Many people in Turkmenistan living in the desert are often poor. Their souls, like the desert, are dry. There are 40,000 Turkmen living in this city completely surrounded by desert. The disparity is everywhere. Like their surroundings, the people are thirsty and living without hope.
One such man, named Myrat, lives with his 80-year old mother in a city that literally translates to “Desert Mountain.” Like the majority, Myrat and his mother had never heard the gospel. Day in and day out, they lived their lives in darkness; a darkness they didn’t even know they had. Despite their poverty, they were able to acquire a satellite dish and Myrat started watching Gospel Wave Media Ministry’s program. What started as curiosity turned into a longing to know and understand more. He continued watching the program, soaking up each and every word and eventually surrendering his life to Jesus Christ. It was after this that Myrat reached out to share his story with us.
There are three teams in Turkmenistan who travel and follow up with people like Myrat. One is a pastor, whom we will call Pastor “River.” After hearing Myrat’s story, Pastor “River” traveled 700-800 km (420-480 miles) to meet him. On his first visit, he asked Myrat if he could pray for his mom. Immediately, Myrat answered “No.” She was a Muslim and would be quite angry. Later, when his mom found out that Pastor ”River” wanted to pray for her, she did indeed become angry. So angry that she did not get the opportunity for Pastor “River” to pray for her!
On Pastor ‘River’s” second visit, he did pray with Myrat’s mom and she accepted Christ as her Savior! They still live in the desert surrounded by darkness and disparity and they are two: two who are lights, two who spread hope and two who are watching and growing through Gospel Wave’s program!
Enejan came to Christ watching Gospel Wave’s program together with her son Esau. The more they watched, the more their hearts were opened and with the Holy Spirit’s work, they both accepted Christ as their Savior. Eventually, Esau moved to another town, leaving Enejan as the only believer in her town of 20,000. She continued to watch the TV program as her only source to grow in her faith. Last fall, she received her very own Bible allowing her to read it anytime along with watching the program.
Before coming to Christ, Enejan’s livelihood was sitting by a famous shrine in a cemetery. People visiting this shrine paid her to pray for them and invite spirits to come to them. When Enejan found Christ, she experienced Hope for the first time in her life. She still goes to that famous shrine and, instead of leading people in darkness, she tells people about the Light – Jesus Christ – and that they truly need Him. Daily she boldly shares the salvation that only comes through Christ.
It didn’t take long for her to be reported to the authorities and the KGB showed up. They interrogated her, yet she boldly shared the gospel with these officers. Seeing that interrogation was not working, the KGB threatened her, informing her they would arrest her, take away all that she has, everything she holds dear. Enejan boldly responded “You can take everything, you can crucify me. I will not give up my belief in Christ! Even if you kill me, I will live!”
Nearly three million Turkmen live in Turkmenistan, located in South Central Asia along the Caspian Sea. Their culture is influenced in the past by both the Turkic conquerors, who imposed their language on them and the Arabs, who forced them to convert to Islam. Years past, they developed a strong ethnic identity as “children of the desert” because they would plunder rich caravans of Persian traders.
Please pray for the Christian missionaries at Gospel Wave Media Ministry in Central Asia as they risk their lives daily to share the gospel of Christ, names have been changed to protect their identities. For more information go to gopeople.org