It was a night to remember-a night that changed my life. On that night I saw with my own eyes how the Lord himself has flung open a gateway to the most unreachable: a gateway to Muslims!
I saw it that night as I walked through the crowded Millet Muslim ghetto in the heart of Plovdiv, Bulgaria. Men and women of faith openly shared the Gospel, as the disciples must have done almost two thousand years ago. Words cannot express how my heart and soul were stirred. Never before have I seen such an open door to the Muslim people.
That gateway is what we are now calling "The 35/45 Turkic Window."
As we stood near the western edge of the Turkic Window that first night of our recent journey, I thought back to the day, five years earlier, when a worker among the Turkic peoples came to share his burden with me. "There is another window atop the 10/40 Window," he said. "It's the Turkic Window, which is framed by the 35 degree and 45 degree north latitudes. It extends from Skopje, Macedonia in the west, all the way to Urumchi, China in the east. Come and see it for yourself, and write a booklet to encourage God's people to become involved."
And so we journeyed across the vast region, following the ancient Great Silk Road. We were astounded by the vastness of the gateway the Lord has opened, and compelled by the challenge He has laid at the feet of believers worldwide. Here is the opportunity for which we have prayed for generations, an opening in the seemingly impenetrable wall of Islam.
Now, with the sweeping political changes that have taken place since the crumbling of the Soviet Union, a gateway of opportunity has opened to reach these ancient precious peoples. This land is in the midst of dramatic change. It is volatile. Massive unemployment grips the people as communism moves out and market economies move in. There is a vacuum. Fledgling governments restructure everything from constitutions to education. This land is viable. Not for a thousand years has there been so much freedom to share the Gospel with the people who live in the 35/45 Turkic Window.
Near the end of our journey, we were amazed to find 5,000 believers from many people groups gathered in a stadium in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. We worshipped near China's remote western frontier with enthusiastic believers preparing for the largest gathering of Uyghur adult Christians anyone could remember, more than 200. In the midst of massive unemployment and great need we saw the unfolding of the reality of God at work: among the new nations of Central Asia...among the Turkic people...among Muslims.
But this freedom to share the Gospel may not last. The very factors that helped open the gateway may close it. Nationalistic fervor mixed with religious fundamentalism could close the door to a Christianity branded as a foreign faith. It happened before. In a museum near Tokmok, close to the Kyrgystan border with China, we were reminded that a million people along the Silk Road came to Christ during the Nestorian advance. Not since the 14th century has there been such an opportunity to share the Gospel. Jesus said: "As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work" (John 9:4). Please pray accordingly
That all may hear!
AD2000 & Beyond Movement
Please remember to pray for this region and its people especially with the devastation of the earthquake. Please also remember them in prayer during the upcoming Praying Through The Window IV initiative in October '99.
The letter above is from the newest booklet produced by the AD2000 & Beyond Movement entitled The 35/45 Turkic Window: A Gateway to the Muslim World. This 12-page, four-color booklet is available for only $0.50 each. An accompanying poster with information re unreached peoples in that region is also available for $0.25each. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to place an order.
The AD2000 International Office will be closing early in 2001. Click here for more information.
This publication is the latest in a series highlighting the history, progress and focus of the AD2000 & Beyond Movement as it presses toward the goal of a church for every people and the gospel for every person by the year 2000.
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