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Letters Encourage Uzbekistan Christians

Shestakov family
Pastor Shestakov’s family today

Pastor Dmitry Shestakov was in prison in Uzbekistan from 2007 to 2011 because of his Christian activities. You can read a story about his daughter Vera in the post Uzbekistan: Vera Update.

Many Christians wrote the pastor letters while he was in prison, using instructions from VOM’s PrisonerAlert website. Here is what he said about the letters:

“These letters gave a great encouragement to us. We all read them! And when we feel ourselves a part of a large Christian family, we are filled with joy. People pray for us, think of us. They send cards. Someone took the time. Every time we re-read and reviewed all of this and filled with joy!”

VOM president, Jim Dau, said, “Testimonies like this from our persecuted family illustrate why VOM continues to encourage readers to write to Christians in prison.”

Read the post Writing to Prisoners to learn more about how to write letters to prisoners.

Countries in the News


Xinjiang, China: Did you know that millions of Muslims live in China? Xinjiang [SHIN-jyang] is in western China. About 8 to 10 milliong Uygurs [WEE-gurs] live there, and most of them are Muslims. A few days ago, police raided a house church in Xinjiang and took away more than 70 Christians.

Learn more about Christians in Xinjiang in the book Bold Believers Among the Uygurs, free in the Downloads section of this site.

Uzbekistan: Uzbekistan is a doubly landlocked country in Central Asia. (Do some research to find out what “doubly landlocked” means.) Police are raiding house churches in Uzbekistan, too. Open Doors has named Uzbekistan one of the top ten countries on its World Watch List of persecuting countries.

Learn more about Christians in Uzbekistan in the book Bold Believers in Uzbekistan, free in the Downloads section of this site.

Turkey: A U.S. commission is recommending that Turkey be named a “country of particular concern.” Turkey does not have religious freedom for non-Muslims, the commission says.

Learn more about Christians in Turkey in the book Bold Believers in Turkey, free in the Downloads section of this site.

Pray for Xinjiang, Uzbekistan, and Turkey.

The International Day of Prayer: Salavat

This video, produced for The Voice of the Martyrs, shows the real stories of Christians in Uzbekistan, who suffer hardship and persecution as believers in Jesus Christ.

This video was produced for the International Day of Prayer (IDOP) in 2010. To learn more about the International Day of Prayer, visit

Uzbekistan: Vera Update


The third-quarter 2007 Kids of Courage newsletter featured 6-year-old Vera Shestakov, whose father had recently been sent to prison. Here is what Vera said then.

Vera in 2007
“My father is the pastor of a church. He was arrested in January, right during the service. Mother and I went to where Father is. It has many windows, and all the windows are barred. We did not see Father; they did not allow us.

“Our house is together with the church. Our family lives in two rooms. Earlier, many people came to the church. But since the persecutions started, we gather seldom and in small groups.

“I am not worrying about Father because I pray for him. I run to his car and sit in it and pray. It still smells of Father.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Suzanis from Uzbekistan

Click the image to open the coloring page

In the past, girls in Uzbekistan prepared for marriage by making decorations for their future home. Families encouraged their sons to marry a girl who could sew well and work hard.

Suzanis are one kind of embroidered decoration girls learned to make. One suzani could take as long as 18 months to finish. The design on the suzani identified the part of Uzbekistan where it was made. Today more girls go to school and do not have as much time to sew. Shops in Uzbekistan sell suzanis made by both men and women.