Ever since I started attending College Park, I’ve heard about the church’s missionary work in the Caspian region. So, when I saw the church was planning a Vision Trip to the area, I was thankful for the chance to go. Last November, six of us from College Park, including a former missionary couple that was familiar with the region, spent a week seeing first-hand how God is working in this area heavily influenced by Islam.
Our first stop: the home of a local pastor and his family in a city located in a mostly rural region. While enjoying their continual hospitality and the opportunity to interact with their kids, we learned how they are spreading the gospel and growing their house church.
The History & Culture
After that, we spent most of our time in the historic, capital city. On a tour that highlighted the original Christian history of the area, we learned that the country today is more culturally Muslim than fundamentalist. Consequently, mosque attendance is low; but even so, the culture is still set against Christianity.
Several times, we went on prayer walks around the city and the universities. We also enjoyed hosting an “American Party” where we played games and had some real interaction with some of the local college students.
One day, we were especially privileged to meet an American woman who supports local widows by selling the socks they knit using traditional methods. She has been in the country for over a decade and has done amazing work for the kingdom of God. It was wonderful to pray for her and encourage her.
What I Learned About Prayer
Overall, the trip was a wonderful reminder that God is much bigger than any of us can imagine. I truly believe the most impactful things we did were the simplest: prayer and spending time with the locals and missionaries. These activities are vitally important in our increasingly technological world. I was also inspired by the level of joy I saw in the locals, despite how comparatively impoverished the Caspian region is. That part of the world is so different from America in so many ways and it’s inspiring to see how God is still working through the local population in ways we cannot even imagine. My main takeaways: to be more thankful to God for the life I have in America, and to truly believe in the power of prayer.
Will you join me in this prayer for the Caspian?
Lord, in Genesis 12, you told Abraham your plan to bless the entire world. Your desire is to use us to bring about your kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. We pray that you will give those in the Caspian hearts of flesh to replace their hearts of stone. You have shown us the Way, the truth, and the life. We pray that our missionaries and their partners will be excellent witnesses and that their eternal perspective and love will bring about gospel-centered questions and conversations. You do not show partiality among peoples on the earth. Forgive us for being so self-centered and we pray that you send more workers into the harvest of the Great Commission. We praise you and thank you for all that you have already done. We know you will do more than we can ever ask or imagine. We thank you for sending your Son to us and we pray all of this in his name. Amen.