CENTRAL ASIA: “To Suffer for Jesus Is An Honor”
Born and raised in a Muslim family, Brother Maksud says it’s a miracle he is now a follower of Jesus Christ. Maksud’s first years of life were under communist rule as his country was part of the Soviet Union, but it became independent, and more Islamic, after the fall of the USSR. As different factions battled for post-Soviet control, civil war broke out, a difficult time for Maksud and all of his countrymen. Yet good news was coming. Listen as Maksud tells how he was impacted by seeing the JESUS Film and hearing Jesus speak Maksud’s own language. He’ll share how a Christian stepped into his family’s life, becoming a faithful friend and sharing stories from the Bible about God. Years later Maksud heard those same stories at a free Taekwondo lesson, another step on his pathway to following Jesus. When Maksud first stepped into a church, he was shocked. It was a completely different atmosphere from anything he’d known. It was full of love; people greeted him by name with hugs. He was floored when believers at the church told him they had been praying for him for more than a year. At age 18, Maksud made the decision to follow Jesus. His younger brother wasn’t far behind. When they shared their Christian faith with their mom, she cried, knowing their family would be shamed and face persecution in their Muslim culture. Maksud’s father was not home when they announced their newfound faith to their mother. When he heard of their decision, he asked both brothers to confirm their decision to follow Jesus. Expecting their father to be angry, both young men said that yes, they had become Christians. Their father’s response shocked them: “Thanks to God. Two years ago, I gave my life to Christ. I didn’t know how to tell you, but I was praying for you guys.” Many people in Central Asia, upon sharing their faith in Christ with family members, face beatings, rejection, and being kicked out of their home. Even though Maksud didn’t experience persecution from inside his home, he knew that he and his brothers would be persecuted by others. Today Maksud is a pastor, and his brother also pastors a church. Listen as he tells how we can pray for his people in Central Asia, including praying that whole families will come to Christ together. Never miss an episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe to the podcast. Or you can listen each week—and get daily reminders to pray for persecuted Christians—in the new VOM App for your smartphone or tablet.