Top 5 People Groups
Northern Uzbek: 859,000
Sometimes referred to as the “Switzerland of Central Asia,” Kyrgyzstan is a landlocked, mountainous country that borders Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and China. About 80 percent of its territory is dominated by the towering Tien Shan mountain range, with its highest peak rising above 24,000 feet. The Kyrgyz are traditionally nomadic cattle breeders, and agriculture remains an important segment of the economy.
Kyrgyzstan gained independence from the former Soviet Union in 1991. Government corruption and economic hardship contributed to the overthrow of the nation´s leaders in 2005 and 2010. A new president was inaugurated in December 2011. Poverty and high unemployment plague Kyrgyzstan, prompting an unabated exodus to Kazakhstan and Russia to find work.
The state has remained secular despite some pressure from Muslim and Orthodox groups for exclusive status. There has been a steady increase in government scrutiny of all religious practices, particularly since 2007. Even so, Kyrgyzstan has more religious freedom than many of its neighbors.
This country of 5.5 million people has great ethnic diversity and is home to 41 ethnic groups, 26 of whom remain unreached according to the Joshua Project. The Kyrgyz make up about 65 percent of the population. Most Kyrgyz consider themselves to be Muslim; however, Shamanistic practices and ancestral worship are still common. Evangelism is difficult as most Kyrgyz view conversion to Christianity as a renunciation of one´s heritage.
Christianity was exclusively limited to non-indigenous communities before 1990. Growth of evangelical denominations continues, but at slower rates than during the first decade following independence. According to Operation World, there were only 45 Protestant congregations in the entire country in 1990. Over 20 years later that number is almost 300 churches and does not include illegal house fellowships.
Christian Aid provides support to indigenous missionaries who are busy setting up house churches among the people of Kyrgyzstan and setting up schools and orphanages to reach the children of this land.
Recent Prayerline Posts
KYRGYZSTAN. The sun was shining bright on a park in the high-altitude village of Kegety, where a Muslim woman had brought the two youngest of her four children, but her soul was dark with burdens.
Ainura thought the playground might distract her children from their hunger, but they were listless. Back at their run-down apartment, her older kids lay ill from malnutrition. Ainura’s husband had disappeared years ago ...
KYRGYZSTAN. More than 100 children ages 10-17 recently received Christ at summer camps. Discipling them to become established in their faith will take place through teaching materials ($27.50 per set) for each young believer. How many believers will you help to grow in their new faith in 87-percent Muslim Kyrgyzstan? Pray that children will be deeply rooted in Christ.