Photo Source: Anonymous
Map Source: Bryan Nicholson / cartoMission
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The Tajiks of Central Asia are the oldest surviving people group in that region. Their homeland, Tajikistan, is the mountainous center of Asia, surrounded by the Asian republics of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Kyrgyzstan. Tajikistan includes the Pamir Mountains, which reach altitudes of nearly 25,000 feet. Most of the people live in the parallel valleys below.
The Tajiks have repeatedly been invaded and conquered throughout their history. The armies of Alexander the Great, the Arabs in the seventh century, the Mongols, the Turks, the British, and the Russian empire have all had a profound impact on these people. The numerous invasions have been the major factor in the dispersion of Tajiks to other locations. Many Tajiks have crossed into Afghanistan and are still surrounded by war, ethnic violence, religious tension, and harsh living conditions.
After the breakup of the USSR, Tajikistan still suffered through years of a civil war which ended in 1997. Tens of thousands were killed and thousands of wives widowed. The economy collapsed, and unemployment was extremely high, up to 70% in some rural areas. Many have gone to other nearby countries like Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan to start anew.
They live in tight-knit communities and are a very hospitable people whether they are in their own country of Tajikistan or in neighboring Uzbekistan.
Most Tajiks in Uzbekistan are Sunni Muslims, although some are Shia, and there is a strong non-religious minority. They have remained closed to the gospel.
Their traditional Islam has dulled their spirits to their need for forgiveness by a sin-free Savior. They have yet to have a movement to Christ among any Tajik population.
Pray for the Holy Spirit to thrust out loving workers to the Tajiks.
Pray for a spiritual hunger among the Tajiks in Uzbekistan.
Pray that many among these hospitable people will become persons of peace to pave the way for Christ's ambassadors to take the Lord's blessings to them.
Pray for a movement of Tajik households to study the Bible and accept the blessings of Christ.