Norwegian Lutheran Mission sent its first missionary to Central Asia in 1998. Today, our presence consists of several Christian professionals working as tentmakers in the area.
Central Asia could have been Norwegian Lutheran Mission's first expansion into international work beyond China. In 1930, the organisation's General Assembly formally decided to explore the possibilities of sending missionaries to this area.
However, at the time, it was discovered that the Sovjet part of Central Asia, which at the time was known as West Turkestan, was closed to all mission activities. Only after 1991, when the Sovjet Union was dissolved, did conditions significantly change.
The Central Asia region consists of the countries Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan.
Central Asia is still closed to traditional mission work, but the Central Asian countries do allow Christian professionals who can contribute to the development of the countries. Norwegian Lutheran Mission wishes to work in the region through Christian professionals, development work and cooperation with local Christians.
Due to the sensitivitiy of the work in this area, we must be careful and cautious when it comes to informing the general public about this work. Hence, local support groups, where we can provide more detailed information about the work, is especially important.
Political changes have created many social issues in the region, with high unemployment rates and in some areas high levels of poverty. In recent years, Norwegian Lutheran Mission has supported various projects aimed at improving living conditions for people in Central Asia.
In several parts of Central Asia, there is a quiet awakening happening in the midst of political unrest and strong government control.
There are often reports of persecution of Christians in Central Asia, and it is very important that we, as God's people, stand with them. In the midst of difficulties, we meet bold local Christians who praise God for the spiritual thirst and hunger they see among their people.