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Turkmenistan: 'Beautiful messages' - your letters arrive just on time for persecuted family
20 December 2016
Believer from a Muslim background and father-of-three, Umid, was imprisoned from April 2012 to February 2015 after a Muslim neighbour attacked him because of his conversion. During his imprisonment, we asked Open Doors supporters to pray for him and his wife, Malahat, and their children.
Launching the letter-writing campaign
After he was freed, Umid shared of how supporters' prayers had sustained him in prison. To help him earn a reliable income for his family, Open Doors sent financial assistance for Umid's business. But it soon became clear that he needed emotional support, too, as he suffered from fearful nightmares following his imprisonment.
To encourage Umid and his family, in 2016 Open Doors organised a letter-writing campaign. Recently, we went to deliver hundreds of cards supporters had written to the family. Sadly, Umid was too afraid to meet us in person, so instead we met up with his relative, Yousef*, to pass the letter on to the family.
"Your letters are just on time... Thank you that you did not forget him"
When we gave the letters to Yousef, he looked through them and said: "I just read some letters and I'm very encouraged and surprised how beautiful the messages are in these cards. So, on behalf of Umid and Malahat, a big thank you to all believers worldwide who sent a card to Umid and his family.
"Life is still difficult for Umid," Yousef continues. "Umid is receiving help to recover. It's difficult for him to trust people and to overcome the difficulties he experienced in prison. Your letters are just on time because he needs a lot of love and encouragements.
"Thank you that you didn't forget him. These cards help Umid and his family to understand that he's not alone and that many believers still pray for him."
"Please keep praying for healing"
Yousef explains some of the challenges Umid is currently facing: "He's not healed yet after his prison period. He still has nightmares and is feeling fearful. It also doesn't help that the government is still watching him when he travels in his region but also in the country. Umid is afraid that the government will arrest him again if he makes any mistakes."
Thankfully, Umid's business is doing well and is now self-sufficient. But he is still in need of your prayers.
"Please keep praying for healing for Umid's wounds, pray that he may overcome these traumatic experiences from his prison period," Yousef says. "Please pray that the police will stop watching him."
To support Umid and others facing persecution in Central Asia, use the prayer points below, or you can give to our work in the region - where we help Christians with medical costs, social-economic development projects, ministry training and literature distribution.
Source: Open Doors
- Thank God that Umid's business is doing well and for the many letters that have been delivered
- That the police would stop monitoring Umid, and that the family would enjoy privacy
- That Umid would be healed of the emotional scarring from his imprisonment
- For believers in Turkmenistan and elsewhere in repressive Central Asian countries who are under immense pressure because of their faith.
*Name changed for security reasons
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Find out more about persecution in Turkmenistan.