CENTRAL ASIA MISSION HUB
Enter Mission Fields With Emerging Needs
“Central Asia” refers to the five former Soviet republics with the name of “Stan” – Kazakhstan (population 18.3 million), Kyrgyzstan (population 6.3 million), Tajikistan (population 9.1 million), Turkmenistan (population 5.8 million) and Uzbekistan (population 33.9 million). And we also include Turkey (population 820 million) across the Caspian Sea in the mission field of Central Asia.
Kyrgyzstan: it has a long history. There are written records in the third century BC. Its predecessor was established in the sixth century called AD Kyrgyz Khanate. Its western part belonged to the Kokang Khanate during the first half of the nineteenth century. In 1876 it was incorporated into Russia. In 1917, Kyrgyzstan established the Soviet power, becoming an autonomous state in 1924, establishing the Kyrgyz Soviet Socialist Republic in 1936 and joining the Soviet Union. On August 31, 1991, it declared independence and changed its name to the Kyrgyz Republic (or Kyrgyzstan). In the presidential election on July 10, 2005, Bakiyev succeeded in winning the presidency with an overwhelming 89.4% of the vote. The ensuing tulip revolution in 2005 and the bloody revolution in the “April 7 Incident” in 2010 shocked the world overnight and the political situation was extremely turbulent. Later in the presidential election in October 2011, the leader of the Social Democrats, Almazbek Atambayev won the presidency and changed the governance to parliament system.
Turkey: The term “Turkey” evolved from the “Turks.” In Tatar, “Turkic” means “brave”, and “Turkey” means “brave men’s country.” Located at the western end of the Asian continent, it is a natural bridge connecting Eurasia. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk founded the Turkish Republic on October 29, 1923, and the Turkish one-party period ended in 1945, after which it began to transition to multi-party democracy over the following decades. However, the democratic process was interrupted by three military coups in 1960, 1971, 1980 and the military memorandum in 1997. In 1984, the Kurdish separatist PKK started an insurgency against the Turkish government and had caused 40,000 people to be killed. The constitutional referendum passed by Turkey in 2010 adopted a new constitution that limits the power of the army. In the presidential election on August 10, 2014, the current Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was successfully elected as the new president of Turkey. On July 15, 2016, a military coup took place and was cracked down quickly within eight hours. On January 21, 2017, the Turkish Parliament passed a constitutional amendment to implement the presidential system. The presidential system will be implemented from the 2019 presidential and parliamentary elections. The prime minister position will also be abolished.
Preach the Gospel
86.3% of the population of Kyrgyzstan are Muslims, and 96.5% of Turkey’s nationals are Muslims. In Central Asia, Kyrgyzstan is viewed as a relatively liberal nation, and in some ways Turkey can be regarded as the most secular Muslim nation in the Middle East. GLEC started to send missionaries to Kyrgyzstan in 2007 and Turkey in 2016 to participate in long-term missions. We hope that the Gospel will be introduced to the two Creative Access Countries to serve as a gateway into the Muslim world and a mission platform.
In Kyrgyzstan, our center dispatched Reverend James Hung and his family of five from California, USA in 2007 to assist in the establishment of a fouryear accredited university recognized by the Kyrgyz Ministry of Education called the “International University of Central Asia” (official website www.iuca. kg). Following that, the Humanities Technical College of IUCA was established in 2015 (official website college.iuca.kg). Starting with the enrollment of 51 university freshmen, there are now over 650 students and nearly a hundred faculty members.
In June 2017, GLEC officially took over the operation of this university and college from the late founder Elder Chia Shan Yang. We envision nurturing elites in this Muslim country, providing a professional higher education platform, emphasizing the holistic development of students to drive the overall transformation of society. GLEC also took over the Christian school ministry for middle and primary schools in 2021 including five middle and primary schools, an orphanage, a disabled children’s home and a children playground. Today, we serve approximately 1,500 students and employ around 200 teachers and staff.
Student ministry is a worthwhile investment in Kingdom service. When students receive the gospel and become Disciples of Christ, they are able to lead other disciples and become the most influential group in society. University students are a highly mobile, focused and valuable group, representing one percent of the global intellectual population. This is the final stop in formal education before students entering the society to change the world. The values and self-image they establish during their university years will transform business, culture, society and countries. We sincerely invite you to join us in this opportunity to share the gospel in Muslim countries.
