I’m sitting here in Nepal writing my final thoughts on my time in Central Asia. There are so many thoughts and emotions swirling around in my head. I’ll do my best to present them here but don’t expect everything below to be a single coherent presentation. Consider it a stream of consciousness debriefing of my time in the region.
In regards to the culture, its a post Soviet society so that has some ups and down. Some positives I saw is that the people have become incredibly industrious. They’re starting and maintaining businesses, working to make their country better, starting families, and generally have a positive sense of the future. At least on the surface. Of course there is an undercurrent of unease but that seems to be the milieu of most the world these days.
On the subject of families, there are kids everywhere. It’s awesome. Anyone feeling unsure about raising a family in the region need not worry. This is a good place to raise kids it seems.
Learning the local languages (yes, plural) will be tough. This is a huge consideration for anyone considering ministry in Central Asia. These societies aren’t homogenous and will require either specialization in one people group or learning of multiple languages.
The food is quite amazing and there is enormous choice in what to eat. From Italian to American to Afghan to local cuisine. If you want it, you will be able to find it.
4G LTE internet is ubiquitous and ever present. Being connected will not be a problem.
VPN’s will be necessary. The government is monitoring many existing channels.
The church is persecuted but not as extremely as in other places. Cyber security is extremely important for anyone serving in the region. Deportations are the norm. Public evangelism is forbidden. Personal evangelism is risky. Islam and Russian Orthodoxy are dominant forces as well as the remaining Secularism of the Soviet Union. Yet, there is still many opportunities to gain permanent residency in the country. The need is great here.
One final thought. I think the age of sending missionaries on special visas for mission work is over. Even in nations that accept missionaries there is no guarantee that they will soon discontinue those programs. SRM is becoming a vision for BAM (Business As Mission) and other avenues for mission work. There is no reason that people can’t make a living and fulfill the great commission all at once.
So there you have it. Not so much a single debrief but rather several thoughts all rolled into one post. There is much to do here in Nepal and I’m just getting started. Please pray for fruitful ministry and networking!
May the Lord bless you and keep you.
See you next time travelers.