Context: From the 1920s through the 1980s, Central Asia experienced 70 years of communism. This was followed by a season in the early 1990s when many young adults plunged into, and began to embrace, all things western. Now Central Asian families are at a crossroads, struggling to remember their roots and discover their future. There is both a widespread fear of fundamentalism and a deep desire to reconnect with God.
In the midst of this searching, EMM workers have been sitting on floor mats, eating dried apricots and pistachios, drinking tea, and discussing faith and life purposes with Kyrgyz, Tajiks, Uzbeks, Uighurs, and Kazaks. This highly relational approach to sharing Jesus fits these warmly relational cultures in which “a guest is more honored than a father” (Central Asian proverb).
EMM work: An EMM exploratory team spent 40 days in the region in 1997, and since 1999, EMM has maintained a witness in Central Asia through long-term missionaries, YES teams, and individuals serving on short-term GO! assignments. Our focus has been on building authentic relationships through transformational businesses that serve as tools for economic, environmental, educational, social, and spiritual development.
The current team in Central Asia hopes to be joined by English teachers, office managers, home school teachers, accountants, agricultural specialists, a coffee shop barista, students interested in studying local languages, trauma counselors, and computer programmers. We long for a beautifully diverse team of various ethnicities and nationalities, families and singles, young people, and those entering the field after retirement – together representing God’s love.
Vision: We envision communities of worship emerging in every neighborhood across Central Asia. We are committed to learning local languages well, to developing rich relationships, to sharing God’s love and plan of salvation broadly, and to partnering with local leaders to equip them for multiplication movements. We are strategizing ways to help open doors for increasingly healthy relationships between Central Asians, Chinese, Central Americans, and North Americans, and between Muslims and Christians.
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