FIELD REPORT: Central Asia

This mission report is different because we were in a nation on one of the Silk Routes in Central Asia. Open Doors has ranked this one of the 50 countries where Christians face the most extreme persecution. We cannot give a moment-by-moment account, so I asked the members of the team to give me their highlights of the trip.

JAN: Firstly, my highlight was landing in a nation where, on 1 June 2023, the Lord had given me a specific prophetic word that we should go to this nation as I read a Derek Prince book, which named the city and country we had been invited to. I saw the fulfilment of the word and it gave me great joy. The second highlight was having Pastor Artur Nalbandyan from Armenia arrive on the mission, which he had facilitated with the church leaders. The third highlight was going to a Korean Church in the city and lying prostrate in front of the Silk Routes map and the Lord just convicting me that the vision of 12 years ago was being fulfilled; I could not stop the tears! The Lord is Sovereign, we just must be obedient.

ROBERT: One of my highlights were the times we met as a team to pray together and the unity we experienced. It was such a joy to meet the locals. They were loving and kind to us and we saw God working in their lives. It was a joy to teach on Healing the Human Spirit and to know God’s help with the teaching, as well as the response from most of the people there. The worship was spirit-filled and such a pleasure to join in with - I was moved to tears. Praying for the intercession team and our drivers was a real privilege – they are such an inspiration to us. We long to see them continue to move forward in their work. Praying for an elderly lady’s sight to be restored in her left eye and seeing a significant measure of healing was a real encouragement – God is so good! It was an honour to pray for our brothers and sisters in this land and to see them receiving healing in spirit, soul and body and to be delivered.
STEPHEN: To be able to teach others and pray with them for healing is always a privilege. To do that in a land unknown and peoples unfamiliar, just adds to that privilege and for me, opens my eyes more as to how the Lord works amongst his children. Over the week we were there, it was like being at a feast or banquet and the Lord fed us each day and showed us new ‘food’! I learnt so much for myself and it was a joy to see him heal, including one woman who had much pain in both legs. I left her in the Lord’s care after prayer and the next day I was massively hugged by this joyous lady! She proclaimed the pains had gone and that she was a new woman. No translation was needed as her face and smile said it all as she praised God. I not only ate new spiritual food but was also truly blessed by our hosts’ generous hospitality. New dishes were explored, and new food names learnt, all of which just added to the understanding of our hosts’ culture and background. God’s love was truly shared between us all and I hope and pray that we can continue walking with them on their journey with the Lord.
GIA: One of the first highlights I had on mission was experiencing the supernatural love God has for the people we were ministering to. I had never experienced love on that level for people I had never met.
The second highlight I had was praying for patients at a children’s cancer centre. I was praying that I would receive a word of knowledge so that I would have a door of opportunity to pray for the people there. But instead, God gave me multiple opportunities to pray for people without me even needing a word of knowledge, which was so awesome. Even one Mum who had declined my offer to pray for her son, changed her mind and ran to go get her son after hearing an accurate word of knowledge given to another patient. The whole experience increased my faith. Here I was praying earnestly for a key to open a door of opportunity, when God was already planning on swinging the door open so wide for me. I ended up praying right in the open hallway of the hospital, laying hands and declaring healing in Jesus’ name, which I couldn’t even dare to imagine as a possibility prior to going there. God is so faithful and his plan for how ministry should go that day was far greater than I could’ve asked for. Now I plan to always pray for a bigger opportunity than I would think possible; because we serve a God who has no limits.
The third highlight was the moment we were told that by eating their traditional food, we had become like them and become accepted by them, and they would hear our ministry. Hearing that was extremely impactful for me, as I was unsure on eating some of the dishes at first, but to love them, was to eat their food.
The fourth highlight was seeing the power of intercession. I was the youngest on the mission at 20 (turning 21 on the mission) and while I had done intercession before, I have never seen the impact of intercession on this level before. It was quite an honour to pray alongside the ’little old ladies‘ that the church often refers to as the backbone of intercession. After this mission I intend to change how I pray, to be more intentional and intense in terms of prayer warfare. Because we shouldn’t wait to be a certain age before we start to pray powerful prayers consistently. 
ZACHARIAH: The ministry was fruitful. Everyone believed we were there because we loved them and because God had commissioned us to bless them, and it was true. They were blessed. We were blessed, too.
We saw rejection, control, the pains of hundreds of past circumstances washed away as God gave words, restored backs broken by abusive partners, expelled demons, and lifted off trauma. In many ways the church was transformed from when we arrived. The level of encouragement was through the roof. Meeting the church leaders facing persecution and ethnic boundaries was the most interesting part of the mission. They were challenged by society, by persecution, by the deep wounds of a country reforming after Soviet domination. But they were full of hope! They honoured us with the finest hospitality, and they opened their culture, their history, and their dreams to us. It was wonderful to see them so encouraged by the fruits of the ministry. Praise you, God!

