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On Sunday, September 23, police and other unidentified officials raided the home of a Baptist family in the northern city of Dashoguz during a church meeting. The owner of the home, 77-year-old Begjan Shirmedov, was dragged from the house by his collar. About 15 church members were questioned and religious literature was seized. When Begian's wife, 68-year-old Kerime (Klara) Ataeva, complained about the mistreatment, authorities beat her hands until they bled.

Earlier that month in the same city, police raided a religious meeting at a private home. Three Christians were fined after being found guilty of violating the "law on religious organizations." The charge carries a punishment of fines of between five and 10 times the minimum monthly wage for refusing to register a religious community or for participating in an unregistered religious community. One of the fined Christians, Oleg Piyashev, was visiting Turkmenistan from Russia at the time of the raid. A Russian and Turkmen citizen, he was later banned from leaving Turkmenistan at the airport on September 23.

Please pray for complete healing and restoration for Begjan and Kerime. Pray the Lord will give them and the other church members the strength to overcome their ordeal and the determination to continue to stand firm. Pray that they, and other Christians facing opposition, will continue to meet together to encourage one another. Pray Oleg will lean on the Lord's strength during this time, and pray that he will have an opportunity to return to his homeland.

Go to the Turkmenistan Country Report to learn more about our suffering brothers and sisters in Turkmenistan.

Current Ministry Projects

VOMC works with project partners to help strengthen and equip husbands and wives who are serving in ministry in this region.

Project Funds: Equipping the Saints, Underground Church

Country Information

5,579,889 (July 2021 est.)

Ethnicity (%)
Turkmen (85), Uzbek (5), Russian (4), other (6)

Religion (%)
Islam (93), Christian (6.4)

President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow (2007)

Government type
Presidential republic; authoritarian

Legal system
Civil law system with Islamic law influences

Source: CIA World Factbook

Pray for Turkmenistan

Pray that the Lord will give the suffering members of the church in Turkmenistan the strength and determination to stand firm amid opposition and oppression. May they be granted opportunities to meet together for meaningful times of worship, Bible study and fellowship – encouraging and edifying one another in the Christian faith. Despite governmental restrictions, and the threat of fine or imprisonment, may the church in Turkmenistan flourish and bear much good fruit.


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Turkmenistan News

  • Christmastime Raid
    Christians studying the Bible - Photo: World Watch Monitor www.worldwatchmonitor.org
    Pray that Turkmen believers will have opportunities to share God’s truths.
    Photo: World Watch Monitor

    A group of women who gathered on December 26th had their worship time disrupted by a police raid. The home was searched and cell-phones were confiscated. The women were forced to give legal statement

  • Christian Imprisoned for Faith Released!

    A prisoner who was charged disproportionately because of his Christian faith has been released from prison after nearly three years behind bars. Umid Gojayev, 32, was freed through prisoner amnesty on February 17th. Turkmenistan's president signed a decree initiating the amnesty to mark the country'

  • Christian Leader Fined Following Police Raid

    A Christian leader from Galkynysh in Lebap Region was recently fined two weeks' average local wages following a police raid. The authorities stopped Narmurad Mominov just as he left the home of a Christian family he had been visiting. Narmurad was ordered to stay at the home, where he and the other

  • Follower of Jesus Endures Detention for His Faith
    Umid Gojayev

    Umid Gojayev, a 30-year-old husband and father of three young children, is continuing to be held in detention because of his faith.

    In early 2012, Umid had an argument with four neighbours over access to a well where they live in Dashoguz. In the scuffle, Umid was forced to defend himse