In Turkey, we currently have missionaries assisting in teaching and pastoral care in local Chinese churches. We hope to cultivate local Chinese Christians, develop them into spiritual leaders and engage in cross-cultural gospel ministry in local areas.
Plant reproducible local churches
Through the platform of the International University of Central Asia (IUCA) in Kyrgyzstan, we employ campus evangelism as a strategy to establish a legitimate Bible society on campus, where students are free to gather. Additionally, we hold regular Bible study classes in student dormitories near the campus where Christian students’ spiritual lives are nurtured and accompanied by local missionaries. We believe that these students will gradually grow and become the new generation of leaders in local churches of different ethnicities.
In March 2021, we received a venue from our local partner organization, which we renovated and re-planned as a student center called the Youth House. It not only provides a space for students to study and socialize, but also holds various camps and lecture courses, allowing us to reach more young students and bring them into this student home. We also hope to gradually lead more unreached people to know Jesus and establish local churches. According to the 2020-2021 school report, there are more than 19 different ethnic groups among the student body in IUCA. Among them, at least 14 are unreached people groups such as Afghans, Azerbaijanis, Chechens, Indonesians, Pakistanis, Donggan (Chinese Muslims), Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, Tajiks, Tatars, Turks, Uyghurs, Kalmyk, and Uzbeks.
In Istanbul, Turkey, there is already a Chinese church where our missionaries participate in Sunday sermons, prayer meetings and discipleship groups, helping the church grow stronger and engage in cross-cultural outreach ministry to become a blessing to the locals.
Engaged in local cross-cultural ministries
In addition to the Turkic culture of China, Kyrgyz culture has also been influenced and accommodated by Mongolian, Persian, and Russian cultures, making it a distinct ethnic group from Chinese culture. Through education and charity work, we aim to bring out the goals and effects of evangelism. We organize multiple short-term mission teams each year to provide training and discipleship, as well as courses such as the Chinese-English cultural exchange camp, Success Way servantleadership camp, emotional wellness workshop, and entrepreneurship academy vocational training to establish young people with biblical values and cultivate servant-leaders with integrity.
To bring the abundant life of Jesus Christ
To people, family, community, and the world
Through mission, education, and charity
Although Russian is the main language used in this mission field, diverse innovative ministries can be carried out through English and Chinese (the university has a Chinese department) or through translation. Here are some of the services you can participate in:
- International University of Central Asia (IUCA & College): cultural exchange or leadership training camps in summer and winter, providing opportunities for bilingual training in Chinese and English to help with spoken language practice. It also combines with short-term mission team members from various overseas churches to experience cross-cultural missions. The materials used in the camps not only bring about high learning outcomes but also help establish bridges of faith in the gospel. If you are (or have been) a university teacher, this may be a good opportunity for you to pray about whether God wants to use your educational expertise to influence many young students in Muslim countries!
- College Student Scholarship: By providing scholarships, it can help students from impoverished families to have the opportunity to receive quality and complete higher education in a society that is being corroded by corruption, and thereby enhance their employment prospects after graduation.
- Youth House: Through pre-evangelism, it focuses on the after-school programs for community youth, providing extracurricular activities such as language practice in Chinese and English or other courses (online or in person), and connecting with partner organizations and mission workers to share God’s love with young people from Muslim families.
- Christian Schools and Orphanage/Disabled Children’s Boarding Schools: Each school has a chaplain who teaches Bible courses and provides life guidance. During the summer, there are overseas short-term mission teams leading VBS camps, sports camps, arts camps, and more. If you are (or have been) a school teacher, you can seize this opportunity to contribute to the cultivation of children and teenagers, starting from a young age to “train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Of course, you can also provide financial sponsorship to give children in need, orphans, and disabled children the opportunity to receive quality education, learn the Bible, and get to know Jesus Christ as the Lord of their lives early on!
- Business as Mission (Micro-Enterprise Development): In partnership with the “International Micro Enterprise Development” (IMED) in the United States, this ministry is one of the models of the Business As Mission (BAM) planned by our center for the Central Asian Muslim-initiated region. Through the non-profit organization “Global Entrepreneurial Development Center” registered by our center locally, we assist them in establishing micro-businesses and spreading the gospel. Trainees are taught how to operate a Kingdom business in a biblical and devout way, setting themselves apart from other businessmen and bringing the influence of the kingdom into their homes and workplaces as salt and light.