On day three, local intercessors invited us to the mountains. At c.3200m, we gathered and sought God. He poured revelation into our hearts, and, one by one, we prayed. We welcomed God’s release of waterfalls of love, life, joy and hope. We saw he is now turning the country around and establishing his kingdom in it. God spoke Psalms 42, 121 and 126, and Isaiah 43 and 44: ‘Deep calls to deep in the roar of Your waterfalls’. ‘Restore our fortunes as streams renew the desert’. ‘The people I formed for Myself will declare My praise’. ‘He who goes out weeping, bearing a trail of seed, will surely return with shouts of joy, carrying sheaves of grain’. ‘The Lord watches over you, for [He] will pour water on the thirsty land’. ‘Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.’
As we blew shofars, they echoed around the valleys. Praise the Lord!

TISH: The highlight of the central Asia mission was being taken to the Silk Road prayer room at the Korean church. The map of the northern Silk Road covers the whole of one wall with the route highlighted in gold rope. We were free to walk about and pray. I studied the map and the golden route running through Turkey, Armenia and the ‘stans’ to China. When I sat down to pray the Lord led me to the prophecy of kingdoms rising and falling in Daniel 10 and 11. I read about the angel being delayed by troubles in Persia (Iran) and the words jumped off the page as if it was today’s news. In the worship a couple of days later, I had a picture of the Lord riding from west to east along the Silk Road on a donkey. Jesus is encouraging the church in this nation to be strong as they wait,
Daniel 10:19. ‘Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of heaven and those who lead others to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.’ (Daniel 12:3).

Another highlight was sharing a room with the youngest team member. There was a fifty-year age gap between us, but we enjoyed each other’s company and shared spiritual insights. The Lord blessed us when we opened our curtains one morning to a sunlit view of the exquisite mountains that encircle the town. Later we were taken into the mountains to pray for the land. The leaders of the church were amazing, warm, hospitable, and determined to fill our stomachs. Their hearts are open and their love overwhelming. They received the Lord’s love and poured it out in turn. Their work on the cancer ward, the seven rehabilitation centres they run, and their partnership with other churches is inspiring. This was an arduous mission for the oldies, but inspiring. I thank God for the privilege of playing our small part in his work.
TRISTAN: As we entered this uncharted part of the world (at least for myself), my biggest concern was “How would they respond to us and our ministry”? After an incredibly warm welcome from the Pastor and other elders from the church, my concerns started to subside.

But more than that; throughout the week their love for us and their hunger and openness for the ministry became apparent. They literally wanted to “squeeze every ounce of lemon out of us” before we left! Hallelujah! The fellowship with these dear people was extraordinary and the love that we shared together was incredible - all praise to God!

A personal highlight for me was delivering the teachings on submitting to the Lordship of Jesus, and Forgiveness. These were highlights because the Spirit was leading, and their hearts were so open to receive! Praise God!

FRAN: God impacted people’s lives in our sessions. We had split into four different groups and had asked people to come to the area that they felt God was calling them to. The group that I jointly facilitated was for setting prisoners free. People prayed out areas of their lives where they were held in captivity. As we went on to speak out Gods truth and promises we saw him minister into people’s lives.

One lady had been abused by her husband 20 years before, and her neck put out of alignment. As we prayed, she felt her neck be realigned and the pain go; there was much rejoicing.
Another lady who had been carrying many family burdens felt immediate release and another lady in response to a specific word spoken out, felt convicted with confirmation of a bible verse that she had heard the day before.
God’s ministry was specific and individual; to him be the glory.

Lastly and certainly not least, I will remember this trip for the warmth and hospitality of the church, its pastor and its members especially those in leadership. The wonderful food at a variety of locations, the tireless drivers navigating traffic jams with their loud worship songs filling our journeys. This all alongside the magnificent scenery and mountains viewed in spectacular splendour (when it wasn’t raining!), with God inspired prophetic prayers being spoken out over this ancient land. How to capture in words God’s tangible loving and longing and intent for this nation.
Almighty Father we pray, your will be done.
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