DAY 10 – JUNE 15TH, 2016
Turkestan – Led by the Spirit
Across the Turkestan Room more than 200 million people are members of ancient tribes – called Uzbeks, Uighurs, Kazakhs, Tatars, Turkmen, Azeris, and Turks. Nearly 160 million of these Turkic people are Muslims.
There are multiple movements of Turkic Muslims coming to faith in Jesus Christ today. Many of Turkestan’s persecuted believers meet quietly in homes or private settings. “We often face troubles,” said one Uzbek convert, “but still we are praising God.” He continued, “We have a saying, ‘If you are arrested, praise God that you have not been beaten. If you have been beaten, praise God that you have not been killed. And if you have been killed, praise God that you are now with Jesus in heaven!”
I saw this spirit of thankfulness in the face of trials nearly 30 years ago among some pioneers I met teaching English in a cold, remote part of Central Asia. That evening, one of the teachers named John introduced me to one of his students, Abdullah, a Muslim-background believer from the Uighur people. Abdullah was the first Uighur to come to faith in Christ.
“How did you lead Abdullah to faith?” I asked John.
“We didn’t,” John replied. “The Holy Spirit and prayer did.” John explained, “Abdullah came to me last year with a troubling dream in which someone gave him a sacred book to read. ‘What could this book be?’ he asked me.”
“I was nervous,” John said. “In my desk drawer I had an old translation of the New Testament that was produced by Swedish missionaries in an ancient Uighur script nearly a century earlier”.
“Could this be the book in your dream?” I asked, as I handed the old book to Abdullah.
“Abdullah opened the little volume and said, ‘Oh, it is in the old script. My father taught me how to read this.’
“I left the book with Abdullah. A few weeks later he came to me with the news that he had found Jesus as his Savior and Lord.
“So you see,” John smiled. “The prayers of God’s people, and the Holy Spirit led Abdullah to Jesus.”
How to Pray
- Pray for persecuted Muslim-background believers in Turkestan, for courage and fellowship and encouragement in their faith.
- Pray for courageous missionaries who are taking the gospel to each of Turkestan’s 227 Muslim people groups.
- Pray that the nations of Turkestan would promote freedom in matters of religion, so people who seek truth need not fear of arrest, beatings and death.