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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

Population
5,579,889 (July 2021 est.)

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

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

Leader
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

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