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Russia-Ukraine war divides Central Asia

Central Asia (MNN) — The Russian invasion of Ukraine has deeply impacted Central Asia.

Many Russians and Ukrainians own companies in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. Russian is the common business language. Joe Handley with Asian Access says, “Depending on who you’re working for, you may create an alliance with one or the other. It’s a very sensitive situation. The Asian Access approach is trying to unite the church, so how do you unite the church when you have people taking sides?”

As Russia loses influence in Central Asia, other countries try to make inroads. Iran, for instance, has focused on diplomacy with Tajikistan, as well as Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. The region’s position between the EU and China sets it up for further conflict.

Central Asian Church

It could mean big things for the Church. Handley says past growth of the Central Asian Church happened during the fall of the Soviet Union.

As outside forces grab for power and influence, ask God to strengthen the growing Church. Handley says, “To really extend the reach of the Gospel in places where, in Kazakhstan’s case, it’s pretty open. In Kyrgyzstan, it’s a little more challenging. But nevertheless, the need for building up the leaders of the Church is immense, so that’s the status as of now. We plan to go back in early 2023.”

“We ask everyone to pray for us, because we’ll probably open in at least one of those countries, possibly two.”