A splash of colors with worship, music, dance, prayers, exhorting Biblical teaching, food and fellowship — a magnificent three day celebration with close to a thousand indigenous Christian believers in this Muslim-dominated country! A new fellowship hall was just added to the church building with Isaiah 54:2 (“Enlarge the place of your tent…”) pasted in large letters on the wall as a statement that God’s Kingdom keeps expanding in Kazakhstan! FROM R.K.’S CORNER
In the last three months, I have traveled overseas to several countries where The Bridge has been in partnership with indigenous believers for a number of years. The most extensive was a three week visit in May to Central Asia, which caused me to delay the May Bridge Report till this month, so this is a combined May/June issue.
The purpose for my visit was to partake in the 25th anniversary celebration of Agape Evangelical Center in Almaty, Kazakhstan, and visit two other Bridge partners: Sargon Daniali and his family in Almaty, as well as Yermek Balykbekov and his extended family in Karaganda. My itinerary also included a trip to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
In 1992, our Bridge team met Baikal Dzoziev, a Russian Kazakh, in Moscow during a conference we sponsored on behalf of renown Bible teacher Derek Prince, who was the main speaker. In the late eighties during the communist era, Baikal had come to faith in Jesus after a traumatic event. He and a comrade had gone trekking in the nearby mountains of Almaty when they were overtaken by an avalanche which buried them both and killed his friend. Pinned under masses of snow, Baikal, then an atheist communist, cried out to a God he did not know, and promised that if He would rescue him and let him live, he would seek to find Him and serve Him. Miraculously, he got out, and came to faith in Jesus.
Shortly afterwards, he met three other underground believers — Yuri, Nikolai, and Natasha. In 1989, they formed Mission Agape, knowing the Lord had called them to share their faith with others in Kazakhstan and Central Asia. Although still illegal to be a Christian, the team began to openly evangelize in streets and parks. Several times they got in trouble with the authorities. That did not deter them; they kept on sharing their faith, and people responded!
In 1992, three years later after Mission Agape was founded. The Bridge came alongside these new believers and began helping them in their ministry. Agape Church was established, and in 1993, The Bridge helped establish a Bibleschool for church planters, and for several years sponsored their school (now Bible College), church planting, and pioneer outreaches of the graduates. Agape has been fully financially self-supported for more than a decade — it is in every way an indigenous Christian Center in Kazakhstan!
At the 20th anniversary in 2009, I expounded in several Bridge issues on the founding and history of Agape. To learn more, please copy and paste into your browser:
“Open to me the gates of righteousness; I shall enter through them, I shall give thanks to the Lord. This is the gate of the Lord; the righteous will enter through it. I shall give thanks to You, for You have answered me, and You have become my salvation.”