MOSCOW, Russia (BP)--They flock to Moscow by the thousands -- Azeris, Tajiks, Uzbeks, Kyrgyz and others -- drawn by the promise of jobs snubbed by many Russians.
Fifteen years after the Soviet Union collapsed, the economies of many of Central Asia's ex-Soviet republics continue to struggle while capitalism in Russia flourishes. The boom has triggered a flood of Central Asians, often young men, who come in search of a better life. They find work in construction, factories and market stalls. Low-paying by Russian standards, the jobs provide enough to send money home to their families.
They also provide Southern Baptists with a unique opportunity to share the Gospel. Statistics vary on numbers of Central Asians migrating to Russia, but estimates are in the millions. More than 1 million Kyrgyz alone work in Russia, some 20 percent of Kyrgyzstan's population. The demographic picture is blurry, but what is certain is that the overwhelming majority desperately needs to know the love of Jesus Christ.
Islam is the standard across Central Asia. The region is home to one of the lowest ratios of evangelical Christians in the world -- just one believer for every 2,700 people. Read More