Here is an excerpt from p. Jon Post's email he sent me from his trip to Turkmenistan. It's really stirring. Please pray for the churches there and our future visit there in October.
"....Turkmenistan is a treasure - exceeding my expectations - though I wasn't sure what to expect. Leaders there are held in high esteem, especially the president, whose picture is displayed in every bus and every public building. Through natural gas wealth, they are rebuilding the capital in white imported white stone - and it's beautiful. Life is not as busy or complicated as in Westernized cities, though Internet cafes can now be found in the capital and smaller cities. And the believers are few, humble and precious!
Some of the things that we shared, especially with the men in Mary (city), were far from their (Islamic) Central Asian culture, like God's call to lay down our lives for our wives. There, the men are served meals in a separate room from where the women and children eat, so meals times are automatically a men's meeting. Yet they listened to the Word of God with such responsiveness. They don't get many мisitors, and while I was there Pr. Vladimir had daily church meetings. We had a great time in the Word and later at the baptism of several of the believers.
One family lives 100 km from Mary, but met us by the highway with a bucket of tomatoes from their garden as we traveled past. They witness to their neighbors and pray for a church to be started in their village.
Pr. Genya says they know about 300 believers in the city and villages around Mary. He would like to move there, but needs a job, which is hard to get if you don't have a large sum to pay the person who hires employees. Please pray for that - a job. Also pray for a young woman in the church, who is being beaten and threatened by her Muslim father and told to deny Christ. Mary is 4 to 6 hours from the capital of Ashgabad by car, and he and Pr. Vladislav travel there weekly (and in July it was over 130 F. with no AC in the car! I suspect that they may have taken a taxi then.).
David is currently in Siberia, having just finished helping with a youth camp there and will next go to Moscow for a week before flying home for more Bible college. Our church in Almaty, Kazakhstan is also preparing for Bible college soon, as is our church in Bishkek too. We are praying for the Lord to really bless and anoint those times, that lives would be transformed and lives prepared for God's calling...
“You show and make obvious that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, not written with ink but with [the] Spirit of [the] living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.” 2 Cor 3.3 (Ampl.)
“Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord God, when I will send a famine in the land, not a
famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but [a famine] for hearing the words of the Lord.”
Amos 8.11 (Ampl.)
As I write to you I am on a 27 hour trip to Warsaw from Almaty, Kazakhstan. We just finished a week long Central Asian Conference with p. Matti Sirvio and with guests from Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, & Kazakhstan. Jesus was very precious in our midst as most of the attendees of the conference have personally experienced persecution, harassment from the police, confiscation of all their Bibles, notes, tapes and personal belongings and have spent hours upon hours being questioned at the police station by KGB. Some have been so warned that the next time they are caught meeting or sharing the Gospel they would be jailed.
During the conference one of the Central Asian pastors preached a message about the famine of the Word of God. He said that when we are not allowed to have the Bible in our possession we must become the Bible to people. He himself this past year has spent much time at the police station threatened with jail time because of the church meetings he was leading. Now, because his church cannot meet in public places or even in their own homes; they meet to hear the word preached at an organized sport event or birthday parties. He preaches to his congregation with no Bible - no one can bring their Bible in case their meeting is raided by the authorities. There is truly a famine in the land of the Word.
Be praying for this persecuted flock as they may be at times tempted to draw back or become discouraged.
"I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed the pillar and where you vowed a vow to Me. Now arise, get out from this land and return to your native land." Gen 31.13 (Ampl.)
Jacob was at a point in his life where he tired and was worn down by the manipulation of Laban his father-in-law. The relationship with Laban he had was a relationship that he would benefit from and would be able to twist to his meet his needs. But as it always does eventually; it changed. Instead of Jacob getting what he wanted from Laban, he was slowly deceived and taken advantage of - to where his wages were changed 10 times and he became a slave to that very situation he thought would benefit him.
This is the way it goes with youth. So often they make a deal with the world with the promise that they can freely take and enjoy without price. But slowly like Jacob with Laban - they are robbed and taken advantage of till there's nothing left.
Jacob decides to leave and Laban pursues him. The world will always go after someone who decides to leave and follow the promise of God that speaks to them from an anointed pillar from an earlier meeting with God. But thank God he intervenes and meets Laban on the way and warns him. Jacob meets Laban - they part with the very God of the Promise as their border.
It's interesting to note that all through Genesis 31 that Jacob refers to God as the God of his father and ancestors. For Jacob, God was not yet a personal intimate God to him - but rather the God of his parents that he respected and feared.
But as always, God engages Jacob - God is not satisfied with a relationship that is impersonal with us. He will engage youth with a crisis to lead them to a rich communion and promise. Esau's coming to Jacob caused fear and distress for Jacob and we see Jacob pray for the first time in chapter 32. Still he addresses God in the prayer as God of his fathers. But that changes as he begins to wrestle with Jesus Christ Himself resulting in a personal relationship with the God of Abraham. Jacob's name is changed to Israel because now Jacob knows the Person of God. He begins his adventure of faith as a young man that has power with God.
So it is I think with us. Some of us grew up in this church and we too made a deal with Laban, the world, yet had a respectful relationship with the God of our parents. But that changes as we see the true colors of the world and we hear the promise of the God of our parents,"get out of this land with Laban and I will deal well with thee."
Mat Laflamme and I visited the Finnish summer camp at Antaverkka - Ylojarvi, Finland. Many of them told us that they sensed the presence of God in the meetings, worship and games and some of them got baptized at the end of the camp. At the end of the baptism we had a spontaneous time of worship and singing as you can see in this video here::