Hello all! Bailey and Audrey here, broadcasting live from somewhere in central Asia.
Well, coming here, both of us had expectations of the culture that we would be visiting. We both pictured less westernization. Though we knew the number and percentage of Muslim people greatly outweighs minority religions, we both expected much more Christian influence. After talking together, we discovered that this could be two-fold: either from the fact that American culture is so influenced by Christianity and/or because this country played such a significant role to spread the Gospel in the past.
Something that has put the purpose of coming here into perspective is the frequent call to prayer. This call is sung throughout the city five times a day for everyone to hear. Our whole team as been deeply affected by this–so much so that each time we hear the call to prayer we all end up praying, so it serves it’s purpose … just not in the way they think.
Through these realizations, our team has been able to see the real challenge the local Christian church faces daily. Our partners here have told us stories of the difficulty in converting Muslim people to Christianity. Brothers and sisters here are strong but very discouraged. It takes years for one person to convert. This is because their identity is so focused on being of their nationality. It’s extremely hard for the native people to completely shift their mentality to fit a brand new identity in Christ. Our partners have said that seeing brothers convert is a huge blessing because Islam is a man’s religion because they have every benefit. So when they do convert its obviously from the result of a true encounter with The Lord.
Women have a more difficult time converting because they’re sometimes threatened with being disowned by their families or even killed. Neither of which have any legal repercussions.
As a body of Christ this breaks our heart knowing that His people are being treated so wrongly as a result of sin and deception.
But though these are real terrors and difficulties, the church here has an incredible familial bond. They’re a small church of 35 people in a city of over 400,000. Their tightly knit group is a beautiful witness to those around them who value community above everything else.
As a team, jet lag was rough at first, but our hosts have been so gracious (as is their custom) to set aside time for daily naps. We’ve been encouraged by the relentless focus of the local Christians and we hope we are as encouraging to them as they are to us. Tonight we have our first encounter with local college students through attempted conversation and building relationships over something called culture night, where we try and explain American culture!
Please please keep praying for our team and the locals here. You can be praying for our team not to be weary or overwhelmed, and for the body of Christ here to grow!
Be encouraged, y’all! The Holy Spirit has great plans for this place.
Until next time!!