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Two congregations belonging to the Baptist Union in West Kazakhstan Region were raided by government officials in July as they held summer camps for children. Officials and local journalists claimed that: 1) the churches were trying to attract young people, 2) some of the children may have been present at a religious event without their parents' consent, and 3) foreigners present as "missionaries" didn't have the required state permission.

Light of the Gospel Baptist Church in Oral held its five-day children's camp within the church building from July 4th to 8th, hosting teenagers in the morning and younger children in the afternoon. Most were the children of congregation members, but the ministry team had also invited youngsters from the wider community. Invitations were distributed and a poster was placed outside the building to indicate clearly that the event was organized by the church and that Bible reading would take place.

"Officials from the Regional Religious Affairs Department and the Regional Education Department turned up on three of the days that week during the sessions for younger children," Pastor Aleksandr Dimitrov states. "They were accompanied by a number of journalists. On the Friday, two police officers even joined them." The pastor further explains that all of the children were present with their parents' permission, but refused to show such permission to officials.

Khabar television carried a short hostile news report about the summer camp, including interviews with Bayangul Semgaliyeva, a representative of the Regional Religious Affairs Department, who led the raid; and Oksana Dementievskaya, a journalist who was featured as a "local resident." The news report carried the caption: "Children are being attracted to non-traditional religious organizations." Other reports on persecution in this country may be reviewed here.

Thank you for upholding our brothers and sisters in Kazakhstan who are facing opposition for their faithful efforts to reach others for Christ. Pray that Christians throughout the country will be allowed freedom to practice and share their faith. May the spiritual seeds of the teachings take root deeply within the hearts of the local children so these youngsters can grow strong in their relationship with our Lord Jesus. Pray that the local officials and journalists would recognize the error of their negative reporting, compelling them to instead seek the saving truth of God's Word.

Current Ministry Project

VOMC has come alongside project partners to offer an English camp as an opportunity for evangelism and outreach among youth and young adults. Camp participants are invited to embrace the Good News of the Gospel through the platform of the English Camps.

Project Fund: Equipping the Saints

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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