Deal bountifully with Your servant, that I may live, and keep Your word.
– Psalm 119:17 (NKJV)
Dear Christian Friends
No public preaching, literature distribution or open witnessing are allowed in the Zaqatala region of Azerbaijan, and children there are not allowed to go to Sunday school.
Police and mullahs pressure Muslim converts to return to Islam. If their efforts fail, the KGB moves in to pressure them or their relatives, sometimes with violence.
Zaur Balaev from Azerbaijan became a Christian in 1992. He was the first Christian in Aliabad, and he became the first pastor in the Zaqatala region.
Zaur is now 44 years old and is married with two children, ages 15 and 20.
Within a year of his conversion, Zaur began a house church and started leading his neighbours to Christ. He now leads a small Baptist church of about 40 believers between the ages of 20 and 35.
On 20 May his church was raided by police. They threatened the worshipers and ordered them to leave because it is illegal for them to meet for worship as the church has no registration.
But Zaur says, “The government won’t give us the documents we need.”
During the late 1990s, Zaur spent 15 days in prison for his Christian activities, and now he has been charged with attacking and beating five police officers when his church was raided.
Eyewitnesses however insist the accusation is false.
Zaur’s health has deteriorated seriously from the summer heat and bad prison conditions – and this has caused him heart problems.
We have just heard that his hearing has been scheduled for this Friday 13 July.
You can read more details on our website.
Please pray with us that:
• Zaur and his family will be upheld physically, comforted emotionally and strengthened spiritually by the Lord during the trial and after, regardless of the outcome
• Zaur’s small flock will be so strengthened and encouraged by the Holy Spirit that they will thrive spiritually through their trials
• The pressures on Muslim-background believers in Azerbaijan will be reduced by God’s sovereign hand.
Thank you for praying with us.