The International Church of Bishkek was established and registered in 2001.
Their purpose is to ‘seek together to learn what it means to be wholehearted followers of Jesus’. They are an English-speaking International Church in the Protestant, evangelical stream of churches. They are a community of approximately 250 to 300 people who come from 15 to 20 different countries including Kyrgyzstan itself. They are diverse community of students, business people, diplomatic representatives, development workers and assorted other professions.
Central Asia is a story telling culture. In recent years many of our staff have begun to use “storying” as a method of sharing the good news of Jesus. The format we have adopted is taught through the organization called Simply the Story (STS). Built on the foundation of “storying,” STS added the dynamic of training storytellers to dig deeply into a Bible story and to discover spiritual truths for themselves.
Recently a STS training event was held in one our regions. The following is a first hand account of what happened:
“Sixty-five of us from eight different passport countries and arriving from 13 different cities/nations had no delayed or missed connections (on the way in). Together with foreigners, the 34 locals of three different nationalities participated in this very intense and practical exposure to this old/new method of inductive Bible study orally. It was so exciting to see the ‘lightbulbs clicking on’ as these dear brothers and sisters, both local and foreign, learned to dig deeply into the Word together through the use of Storying and some simple questions…“
If you use a smart phone or tablet you likely have downloaded a Bible app at some point. Have you ever wondered how these apps are created? Currently there are numerous translations of the Bible in Central Asian languages. However the challenge is that many of these bibles are either prohibited from being distributed as hard copies or are unknown to the local people. So how can we connect the people of Central Asia with these much needed translations? One way is to arrange for apps to be created that can be downloaded onto smart phones and tablets. However someone needs to do the work of creating the apps and making them available. That work IS being done by people in our organization. But they need help. If you know someone with the technical background of computer programming we may be able to benefit from their skills!
Link to website: http://ibt.org.ru/english/index_en.htm
The ministry of People International focuses on the region of greater Central Asia. Our staff focus on a variety of ministries and work depending on the visa platform. One of our staff recently began to help the local people of a remote region of southern Russia establish and maintain local museums. Here is a highlight from the field describing this unique strategy:
“We believe God has unlocked a key strategy for long-term access and ministry into the region’s 1,000 villages, where over half of the (Muslim) population still lives, and where there are no known churches. The strategy is simple: museums. Dozens of villages already have their own little museum. These museums are often in a state of neglect and disrepair, even though they remain a source of deep pride for the villagers. In June of 2013, through an indirect conversation with a seasoned brother working in another neighbouring country, the Lord suddenly landed this idea on our minds: museums! We want to come along side these village museums and help renovate and enhance them and put them on the map. We also want to help other villages create their first ever museum. This kind of work will allow us to access nearly any of the region’s village, and also provide a foundation for long-term connections and relationships and follow up.”
“Recently there was a tragic event in Turkey – a young girl was raped and murdered. After this came out to the public, the whole country began to protest. Women wore black to remember her, men wore mini skirts to stand up for women’s rights. There was an instant shift in the atmosphere. My language teacher gave me a project to ask 100 different people: “Do you think that the man who killed this girl can be forgiven by God?” So far I’ve only asked 10 people, mostly because it leads to more questions. But every time I ask , I can see the shock on their faces: “Of course he cannot be forgiven…” . As the conversation continues, I can see that some of the people start to think about the aspect of God as being a forgiving God, especially if I share with them the characteristics of God that Christians believe in. Something is happening in this country – hearts are changing, and it’s very exciting.
– A PI worker in Turkey
The following is an account told by one of our workers, of his colleague’s testimony of how the first known believer living in the homeland of one of the ethnic groups of [the region] came to faith.
“I met a friend at a police check post. He invited me in and I stayed for three days. His car broke down and, after numerous attempts to fix it, I suggested we pray. Amazingly the car started! W was in shock, wondering if God had really just answered my prayer. I gave him a copy of the Bible in his language. Although I had to move out of his region shortly thereafter, we have kept in touch. For the next two years he read the Bible on and off. During the past two months, his study has become intense. One day he proclaimed, “The words in this book are true. I read it many times but it took the Most High to open my eyes”. A few days later he was reading Hebrews 1 and phoned to tell me, “This book is actually teaching that Jesus is God”. I kept answering his questions via Skype and by phone until one day, two or three weeks ago, he finally accepted Jesus as his personal Lord and Savior! Now I am discipling this new believer.”
We have been encouraged recently with reports from one of the young couples that has recently moved to Turkey. PI policy is that our staff study language for two years before they venture into full time ministry work. J and S were eager to befriend their new community. One creative idea they came up with was to bake and share cookies with those living in their apartment block:
“Praise the Lord that because of our neighbours’ curiosity, we have been able to share the gospel with them! Since we are American, they expected us to be Christians, but many had questions about the Good News and what it means. These seeds have been planted, so please pray that they will grow. So far, we have given cookies to 6 families, only 1/3 of our apartment complex. This month, we will continue to pass out more cookies while trying to reconnect with neighbours we have already met.”