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C.A. Travel

Dear Friends,                                                                                                                                                                       January 29, 2021

 

Here is a report on my Uzbekistan trip. I spent much of my time in discussion with pastors and church leaders, visiting our youth center in Tashkent, and planning with my team. We had planned to meet with the men leading the new youth center in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, but because of boarder closures due to Covid we were unable to do so.

Uzbekistan is a very interesting place with lots of potential for ministry. Just to give a little run down about the country: it is former Soviet Union, predominately Russian speaking, 80% Muslim but not radical, and the largest population of the Central Asian countries we plan to target. After 25 years under one dictator and being closed to the outside, it is now open to foreigners and free market economy which gives us the opportunity to be there. My assessment of the situation on the ground is that because of past oppression, most Christians are still very timid to share their faith.  The few missionaries I could find are inexperienced and afraid. For example, we wanted to meet with a missionary in Tashkent who entered on a business visa. He refused to meet with more than two of us at a time. He was fearful of being overpowered and beaten by three people if we were not who we said we were. How can one testify to the Gospel when bound by such fear? Many Uzbeks are ready to hear the Gospel, but we have to put away fear and tell them with wisdom and boldness from the Spirit of God. Folks, I have spent my whole life preparing for moments like this last trip, and I’m sure the time to be a missionary there is now. We had other examples and opportunities to share Christ, but I will save those stories for other letters or when I visit you or your church in the future.

Our youth center in Tashkent had about 15 visitors. Our workers are on the right track. They are being patient and looking for the right opportunities to share their faith. We will have a camp this summer and invite attending the youth centers. During this camp the Gospel will be the main focus. Please pray with us about these youth coming to Christ.

Many of the Uzbek churches are house churches and the local pastors are in need of help. They have asked us to start a Bible school in country that will prepare their young people for service. We are praying about this need. Several pastors have business experience and are willing to mentor our graduates trained in Moldova as they start small businesses to support their ministries. Mentorship in both ministry and business is a key to our graduates being successful.

I plan on going back to Kyrgyzstan in March. From there we will travel to Uzbekistan and hopefully Tajikistan. Pray this plague has subsided by then, and we can travel freely. There is much to do. Pray that I will have wisdom as we set up ministries, small businesses for the graduates and for the summer camps.

Pray for ministry helpers. We need a good English teacher to join our team. I could use a bold young missionary to join me as an apprentice. We are going to need funds for summer camp and for small business projects. Any church wanting to set a Zoom meeting or speak to me by phone let me know.

 

God Bless,

Dr. Eric Chapman

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