Laila’s husband was away, and she was left to care for their two children alone. It was a cold winter in Central Asia, and her landlords had just kicked her out. “If you don’t leave, we’ll burn the house — and burn you too, if you stay,” they had told her. Laila and her family had been rejected for sharing Christ in the village, so they decided to shake off the dust, pack up and leave. The family had endured many difficulties and would continue to do so, but they felt it was worth it. It all began when Laila picked up a piece of trash from the floor. FINDING GOD THROUGH TRASH Laila sat in a hospital waiting room while her husband prepared to undergo surgery for bleeding ulcers. He was not expected to survive, and she felt absolutely hopeless. Noticing some discarded trash under a bench, she picked up the crumpled piece of paper, smoothed it out and saw that it was a Christian newsletter sharing the testimonies of other Christians. “I wanted to find other stories like this, so I asked my sister-in-law,” she said. It turned out that her sister-in- law had also become interested in

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Categories: Global Prayer Guide

Pastors in Central Asia are faithfully teaching the gospel to children even though such action is against the law. In many post-Soviet countries, teaching religion to children under age 18 is illegal. As followers of Christ, however, these pastors know it is important for young people to learn about the Bible and faith in God from a young age.

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Categories: iCommitToPray

Jonathan Ekman and Matthew Hanson recently visited persecuted Christians in Central Asia—Christians caught between a growing wave of radical Islam and governments with a communist-style distrust of all religion. Matthew and Jonathan will share stories from believers they met. Listen to hear “the rest of the story” of one of the chapters in When Faith Is Forbidden (VOM Radio host Todd Nettleton’s book), including how God has built on the legacy of a martyred pastor in Tajikistan. They’ll also share the story of a woman who faced intense persecution from her own family, yet has seen God take her suffering and create something “beautiful.” Christians in Central Asia don’t have protection from their governments or from families. Yet the church is growing across the region as more and more people experience the spiritual family of followers of Jesus. You can receive a free copy of When Faith is Forbidden when you make a donation to The Voice of the Martyrs. Never miss an episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe to the podcast.

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Categories: VOM Radio

“My family told me that I had dishonored and shamed the family so badly that they would rather I had become a prostitute. Shortly after this, my brother was murdered. My family and the Muslim leaders said it happened because I cursed the family by accepting Christ, so they beat me.” Miriam was the most devout Muslim in her family until she met Jesus. And as soon as she began following Him, her family began to harass and pressure her. Though no one in her family was very devout, they felt that Miriam had abandoned their Central Asian cultural identity and brought shame on the family. “Don’t follow that Russian god,” they scolded. “We are Muslims!” But God’s love and forgiveness had won her heart. Marry a Muslim to “Fix the Problem” Miriam’s family was eager for her to marry, hoping that a Muslim husband would “fix the problem.” They suggested various men, but Miriam turned them all down because they were Muslims. She knew it was biblically wrong for her to marry an unbeliever, and she also knew how Muslim men treated their wives in her country. In one incident, the Muslim husband of a recent Christian convert called

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Categories: Global Prayer Guide

Night after night for three years, Jamil endured the same abuse. Different groups of men — leaders of a local Islamist group — came to his home and took turns beating him. They punched him, slapped him and kicked him, their hatred inflamed by drunkenness. In their eyes, he was a kafir, or infidel, in his small Central Asian village, and he was leading others away from Islam. In Jamil’s country, you had to be Muslim in order to truly belong, and to these drunkards, Jamil no longer belonged. Jamil was raised in a moderate Muslim family, but his older brother adopted more radical beliefs while serving a prison sentence. Jamil’s curiosity was piqued by his brother’s views, so he began his own search for spiritual truth. During his studies, he met Christians who shared the gospel with him. Jamil knew he had found the one true God, and he turned his back on Islam for good. He immediately began sharing the gospel, leading his Islamist brother to Christ as well as three other siblings. He planted four house churches before his church sent him as a missionary to a village composed entirely of Muslims. Jamil shared the gospel as

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Categories: Global Prayer Guide

At a prearranged location, Rob waits, watching for a familiar vehicle among the heavy traffic passing by on the street in front of him. When he sees his friend’s car maneuver to the curb, he hops in and they drive around for a few hours. In this Central Asian country, where meeting in public could draw the attention of Islamic extremists, using cars is one of the safest ways for Christians to fellowship and worship. Secret believers in restricted nations use a number of discreet meeting places in order to practice their faith undetected. VOM workers have heard of church meetings in the forest, in a rented vacation home in the country and even in a chicken coop. Rob and his friend cruise the neighborhood and talk freely about their faith, sticking to side streets to avoid police checkpoints and meeting only during the day for safety. Rob pulls out his mobile phone and the two men begin to sing along exuberantly with recorded worship music. Those idly watching them drive by might assume they’re singing the latest pop song, but the two men are in fact joining in heartfelt songs of praise to God in their local language. After

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Categories: Global Prayer Guide