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Tajikistan: Pastor Bakhrom

Two years ago, in April 2017, Pastor Bakhrom Kholmatov was arrested after officials raided his church in Tajikistan.  The officers beat members of the congregation and took away Christian books and the pastor’s computer.

When the officials examined Pastor Bhakrom’s computer, they found a collection of Christian songs. They claimed that the songs and the pastor’s books were “extremist.” [People who are extremist have ideas that are considered to be far different from the average views of those around them. Extremists sometimes act on their ideas with violence or drastic actions.] The government said that “experts” decided that the songs were calling people to overthrow the government.

Pastor Bakhrom has been in prison on the false charges for two years. His wife, Gulnora, has had problems with high blood pressure since his arrest. They have three children.

Gulnora says that she has received letters of encouragement from Christians around the world. Pastor Bakhrom, however, has not been given letters that were sent to the prison for him. Sometimes authorities refuse to give a prisoner their mail in order to make them feel isolated. But Christians keep writing, knowing that their letters can influence guards and make a difference anyway.

You can use the following addresses to send letters of encouragement to the pastor and his family.

Bakhrom Kholmatov
Yavan Prison
Shamsova St.
Yavan, Khatlon region
Tajikistan
735310

Family Kholmatov
Mikrorajon 32, house nr. 50
Hudjand
Sogdijsk region
735700
Tajikistan

Please read the instructions for writing letters at prisoneralert.com here and here.


Ukrainian Children Encourage Prisoners

Christian children in Ukraine have been writing letters of encouragement to Christian prisoners and former prisoners. They are mailing the letters in the yellow mailbox to Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan. (See the photo.)

The Soviet Union (also called the U.S.S.R.) used to be the world’s most powerful Communist country. It split up into smaller countries in the early 1990’s. Ukraine, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan are four of the smaller countries. The Ukrainian children want to encourage Christians who have not been treated fairly by their governments.

You can also encourage Christians in prison for their faithful spreading of the gospel. To send greetings to a Christian prisoner in another country, visit prisoneralert.com. Click on the name of a prisoner, then on “Write a Letter.” Follow the instructions to complete the process.

Or, to send your own greeting, continue the process until you get to the step in which a prisoner’s address is shown. Then instead of finishing the process and printing the letter, use the address provided to mail a greeting. (Find more instructions here.) Go to a post office to ask how much postage you will need to mail the letter.


A President’s Birthday

President Rahmon

Ten Facts About Emomali Rahmon and His Country

1. Emomali Rahmon is the president of Tajikistan. He has been president since 1992.

2. Rahmon’s birthday is on October 5th. This year he will be 66 years old.

3. More than 90 percent of people in Tajikistan are Muslims.

4. The government is afraid of Muslim terrorists. So officials try to control all religions to make sure no violent group gains power.

5. Earlier this year in Tajikistan, terrorists killed two bicyclists from the United States.

6. It is illegal for children under 18 to attend public religious activities in Tajikistan.

7. Most of Tajikistan’s Christians are Russian Orthodox, but there are also Baptists, Catholics, Lutherans, and Korean Protestants.

8. If someone wants to print or distribute Christian materials, they have to get permission from the government.

9. Tajik is the language of Tajikistan. To say “thank you” in Tajik, say, “tah-shah-KOOR.”

10. In recent years, athletes from Tajikistan have won Olympic medals in boxing, judo, and wrestling. Soccer is a popular sport.

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.

(Sources include: The U.S. State Department’s International Religious Freedom Report and The Voice of the Martyrs’ Global Prayer Guide.)


Courageous Christians’ Countries

(Source: Release International, The Voice of the Martyrs’ sister mission in the United Kingdom.)

Can you identify each of the countries below by their shapes? If you need help, click on the “Countries” tab above to find locations and shapes of each country.

The countries are a few of the places where Christians are treated badly because they follow Jesus.


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.