Uzbekistan Church Fees Update
There’s been something on my mind—and heart—since I returned from my last trip to Uzbekistan.
The government there is mistreating the country’s churches in a way that would seem slight to us, but is a heavy burden for the churches.
While I was on my trip, a group of pastors invited me to meet with them in an undisclosed location. We had to avoid the unwanted eyes of the atheistic government. It was like the old Soviet days, when the dangers of persecution were widespread and pertinent.
I was blessed to see how the pastors found so much joy in their fellowship. Most of them had not seen each other for a number of years. They shared with each other stories of celebration but also struggles—these churches are isolated and harassed by their Muslim neighbors. Yet these pastors remain strongly committed to preaching the gospel to their communities. They encouraged each other to keep the faith and stay strong in the Lord.
I asked them about some of their struggles. They responded by informing me about one of their most recent challenges. “The government is imposing a monthly fee for each of our churches,” one of the leaders told me. “There are 15 churches in our network, with another 5 soon to join. This is a challenge for most of our churches.”
Concerned about how difficult this expense would be for them, I asked, “What is the monthly fee per church?”
The pastor calculated the exchange rate to US dollars. “It equals $12 per church,” he replied.
This was a clear case to me of the poverty level of the churches in Uzbekistan. $12 seems to not be much money to most of us. But these churches have truly limited resources. The pastors have no salaries from their churches. Their families are often unemployed and rely on their gardens for food while trying to find part-time work, which comes in irregularly, to help provide for their families.
Despite the trials, they stay dedicated to Christ, to preaching God’s love and salvation, and to shining the light of Jesus to their Muslim neighbors.
If they cannot pay their monthly fee, their congregations are at greater risk of increased government scrutiny and harassment.
I want to help these wonderful people who are committed to God. Will you join me in doing so?
For the cost of a drink at a coffee shop, we can quickly and easily lighten their load, helping to stabilize and protect their church and protect them from. Money that seems insignificant in our country stretches a much longer way in Uzbekistan.
Will you consider giving $12/month to help provide for these churches? As 2 Corinthians 8:4 reminds us, “Your abundance at the present time should supply their need, so that their abundance may supply your need, that there may be fairness.”
Thank you for your prayers and support.
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