The countries of Central Asia have secular governments although the dominant religion of the region is Islam. Many people are culturally or nominally Muslim, but since the fall of Communism there has been a marked rise in militant Islam. Recently, all the governments have passed laws that restrict religious freedom. Within such a context, evangelical Christians are often viewed with suspicion and some believe they are a dangerous and destabilizing minority. Not surprisingly, all the countries of Central Asia have appeared on the list of the top 50 countries where Christians are most persecuted.

 Evangelical Strength in the Region

The evangelical churches make up 0.2% of the population of Central Asia. While there are large churches in some cities, many believers are scattered through this huge region in small fellowships, sometimes as part of underground house churches. There are also believers who are the only Christians in their communities and so have little opportunity for fellowship.

In such circumstances helping believers to come to a better understanding of the Bible is essential. Consequently, IBCS was set up to encourage Christians to live for God and to equip them to reach out to their neighbours with the Gospel.

How IBCS Operates

Students are able to study a wide variety of subjects on a modular basis. A small group of dedicated workers care for the students, distribute the material and supervise their studies. In some countries this must be done in secret, at personal risk to the workers.

 Who are the Students?

  • Pastors, lay leaders and Christian workers with little theological education
  • Christians being encouraged to serve God in difficult circumstances.
  • New believers who have been converted from Islam.
  • Non-believers wanting to know more about Jesus Christ.

What plans are there for the future?

All courses are being transferred to the internet. It is hoped that this will be a safer means of study, and also make the material available to a wider audience. In a recent exciting development a number of courses are being translated into the Farsi language, with the purpose of making the material available in countries such as Afghanistan and Iran.

A Testimony from Kazakhstan

Leila is a Kazakh who has come to saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Her family who are Muslims have rejected her, severely criticizing her for becoming a Christian. Her husband has also forbidden her from meeting with other believers. However, she refuses to deny her Saviour testifying that: ‘Deep in my heart I understand that I have found what I had searched for so long – the source of life.’ Soon after her conversion she began to explore her faith through the IBCS. She says, ‘My studies have given me so much. I found answers to my questions and doubts. My trust in God has deepened and I have become more confident in talking to non-believers.’ Leila is just one example of the impact that IBCS is having in Central Asia.

Will you stand with our brothers and sisters in Central Asia?

Yes, I will help sponsor IBCS.

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The Gospel changes people for it is the power of God… It is our desire that thousands of people will be changed by the Word of the living God.
Paul Hagelgans