OVERVIEW: Turkmenistan is a profoundly restricted country. There are only eight Protestant churches in this country of 5.6 million people. Commitment to Islam is growing among the population. In spite of restrictions, the gospel is being proclaimed regularly through satellite television and personal testimonies. The country has prospered economically because of its natural gas reserves and access to the Caspian Sea. Due to a long history of dictatorship, Turkmenistan remains closed and isolated. Schoolchildren swear an oath of allegiance to the government every morning.
MAJOR RELIGIONS: 94 percent of Turkmen identify as Sunni Muslim. 4 percent are Christians.
PERSECUTOR: The government persecutes evangelical Christians.
WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A CHRISTIAN IN TURKMENISTAN: Churches meet openly, but they are closely monitored. Many Christians live under the reality that their home could be raided at any time by the authorities searching for Christian literature. Some families worship together in secret. If the government hears of a Turkmen coming to Christ, the new believer faces immediate pressure. It’s also difficult for believers to travel out of the country for Christian training or encouragement.
ACCESS TO BIBLES: A Turkmen Bible was recently published, but they are difficult to obtain.
VOM WORK: VOM distributes Christian literature throughout the country. VOM has helped families of imprisoned pastors in the past.