For centuries, people living in the former Soviet Union have been under the oppression of the Mongolian, Ottoman, and Persian empires—and in the captivity of communism and atheistic ideology since the beginning of the 20th century. However, the gospel has started to take root in this vast region, and now 55 ethnic groups have a witness for Christ among them.
Evangelism is highly restricted in former U.S.S.R countries, most of which are dominated by Islam and where the Christian population is well below 1 percent. Most churches in the former Soviet Union are underground. In Uzbekistan, holding services in the Uzbek language is forbidden. In Azerbaijan, all church literature has to be approved by a government agency.
Drug addiction and alcoholism are rampant among youth in the “stans,” where there are very few rehabilitation programs or centers.
Mountains cover more than 93 percent of Tajikistan and 75 percent of Kyrgyzstan. To traverse the vast rural and mountainous regions of Central Asia, native missionaries must own sturdy vehicles.
The least-restricted country in the former Soviet Union, Ukraine has seen massive growth among its evangelical population, as youth turn from their elders’ traditional Orthodox religion for a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.