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Central Asia: 'Reject Christ or leave home' uncle tells 23-year-old
16 September 2015
"Don't even think about showing up here again unless you have rejected your faith in Christ."
Zafar's* uncle shouted this at him as he pushed him out of Zafar's home. He went to a friend to ask if he could stay the night, but they said: "Zafar, I am sorry, I cannot let you in. I respect you, but I don't want to have problems with your family for taking you in." He had nowhere to go.
Following Jesus in secret
Zafar came to faith when he was 23. He walked into his local church just hoping to learn English - there were free classes being run in the building. What he found instead was the love of his Heavenly Father. His earthly father had died of cancer when he was a teenager, and he had longed to experience the love of a father once more - finally he had found it.
But the news of Zafar's faith was not accepted by his family. His older brother told him to never mention the name of Jesus in their home. After the death of their father, the elder brother became the head of the family, and Zafar was expected to listen to him. Zafar began reading the Bible and attending church services in secret - he knew the dangers he faced, but nothing could stop him pursuing the God who loved him unconditionally.
One evening, when Zafar came home after work, he was met by his brother and uncle. His brother asked Zafar to tell their uncle about his Christian faith. Zafar was glad to - perhaps they were finally coming around! His brother and uncle listened in silence. Then, his uncle asked to see his Bible. Zafar happily took the Bible out of his backpack. Without another word, they snatched the Bible from his hands and threw it into the fire. They beat Zafar, and finally kicked him out of the house.
That night, Zafar found himself injured and with nowhere to go but the streets. But he remembered the words that he had recently read in the Bible: "Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go" (Genesis 28:15).
A safe refuge
Zafar was able to spend a few nights in an Open Doors safe house in his town. He is now 25, and shares an apartment with a friend from church. He works in a small grocery store, and continues to go the church where he first encountered the love of God.
Your prayers and gifts are enabling us to provide a safe refuge for believers in Central Asia like Zafar. It might be a place where they can escape harassment for a couple of day, or it could be a more long-term solution. Thank you for helping our brothers and sisters in Central Asia to endure - and please keep Zafar and others like him in your prayers.
*Name changed for security reasons.
- That Zafar will continue to be strong in his faith, and that his family will come to know the love of God as he has
- For God's peace and provision for others like Zafar who have been forced from their homes because of their faith
- For strength and discernment for Open Doors partners who run safe houses in Central Asia
- For protection over our safe houses.