*If you’d like to read the first post in the Modern Witnesses series, click here.
This week, our Sunday School teacher taught us about another brave Christian and his family who are serving God even though it is very hard. His name is Makset Djabbarbergenov.
Pastor Makset led small Christian house churches in Uzbekistan. But the churches weren’t officially recognized churches, and that meant that Pastor Makset could be arrested at any time. And he was, once on his son’s second birthday. So five years ago, Pastor Makset and his wife Aygul took the family across the border to Kazakhstan and applied for asylum, the right to stay somewhere because it isn’t safe to stay in your own country. The United Nations granted their request for asylum, but Kazakhstan would not recognize their decision. On September 5, 2012, Kazakhstan arrested Pastor Makset, put him in jail, and told him they were going to send him back to Uzbekistan.
To make things even worse, Uzbekistan increased the charges against Pastor Makset from a charge that would mean three years in prison to a charge that could mean fifteen years in prison.
His family was heartbroken, and Pastor Makset was worried. He knew it could be very bad for him if he were sent to jail in Uzbekistan. And he didn’t know what would happen to his family. He and his wife had four sons and were waiting for the birth of a fifth child.
One day while he was praying in the jail in Kazakhstan, he heard God answer him in his prayers, “I will not send you back to Uzbekistan.” The weeks crawled by. Someone smuggled his cell phone to him, and he called his family as often as he could. But as the weeks became months, Pastor Makset struggled to believe God’s promise to not send him back to Uzbekistan. Everyone at the prison was sure he would be sent back. He prayed and remembered that evil wanted him to be afraid, but God wanted him to trust. He chose to trust God.
At first, Pastor Makset thought that God would use the time in jail to help the other prisoners learn more about God. But he got a surprise. God used his time in jail for more than that. He also used it to help Pastor Makset learn more about God and His power.
After three months, God performed a miracle. All the legal paperwork went through and was approved. Pastor Makset would be released and both he and his family would be allowed to leave Kazakhstan to move somewhere in Europe where they would be safe. The whole time he was being released from jail and waiting to get on the plane, Pastor Makset worried someone would change their mind or were just playing a very mean joke on him by letting him think he would be free. On December 4, 2012, he was let out of prison. He and his family were taken to the airport, where they were finally, after more paperwork, allowed to leave. They got on the plane and were free.
But Pastor Makset, Aygul, and his family still ask for your prayers. Aygul is due to have her baby in April. The family has moved to a strange country, with a new language and culture to learn, and left behind their families and friends. And they don’t know why God has brought them here. But they know God always has a plan, just like He did for the three months when Pastor Makset was in jail. They are trusting God to show them what to do next. Will you pray with me for them?
“Dear God, thank You for bringing Pastor Makset and his family out of Kazakhstan safely to a new home. Please keep Aygul and the baby safe. Please take care of the whole family and help them learn the many new things they need to learn. And help them understand what You want them to do next so that they can continue to tell people about Your amazing love for them. Thank You. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”
The facts of this story are based on World Watch Monitor news articles published on November 2, 2012, and January 28, 2013. For more information, please see my Parents and Educators page.
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