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Empty Tables at the Wedding Reception

Khan at his wedding
Khan at his wedding

Khan and Asiya wanted to get married. They followed all the marriage customs of Tajikistan, the country where they live.

First Khan asked his parents to meet Asiya’s parents. The four parents met, and Khan proposed to Asiya officially. Their parents announced the wedding date and made all the wedding plans.

Then, a few weeks before the wedding, Khan’s Muslim parents realized that Asiya and her family were Christians. “Our son will NEVER marry a Christian!” they said. They were surprised to find out that Khan had a Bible. He, too, was a Christian! He had been baptized a few months earlier.

Khan’s parents said he could no longer be a member of their family unless he did the following.

  1. Break up with his girlfriend and cancel the wedding.
  2. Stop being a Christian.
  3. Read a Muslim prayer in front of everyone, and become a Muslim again.
  4. Marry a Muslim girl.

In their country, newlyweds live in the groom’s parents’ home until the couple gets a home. Khan said no to his family’s conditions. They kicked him out of their family. So right before he married Asiya, he had no relatives, no money, and no house to live in. At the wedding, the chairs reserved for his parents remained empty.

Asiya’s parents are asking for prayer for Khan. They would like Christians to pray:

  • Khan can find a job and a place to live with Asiya.
  • God will help him through the shock of losing his family.

To protect their identities, the names of some of the people on this website and some identifying details have been changed. Some of the quotes and stories have been edited and paraphrased from the original sources for clarity. Some faces are covered to protect the identity of Christians at risk.

Five Facts About Tajikistan


  • Emomali Rahmon is the president of Tajikistan. His birthday is on October 5th. He was born in 1952.
  • Tajikistan is north of Afghanistan and west of China. Mountains cover about 90 percent of Tajikistan. Glaciers are common in the mountains.
  • In recent years, athletes from Tajikistan have won medals at the Olympics in boxing, judo, and wrestling. Soccer is the country’s most popular sport.
  • Tajik is the language of Tajikistan. To say “thank you” in Tajik, say, “tah-shah-KOOR.”
  • Most people in Tajikistan are Muslims. Christians in Tajikistan recently reported that government officials visited churches to find out if they were teaching children about Christianity. Confusing laws make it uncertain whether or not it is legal to teach children about any religion.

Pray for the president of Tajikistan on his birthday. Pray that he will rule his country wisely and fairly and that his government will not prevent anyone from learning about Jesus.

Kids of Courage in Russia

KOC in Russia
Дети отваги
(Children of Courage)

The U.S.S.R. (often called “the Soviet Union”) was the largest communist country in the world. In the early 1990s, it broke up into many smaller countries.

People in the smaller countries have their own languages. But many still speak Russian, the language of the Soviet Union.

Russian-speaking Christians have started a children’s website using Kids of Courage stories.

Go to the Map of Visitors page on this site to see if anyone in the former Soviet Union has recently visited Kids of Courage. The countries formed when the U.S.S.R. broke up are: Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania.

You can find out what life is like for Christians in some of those countries in the Countries section of this site.

U.S. State Department’s Religious Freedom Report


This week the U.S. Department of State released their 2011 International Religious Freedom Report. The report covers 199 countries and territories. Go to the report here and use the “Go to a Country Report” drop-down box to begin searching reports from specific countries. The reports tell what religions people in the country follow, what the laws of the country say about religious freedom, and whether or not there are abuses of religious freedom in that country.

See the “Countries” section on this site or the “Restricted Nations” section at for further information about selected countries.

Tajikistan’s President and the New Law




Slightly smaller than Wisconsin.

Main Languages
Tajik, Russian

At 6:00 a.m. U.S. Central Standard Time, it is 4:00 p.m. in Tajikistan.

The president of Tajikistan is Emomali Rahman. His birthday is on October 5. He will be 60 years old in 2012.

The government of Tajikistan has the reputation of being dishonest and corrupt. In August, President Rahman signed a new law that restricts children under 18 from going to most religious services. The government does not want children to be taught about their faith.

Pray for the president on his birthday. Pray that he will rule honestly, and that he will not stop children from learning about God.

To learn more about Tajikistan, visit its country profile.

To Think About: What would you and your family do if you lived in a place where it was illegal for children to go to Sunday school and church?