01 July 2024

Imprisonment, beekeeping and the power of your prayers – meet Evgeny from Central Asia

Evgeny* is a beekeeper who loves telling others about Jesus. Helped by Open Doors local partners, he is sharing both his skills and faith with others in Central Asia, particularly those on the margins of society. As he says here, the ministry is immensely challenging at times, but he and his team feel sustained by your prayers.

Evgeny became a Christian whilst in prison for criminality, and he thinks he could return there – but this time because of the cost he’s willing to pay for telling others about Jesus

I just came back from a trip. We spent a lot of time praying together. The spiritual pressure is very strong. There’s a lot of occult practices. People live in such darkness, poverty and hopelessness, that many young people, especially teenagers, commit suicide.

After several recent trips, I was in a very difficult mental and spiritual condition. It’s a very hard time in my life. I worry about my family members, not myself. When I prepared for a three-day trip, I felt constant anxiety. It was so bad for me; it was an internal struggle. I felt that I really need prayers. I can only reach out because of your prayer support.

Battling in prayer

We recently had a prayer meeting for Christian men. We spent ten days in almost constant prayer. The sermons were very short, and the main time was given to prayer. The battle was spiritual, prayerful, so strong. The meeting was organised by an Open Doors team. After these ten days, I felt better; I no longer feel crushed and lost.

Thank God, we have done a lot in recent years with the help of Open Doors. To be honest, we have done a lot in Central Asia together. We have helped many people in need; many have learned about Christ and found hope in their lives.

“We have helped many people in need; many have learned about Christ and found hope in their lives.”


I often tell people that, when I travel, I just visit to see what is needed. There are no comfortable living conditions. It is difficult from a spiritual point of view, and from an emotional point of view. It is difficult to observe what is happening to others – their pain, hopelessness, poverty. To serve in this way, you need to understand what purpose you are going for – to help and pray, to preach and comfort.

I have a small but very strong and faithful team. Our team includes believers from various remote villages. Each of them is dedicated and sincere, faithful in what they do. There are team members who are currently burnt out and depressed. Please pray for my team.

Sweet success

Now I strive to ensure that everything I have, my whole honey business, works for poor and addicted people. I also support a nursing home – we send honey to abandoned old people, and sometimes we help with food.

My main goal as a travelling evangelist is to teach children and teenagers a profession, so that they have a chance for a better future. That’s what I’m doing everything for. As soon as the school year ends, I will take the children to the apiary [where beehives of honey bees are kept]. They will earn money during the honey harvest season. I teach them, and I will give them five hives each. I supervise and help them expand their small business themselves, because apiary is a complex business, a complex profession.

A group from the church, several sisters, are constantly in prayer for us when we travel. I have begun to encourage and inspire people to sincere service and prayer. Many people in churches have cooled down their spiritually – I can’t change this, I can’t change their mentality, but I can impact this. I am grateful to God for teaching me to work and sacrifice a lot for the ministry. People even in remote villages respect and trust me. I want to inspire through my example.

From criminality to Christianity

Other Christian men and women were my example, my role models. There was one sister, an old woman, she was almost 80 years old when I first started my ministry. Now she is in eternity. When she was alive, she did not look at her lack of comfort or her health issues. She travelled with me all over Central Asia to the most remote villages. She transferred this passion to serve for the kingdom of God to me, but not only me – her example inspired many to serve. And it was also Open Doors who gave me my first microloan. The trust that I received from them was so helpful and still is.

“I think I’m going to be imprisoned again. This time for the name of Christ”


There was also a pastor who was an example to me. He taught me what a sacrificial life is – a life of faith. I looked at his life, his responsibility and his ability to trust people. I accepted Jesus in prison and, when I was released, this pastor involved me in his ministry, and he trusted me. He gave me money and trusted me, a former criminal. I had never seen such money in my life, but he trusted me, and not just once, but many times. I went, exchanged this money, and we travelled to serve in remote villages. He raised my self-esteem. He did not do this only with words – he showed his respect and trust in me with action. It created me as a person in God. He treated me like this with God’s love.

The people in my rehabilitation centres came from the streets. There were also street kids and prostitutes. They especially need to understand their value in the eyes of God – this is our task as Christians. Even if we know that a person does not have the best past, I try to show respect, trust and God’s love – it changes their hearts. If you do not show trust, then there is no point in dealing with them, they will never open. You need to be close to them, respect them, help them with their needs, share their difficulties.

Evgeny (in the blue hat) and men from the rehabilitation centre chat with a visiting Open Doors local partner

“I think I’m going to be imprisoned again”

It has become more difficult to reach out in this region, because of the control of secret services. I understand that they know all or almost all my activities. I recently shared this with my brothers and said, “I think I’m going to be imprisoned again. This time for the name of Christ, for my ministry.”

These thoughts often come to me, it’s like a premonition. It’s like I’m already preparing internally for this. I understand that I am no longer afraid of this. Thank God, my children are all grown up now. I’m not worried about anything anymore. I just think about how much I want to do, as much as possible, in serving local people, families, especially young people. I dream of going into eternity, leaving the ministry at its height – on the rise and being effective for the kingdom of God.

I don’t need anything in this life, neither me nor my wife, nothing but to do as much as possible to spread the gospel, to help people who don’t see hope. This is really important, not material things for ourselves.

Thank you all who pray for me. I only can reach out because of your prayers.

*Name changed for security reasons

Pleas pray


  • Give thanks for Evgeny’s ministry, and pray that it will have a profound impact on many more lives
  • That all those Evgeny and his team have ministered to will continue to flourish in their faith and new skills
  • That God will protect, sustain and encourage Evgeny and his team as they serve others.
Counting the Cost

Would you like to meet more courageous Christians, like Evgeny? Our new Counting the Cost resource invites you to be inspired by seven believers who are following Jesus no matter the cost. The resource is free and is ideal for personal or group use.


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