It was 21 years ago that the Soviet Union split apart. I was reminded of this while chatting on the phone with a long-time friend and former colleague who continues to serve Christ in Central Asia. He and his family have been there for more than 15 years. Uzbekistan became an independent country September 1, 1991. I was in Uzbekistan that summer scouting out opportunities for Caleb Project to send research teams. We did send the teams and that directly led to my friend returning there as a full-time Kingdom representative.
Caleb Project wasn’t the only organization to invest in Central Asia. At one time there were a couple hundred ex-patriots in Uzbekistan and hundreds more spread through the other newly formed Central Asian countries. A small army sharing God’s love with the people who had been cut off from the rest of the world during the seven decades of communist occupation.
Unfortunately, the Uzbekistan government has now returned to the oppressive tactics of the Soviets. Most of the Kingdom workers who were serving in the country have been forced to leave. Nevertheless, God is still at work. When I visited the capital in 1991, there was only one Christian that we knew about. Now there are hundreds. Their lives are not easy, but they are growing in Christ and taking risks to share him with their neighbors.
Thank God for the window of opportunity we had to enter Uzbekistan and thank him for those who are trusting him in that difficult place. May they have wisdom and peace as they encounter various trials.