191203 CON Anya CA

Maybe I could too

One student’s story of following Jesus in Central Asia

Anya* studies economics and national security at a university in Central Asia. She doesn’t know any other Christians on campus. This is her story.

God loves me?! I’d never heard that sentence before. I was talking to my uncle, not long after I’d started at university. He and his family lived nearby. Their character and lifestyle attracted me deeply. I couldn’t help wanting what they had. They took me to their church one day where I saw a huge number of local Christians, worshipping God. I couldn’t believe it! I’d thought Christianity was a western religion, but here was a church full of local believers. If people from my country could follow Jesus, maybe I could too. Soon after that I made the decision.

I was so happy.

Growing up in God

One of the girls from church invited me to join her IFES group, at another university, and I’ve been going ever since. This group has really helped me to grow up in God. It’s a place of peace and laughter. After three months, I became a student leader. This last year we’ve been reading 1 Kings. I’ve loved learning about David and Samuel. Now I know how to read the Old Testament.

It’s great to have their support because I don’t know any other Christians on campus. Sometimes I feel very alone. I try to love my friends, but they don’t understand what I believe. They ask me why are you always so lucky in life? I tell them I’m not lucky, I’m blessed. I tell them that God is with them and they can talk to him too. But they don’t understand.

The prayer of two students

It’s a difficult place to be a Christian. At my university, corruption is a big problem. Almost everyone pays bribes to get good exam results. I don’t like that, but when I’m feeling down I remember that the IFES movement in Japan started with just two students praying for their university. I know God is with me too and prayer is powerful.

I hope to start a fellowship group on my campus this year. But it’s quite dangerous. If the authorities find out, there’ll be some trouble. We also want to start student ministry in three new cities, and develop graduate ministry and international student ministry. So we need to pray for more staff and more student leaders, and pray that God would show us which hearts are open.

Changes and fears

Before I became a Christian, I wanted to leave my country and go to Europe or America where life is easier. But God has changed my mind. I know God has plans for me and has placed me here for a reason. I used to be very angry with my father for not treating me well as a child. But God has changed that in me too and has taught me to love him.

My family still don’t know I’m a Christian. I need to tell them. Even if they don’t want me to be their daughter anymore or even if I am in danger, I need to tell them. I have felt scared when my family visit me at university – what if they find my Bible? But now I am more scared about their future – what if they don’t find Jesus? I need to tell them. But I don’t know how.

Tears rolled down Anya’s cheeks, as we stopped to pray for her parents. Please pray for Anya today in her witness to her family and friends.

* name changed

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