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An historical Russian cathedral in Almaty.
Photo: Flickr / Martin Lopatka (cc)

On March 25th, as New Life Pentecostal Church in Kazakhstan's commercial capital of Almaty was commemorating Good Friday, police launched simultaneous raids on five church-owned buildings and the homes of six pastors and church workers. Although a court approved the searches in January, it remains unclear why the authorities waited for two months before conducting the raids. The raids came eight months after prosecutors opened a criminal case against the church on alleged charges of large-scale fraud, charges the church vigorously rejects.

"We're not fraudsters," a church member from Almaty explains following the raids. "On the contrary, we help people. We've been working here in Kazakhstan for 26 years." The church has expressed concern about the widespread hostile reporting of the criminal case and raids by the local and foreign Russian-language press. "You can understand the impact this is having on children of the church members (especially of the leaders) in school."

A member of another church elsewhere in Kazakhstan expressed concern over the wider impact of media coverage announcing allegations made against Almaty's New Life Church. "This has an impact on all Christians across Kazakhstan," the church member told sources on March 30th. "People will be afraid to come to any church or to have anything to do with churches."

This is not the first time police in Kazakhstan have launched a series of searches and made strongly disputed allegations that were repeated by local media with no right of reply given. Churches in this area have had to deal with compulsory registrations, interrogations and threats, persistent raids of church property, and many unjustified criminal cases opened against them. Other reports of religious persecution in this country, as well as informative video clips, are available at the Kazakhstan Country Report.

Let us join together in prayer for the churches in Kazakhstan that are having to contend with these various challenges due to the extremity of governmental restrictions and oppression. Ask the Lord to provide these Christians needed encouragement, wisdom as they deal with the authorities, justice in the court system, and the strength to persevere in the midst of trial. Pray that He will abundantly bless them for their faithfulness. May they also be reminded that these temporary earthly struggles are nothing in comparison to the glory and great rewards awaiting them in eternity for honourably upholding His name. In the meantime, may they continue shining His light and love to all around them -- blessing even those who curse them.

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Country Information

Population
19,245,793 (July 2021 est.)

Ethnicity (%)
Kazakh (Qazaq) (68), Russian (19.3), Uzbek (3.2), Ukrainian (1.5), Uighur (1.5), Tatar (1.1), German (1), Other (4.4)

Religion (%)
Muslim (70.2), Christian (26.2), Buddhist (0.1), Other (0.2), Atheist (2.8), Unspecified (0.5)

Leader
President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev (2019)

Government type
Presidential republic

Legal system the theory and practice of the Russian Federation
Civil law system influenced by Roman-Germanic law and b

Source: CIA World Factbook

Pray for Kazakhstan

Pray that authorities will cease their harassment of unregistered church communities. Until then, pray believers will effectively minister the gospel despite opposition.

Pray for endurance for those believers facing these challenges.

Pray for the adage “To be a Kazakh is to be a Muslim” to be broken; pray for freedom from historic spiritual bondages and prejudices.

end

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Kazakhstan News

  • Parliament Debates New Religious Restrictions
    Kazakhstan Senate - Photo: Wikipedia / SenateKZ
    Kazakhstan Senate
    Photo: Wikipedia / SenateKZ (cc)

    On October 6th, amendments to Kazakhstan's religious laws were approved by the Parliament and then passed on to the Senate. The legislation added new restrictions to religious events conducted outside a building of worship owned by a registered re

    ...
  • Religious Worshippers Monitored and Fined
    Oral, Kazakhstan - Photo: Wikipedia / Bereshev
    Oral, Kazakhstan
    Photo: Wikipedia / Bereshev (cc)

    Since the beginning of 2021, at least 20 cases have gone to court in Kazakhstan for holding religious meetings without state permission. The fines brought against them varied from three weeks' to four months' average wages. Amendments are also pres

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  • Appeal Fails to Halt Seizures
    New Life Curch - Photo: Ivan Kryukov
    New Life Church property in Almaty
    Photo: Ivan Kryukov (cc)

    On September 17th, a court in the city of Almaty upheld an earlier decision to seize two buildings owned by the New Life Protestant Church. The facilities were being used for worship, as well as a means of support for those suffering from

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  • Church Buildings Confiscated
    Grace Church member praying - Photo: Grace Church via Forum 18 www.forum18.org
    Church member prays outside Grace Church.
    Photo: Grace Church via Forum 18

    City officials in Kazakhstan's capital of Nur-Sultan have ordered the confiscation of the Grace Presbyterian Church building, as well as the place of worship being constructed on the same site for the Agape Pentecostal Church

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Kazakhstan Videos