A Note From Central Asia

This week’s TenTwo is written by one of our sent ones, currently residing in Central Asia.  Please join us as we pray and fast on behalf of so many around the world!

The Sacrifice Festival

I once asked a friend, “How do you know you will go to heaven after you die?” She responded, “You have to follow the five rules of Islm. You have to have faith in Al’lah, pray five times daily, fast during Ramadan, give to the poor, and if you can, go to Mecca.” I said, “But how do you know? Is there a guarantee?” And she responded, “No, there is no hope like that. But still, I am Mslm, because my family is Mslm. This is what we believe.”

Can you imagine living like that, knowing that no matter what you do or how hard you try, there isn’t a guarantee that you will ever earn enough credit with God to enter the kingdom of heaven? This is what 99.9% of the people in my country believe. Even if they say they are not religious, the main religion of my country is so engrained within the culture that they are constantly trying to “earn favor” without even realizing it.

Today most in my country, along with so many around the world, celebrate the festival of sacrifice, Kurban Bayram. Similar to the story of Abraham and Isaac found in Genesis 22, their book writes about Ibrahim and his willingness to follow Al’lah to sacrifice his son, Ishmael, before God intervened and provided an alternative sacrifice for him.

In this religion, families, depending on their income, is required to sacrifice a sheep, goat, bull, or camel. The animal is divided into three parts; one for the family to keep, one to give to neighbors or friends, and one to give to the poor. This sacrifice is to remember the ways that Al’lah has provided for them and as a way to stay faithful to the teachings in their book.

After learning about the holiday, I shared the Good News with the same friend that told me she does not have hope in following her religion, but yet continues to go through the actions because it is what her family believes. I shared with her the truths we find in Scripture and about Jesus being the promise and the perfect last sacrifice. Freely given to us, beaten and shamed on the cross, casting upon himself all of our guilt and bearing our death sentence, not because we deserve it, but because of he was the only way for us to be reunited with our Father. Through Christ alone, we are saved. There is nothing we can do to earn our favor with God or a place in heaven, but it is by our genuine, underserving faith in Him. And after hearing all of this, my friend with confusion written on her face looked at me and said, “I do not understand what kind of love this is”, which made me giggle but isn’t that true for us as well? How great is His love.

This holiday began yesterday and will last through Thursday. Will you please join me and those that I serve along side of, in lifting up so many who practice this religion living around the world.  Ask that they would come to know our Lord Jesus and will be able to experience the sweetness of His grace. We would love if you could join us through prayer and/or fasting during one day this week.

Please continually lift up the lost in this world. They are not just overseas, but they are your neighbors, family members, and friends. Let us be the Body on mission so we can see Matthew 24:14 come to fruition and we can go home to be reunited with our Father. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. – Matthew 24:14 ESV.

‘Til we go home,

V*

Serving in Central Asia