• Pray for new Bibles for house churches whose literature has been confiscated and destroyed.
• Pray for open doors for humanitarian organizations to meet practical as well as spiritual needs.
• Pray for governing authorities to abandon the strict policies controlling religious activity.
Turkmenistan's waterless terrain is inhospitable to plant and animal life, but it is still home to over five million Turkmens. Oases, found mostly along the foothills and rivers, are a welcome site in this nation comprised of 80% desert. Although desolate, its rolling sand dunes and ragged mountain ranges provide a beautiful landscape. With rich deposits of oil and gas, Turkmenistan has discovered great wealth even within the desert.
Once made a part of the Soviet Union, Turkmen property was taken, traditions were removed, and the Turkmens' nomadic lifestyle came to an end. Turkmenistan gained its independence from the Soviet Union in the 1990s, but change has been very slow. Communist rule was replaced by a dictatorship until 2006. Turkmenistan has had difficulty rising to its feet, even under the rule of a new president elected under the first multi-candidate election in 2007. Rising crime, poverty, unemployment, and drug use have made progress difficult. The administration, although claiming to be a presidential republic and secular democracy, has often operated under more authoritarian rules, sacrificing certain human rights and religious freedoms. Despite the wealth brought in by the oil and gas industry, many of the Turkmen people remain impoverished.
Although the constitution claims religious freedom, the reality is quite different. With Sunni Islam (89%) and Russian Orthodoxy (9%) considered the only two legal religions, persecution of other faiths is prevalent. Unregistered religious gatherings are forbidden, often suffering grave consequences. But persecution and restriction have only strengthened the Turkmen Church. Prior to independence, Christianity was mostly non-existent, but today there are as many as 1,000 followers of Jesus. With all foreign missionaries expelled, several pastors exiled, beaten, or imprisoned, and the Bible not yet fully translated, the spread of the Gospel in Turkmenistan faces great challenges. Yet, the church continues to grow amid constant threat.
If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it. - John 14:14
Source: 1. Glory to You Our Father in Heaven
Capital City: Ashgabat
Government: Presidential republic
Major People Groups: 81% Turkmen (Trukhmeny); 9% Uzbek; 3% Kazakh; 2% Russian; 1% Tatar
Religion: Muslim 97%, Agnostic 2%, Christian 1%
Language: Turkmen, Uzbek, Kazakh, Russian
GDP Per Capita: $15,500
Literacy Rate: 99.7%
POPULATION IN UNREACHED PEOPLE GROUPS: 95%