Dear Friend of Eurasia:
In Central Eurasia, meeting a follower of Jesus is a rare occasion. In the 10 countries that make up this area, the vast majority of people live from birth to death without ever hearing a clear explanation of the gospel.
But, through the obedience of God’s people and the power of the Holy Spirit, the scene is slowly changing!
In a major city in Central Eurasia, about 30 people are training to lead church-planting teams—called Live Dead teams—in places that are unfamiliar to most people. Through a year-long program, they are learning the basics of evangelism and discipleship and how to share the gospel in an overwhelmingly Muslim culture. At the same time they are studying the difficult Turkish language and developing their skills of working together in a team.
So what can a group of 30 people hope to accomplish in the face of such a daunting task?
Why not ask Tommy* and Ryan that question? After a day of training and prayer, these two Live Dead team members hit the streets, trusting God to lead them to someone with whom they could strike up a conversation and share the gospel.
For an hour they walked and prayed but no opportunities arose. Undaunted, they decided to hop on a bus and go to a different part of town. The results were the same. Worse still, they found themselves hopelessly lost.
Discouraged, they hailed a taxi to take them back to familiar territory. As they chatted with the taxi driver, they discovered he was spiritually thirsty and eager to hear the good news. He invited the men to his home—which was right in Tommy’s own neighborhood!
Tommy and Ryan gave the driver a Turkish-language Bible and made plans to meet with him again. The driver is eager to talk further with his new friends and learn more about this Savior named Jesus.
Other Live Dead team members are having similar experiences. As they faithfully prepare and learn to follow the Holy Spirit’s leading, God is faithfully bringing them in contact with spiritually seeking people.
To converse effectively enough to share his or her faith, each Live Dead team member needs about 500 hours of Turkish language study. This comes at a cost of $6,000—or $12 per hour. Other study materials cost $150. As team members strike up conversations with local people, they often offer them copies of the Scriptures. A case of 40 Turkish Bibles is $80, or 10 copies for $20.
Is the time and expense worth the effort?
Beth and Ruth believe it is. Because of the Live Dead training, they were able to talk to Lydia, a young woman they met on the streets of their Central Eurasian city. When Beth started to talk about Jesus, Lydia immediately became interested.
At one point in their conversation, Lydia said, “My heart is so empty. Is yours?”
“Not at all,” Beth and Ruth replied. They used this opportunity to tell Lydia the story of Jesus and how God fills their hearts with His presence.
After a few days, Beth and Ruth went back to Lydia’s workplace. Lydia immediately greeted them and asked more questions. She said she had told her entire family what she had learned about Jesus, and now they wanted to know more. Beth gave Lydia a Turkish Bible so she could read the good news for herself.
When Beth and Ruth met up with Lydia a third time, they asked if she had read her new Bible.
“No, I haven’t,” Lydia replied. “When I told my son about what I was reading, he became so interested that he took my Bible. He wants to read it for himself.”
Beth and Ruth gave Lydia another Bible. In response, Lydia invited the two women to come with her to a large family celebration. She wanted them to tell the same good news about Jesus to all her family!
What would have happened if Beth and Ruth had not known Turkish well enough to carry on a conversation and share the message of Jesus? What would have happened if they had not had Turkish Bibles to share with Lydia and her family?
Live Dead team members are eager to launch out across Central Eurasia and plant churches among the unreached like Lydia and her family. But they need help to cover the cost of training and materials. Only $12 pays for one hour of Turkish-language study for a team member; $6,000 pays for his or her entire program. A case of 40 Turkish Bibles costs only $80.
You may not be able to be part of a Live Dead team, but you can help equip one. Please ask God what you can do to help plant the church in Central Eurasia.
*All names changed
P.S. Because Tommy and Ryan were trained in outreach, a taxi driver received the message of the gospel. Because Beth and Ruth knew the Turkish language and culture, they could communicate clearly with Lydia. Now Lydia’s entire family has heard about Jesus.
Live Dead team members will soon be spread across the 10 nations of Central Eurasia. Their work won’t be easy. But with your prayers and financial help, they can be prepared for the task ahead. Thank you for doing your part so the lost of Central Eurasia can hear the message of salvation.