today than do the life and security of Christians in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and other countries of the region.
“Today more than ever, what is important is the unity of Christians in supplicatory prayer and intercessory action for those who are persecuted for their faith,” said the President of Russian Ministries, Sergey Rakhuba. “The World Day of Prayer on November 3 – this is a great opportunity to ‘remember them that are in bonds’ (Heb. 13:3). This is also a great time to join with Russian Ministries to take practical steps to promote religious freedom and to protect our brothers and sisters from persecution."
We call upon all to join in prayer for the persecuted Church.
- That they may always find hope in God
- That the Holy Spirit may strengthen them
- That their days of persecution be shortened
- That they may always have access to the Bible
- For help to the families that remain without means of livelihood
- For the funds needed by the Foundation for Religious Freedom to continue this ministry.
- For God's grace toward the persecutors.
You can contact us by using the information bellow:
P.O. Box 496 Wheaton, Illinois 60187 USA
You can support the Foundation for Religious Freedom right here